Unless you've got eagle eyes, the small stone fire pit isn't visible from Center Road. To see it, you'd have to walk around the fire station at 100 Center Road in Woodbridge. But the controversy it's caused has been visible in the community, including on Bethwood Patch.
The Woodbridge Fire Department has reportedly been issued a cease and restore order from the town Inland Wetlands Commission and may have to remove the pit behind the fire station because it violates a 100-foot setback established when the station was built in 2007.
"It is a pity that the Firehouse so divides this community, largely, in my opinion, because the community did not want this particular Firehouse," wrote Lydia Fazio Theys in an October 12 open letter to the Board of Selectman. "Enough people supported it based on the buffer zone--which has now been violated--to let it happen anyway. Allowing the violation to remain would set a terrible precedent. The Selectmen must act now to stop this encroachment."
Woodbridge Conservation Commission Chair Maria Kayne agreed.
"The leadership of the Woodbridge Fire Department has worked closely with the town for years on the construction of the firehouse," she wrote in another open letter published October 15. "They cannot claim ignorance of the agreement on the buffer zone, nor can they say they did not know of the wetlands regulations that were so salient in discussions of where the firehouse would be built. They knew the rules and they ignored them."
According to a report on WTNH the volunteer fire association may have constructed the fire pit and barbecue area, which was added to the department's facility after it was built, without filing the proper paperwork. The commission was reportedly alerted to the project by some unnamed whistleblower residents.
Chief Sean Rowland of the Woodbridge Fire Department told WTNH that the department went before the Inland Wetlands Commission on October 10 and asked permission to get proper approvals to be within the buffer area. The fire department has 60 days from that date to submit an application which may be approved or denied by the commission.
Should the commission deny the application, the twin fire pits and patio, which were built using private donations, will have to be removed. Otherwise, the department could face sanctions.
For more, check out the WTNH report.
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