Judge tours Bennett's Pond land

RIDGEFIELD - A decision on the total cost the town will have to pay for the northern 458 acres of the Bennett's Pond property will be decided by the end of October.

Danbury Superior Court Judge Howard Moraghan, who is hearing the case brought by the parcel's previous owner, Eureka V LLC, toured the property on Friday - starting the clock on the four-month deadline for a decision.

The town took the 458 acres in question by eminent domain in December 2001. At that time, Ridgefield paid Eureka V $8.5 million. However, Eureka argued the value of the property was closer to $20 million and filed suit.

First Selectman Rudy Marconi said Tuesday he is "optimistic. I feel that we paid a substantial amount of money for the property, given the steep slopes and wetlands on it. But it would be wrong of me to say anything at this time regarding what the final decision will be, while Judge Moraghan is still deciding."

The issue has been simmering for awhile. In June 2003, residents of Ridgefield went to the polls and rejected a settlement of this case and a second lawsuit Eureka V filed against the town regarding another parcel on Bennett's Pond.

The settlements, which had been negotiated by Eureka V and Ridgefield's selectmen, would have required the town to pay an additional $2,959,797 for both properties.

In return, the town would have received an additional 92 acres on the southern parcel for open space and Eureka V would have developed another 62 acres.

Contact Susan Tuz

at stuz@newstimes.com

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