Dunnes cut deal with neighbours over $2m house
GAYLE Dunne, wife of debt-laden developer Sean Dunne, has settled a long-running and bitter planning dispute with neighbours in the upmarket US town of Greenwich, Connecticut.
Residents of the plush Belle Haven suburb were prepared to lodge an appeal against the redevelopment of a $2m house at 38 Bush Avenue.
But their application was withdrawn after a compromise was reached just hours before a zoning board hearing on Wednesday night.
Under the terms of the deal, the Dunnes have agreed to preserve a century-old maple tree that sits on the property line with neighbours and reduce the size of dirt piles on the plot.
A separate application by the Dunnes for an even bigger house, with a carport attached, has been withdrawn.
Retired IBM executive Richard Case, who lives next door, said the dispute was the biggest he had been involved in during his 30 years of living in Belle Haven.
"I've never been interested in having this thing protracted for three years of litigation through Connecticut superior courts, which was the next level after we got past this board," he said.
The ownership of the Bush Avenue property is hidden behind a trust operated by a lawyer, Thomas J Heagney. But the address is listed as Mrs Dunne's residence in company files lodged with the state.
The Dunnes have agreed to scale back their plans for the property significantly. In return, residents have agreed to certain modifications to the original building permit that was granted last July.
There are modifications to planned chimney heights, roof lines and the garage that soften the profile of the house and reduce the visual impact of the changes being made.
The Dunnes first ran into difficulty with locals and town officials when demolition work on the Victorian-era house exceeded what they had been granted permission for.
Neighbours also objected to the size of their proposed house on the half-acre site.
Construction work resumed at the Bush Avenue property in recent weeks after months of delays. But neighbours were ready to fight the planning permission, until a deal was reached in negotiations.
It's not known if the Dunnes still plan on living in the Bush Avenue property once the renovations are complete.
Asked if Sean and Gayle Dunne would be welcome as neighbours, Mr Case said: "I will try to be accepting to anyone who comes."
Earlier this week, the Irish Independent revealed that the high-profile couple are also linked to a second property on Bote Road on the other side of town, where construction is well advanced on an even bigger mansion.