Friday, July 05, 2013

New driveway questions: Sikorsky Memorial Airport (KBDR), Bridgeport, Connecticut

The story of the $400,000 easement road built through Sikorsky Memorial Airport to accommodate shoreline property owners including a millionaire, politically connected developer continues to develop curves.

In upholding two appeals that were brought against the Stratford Board of Zoning Appeals for approving the road, Superior Court Judge Dale Radcliffe has raised even more questions about the propriety of the whole mess.

To recap, the city of Bridgeport paid $400,000 to property owner Manuel Moutinho to build a gravel access road through the airport to his lavish shoreline home. How this actually ensued after Moutinho had said he was going to do the work himself -- and for $200,000 -- is the subject, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch maintains, of an investigation.

While Radcliffe's ruling that the road was built improperly will certainly be appealed as this story progresses, one of the more interesting observations in his 17-page ruling is the citation of a land record agreement filed in Stratford that says the private property owners are "to maintain said easement at their sole cost and expense."

From the city of Bridgeport's perspective, the new road had to be put in quickly to let a $40 million safety improvement project at the airport move ahead in timely fashion. The old access road to the private property is in the path of that project.

But if time really is of the essence here, the way this thing has been bungled is likely to slow everything down to a crawl.


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