Oswegatchie Hills Lawsuit

Location: East Lyme, Connecticut | Status: Active

Summary: In long-awaited victory for conservation of East Lyme’s Oswegatchie Hills and the Niantic River, on October 22, 2021, a judge ruled in favor of Save the Sound’s efforts to protect 236 acres of coastal forest threatened with destructive development. The court rejected the developer’s challenge to the preliminary decision, sending the decision back to the local zoning commission.

“This is the fourth Judge over 17 years to recognize the substantial environmental interests in preserving the Oswegatchie Hills and the Niantic River and to uphold the Commission’s obligations to thoroughly consider and protect these interests before allowing ultra-dense development that could destroy them forever,” said Roger Reynolds, senior legal counsel at Save the Sound. “The applicant will finally have to disclose their detailed plans and we look forward to presenting in-depth, science-based information about the devastating and irreversible impacts that this 840-unit monstrosity would have on wetlands, coastal forest, and the Niantic River.”

The Oswegatchie Hills is an exceptional and undeveloped steep sloped coastal forest that forms the last undeveloped mile on the Niantic River. It is also threatened with development that would eliminate habitat and pollute the river which is already suffering from water quality problems. The battle has been raging for two decades and has been to court 3 times.

Latest Step: The court sided with Save the Sound attorneys and denied the developer’s appeal to overturn the preliminary decision and stay the matter pending action by the commission. The developer was ordered to supply the necessary environmental and other information for the commission to adequately consider the final site plan and rezoning.

Next step: The matter will go back to the East Lyme Zoning Commission where the developer will have to submit detailed information on the environmental impacts of the development which the developer, until now, has refused to do. This will include the requirement that the application go through the wetlands commission before any final decision.

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Last Updated: October 22, 2021

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