Tentative settlement reached in dispute over Stonington property

Stonington - The town has reached a tentative settlement with a part-time Lords Point couple who sued the town after former Zoning Enforcement Officer Joe Larkin told them they could build a house on a lot they were considering buying but then reversed his decision after they made the purchase.

The town also would not approve their plans to replace their current home at 57 Boulder Ave. so it would comply with updated flood and other code requirements.

The Board of Selectmen approved the settlement with Carol Holt and Thompson Wyper on Wednesday night. The town will not have to pay any damages and Holt and Wyper will drop their four lawsuits against the town. The Zoning Board of Appeals has to approve the settlement.

The ZBA will issue a variance to the couple and the town will allow them to file for permits to rebuild their home using 2005 regulations.

The ZBA will issue another variance and the couple will also be allowed to reverse the original transfer of a 1,000-foot-square-foot strip of land from the vacant lot at Boulder Avenue and Hampton Street to the house lot so the vacant lot would be deemed a preexisting nonconforming lot. This would allow the couple to build the house for which Larkin would not issue a permit.

A judge had earlier ruled the town could not deny the couple the permit because they had relied on Larkin's original opinion when buying the .16-acre lot in 2005 for $140,000. The town had appealed that ruling.

Holt, whose family lives in California much of the year, declined to say Thursday how much she had expended in legal fees. She said no decision had been made about either of the building projects.

Sixteen months ago, the town's insurance company had expended $200,000 in legal fees on the issue.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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