Aquarion files counterclaim against Indian Waters Drive residents
Published 1:18 pm, Wednesday, January 10, 2018
NEW CANAAN — The standoff between 23 residents on Indian Waters Drive and Aquarion over whether the water company can use a private road to access a subdivision of two lots rages on.
This time, Aquarion has played its card.
Aquarion filed a counterclaim in response to an initial lawsuit from the 23 New Canaan residents back on Oct. 17 of last year. The Indian Waters Drive residents claimed the water company had no right to access the private roadway and that Aquarion was trespassing unto their private property.
The proposed splitting of the property by Aquarion was denied by the Planning and Zoning commission last year.
The residents have previously argued that the water company could not access its land, which amounts to nearly 10 acres, through a historic drift way from Frogtown Road, a road parallel to Weed Street.
The counterclaim, however, rebuts this by asserting that the historic driftway passes through the properties of two residents, specifically 79 and 95 Indian Waters Drive, and thus would not be available for use.
Furthermore, Aquarion claims that the predecessors of the Indian Waters Drive community developed the private road so that it could be used instead of the driftway by the company to access its property.
In late November last year, the Planning and Zoning commission unanimously denied Aquarion’s application for subdivision of two 2.1 and 3.7 acre lots. Peter Fazekas, an Aquarion spokesperson, had then said that the company was “looking at an appeal.”
Aquarion bases their counterclaim on historical documents dating back to 1907 as well as a map depicting the initial creation of the Indian Waters Drive in 1949.
The counterclaim notes that the development of Indian Waters Drive “followed the same path as the driftway, thereby making the driftway Indian Waters Drive in that area.” It also maintains that an extension of the road to its current cul-de-sac in 1952 “purposefully and specifically created 48 ft. of frontage for the Noroton Property on a right of access over Indian Waters Drive.”
Richard Colbert from Day Pitney LLP filed the counterclaim on behalf of Aquarion on Dec. 20 to the Superior Court at Stamford.
Peter Bergen and his wife, Susan, are among the first of the 23 names on a lawsuit filed against the water company back in October. Bergen said he was not surprised about the company’s counter lawsuit.
“We’re really outraged at the way this happened especially the way they’re suing every resident on our road,” Bergen said. “We learned this from our attorney during Christmas and this is typical of the aggressive way Aquarion has been dealing with us from the very beginning,” Bergen added.
Avery Stirratt, another Indian Waters Drive resident, echoed Bergen’s sentiments. “We’re going to continue what we’re doing now and keep demanding proof of access. We’re not surprised by their latest move and I don’t think they have a right to our driveway.”
Fazekas declined to comment on the pending litigation.
Requests for comment sent to Colbert of Day Pitney LLP and Amy Zabetakis of Rucci Law Group, who represents the 23 New Canaan residents, were not answered.