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Compromise on the cards for $2m Dunne project

Building work has resumed at the site of a US property linked to Gayle Dunne, wife of property developer Sean Dunne.

But the long-running dispute with neighbours in Greenwich, Connecticut, over plans for renovating the $2m (€1.4m) Victorian-era house in the upmarket enclave of Belle Haven is far from over. However, a compromise is on the cards after locals put forward proposals to try to solve the row.

In recent days, representatives of Belle Haven residents presented the trustee of 38 Bush Avenue, property lawyer Thomas J Heagney, and the site's architect, with an outline of a compromise that may be acceptable to them.

"They discussed the parameters of what we could conceivably approve," said Richard Case, a retired IBM executive who lives next door to the site.

But even while negotiations are continuing, residents are continuing to play hardball by lodging a new appeal against the original building permit granted for the property.

The Dunnes first ran into difficulties with their neighbours last year when work they carried out on the exclusive property exceeded what they had planning permission for.

They also irritated neighbours by violating community rules on the hours during which construction work should be carried out. In October, Greenwich Town Council ordered that work be stopped, until they were granted a variation on the building regulations.

Neighbours objected to the scope of the new plans, and negotiations have been at a stalemate ever since.


In February, attempts to "weather-proof" the property were foiled, when a stop-work order was issued by zoning officials at the request of the Belle Haven Land Company, which represents neighbours.

On March 29, zoning officers lifted the stop-work order, allowing construction work to proceed under the original permit. Residents have now lodged an appeal against the original permit granted for the site, but work is being allowed to continue under its terms -- even while the hearing is pending.

"They are not in violation of zoning," David Studley, zoning enforcement officer with Greenwich Town Council told the Irish Independent last night.

He was allowing work to continue because he has concerns that the building could be in peril if it didn't.

The appeal into the original permit is expected to be heard within weeks, unless the negotiations between the two sides bear fruit. It's not known if the Dunnes have abandoned plans to live at the property, but they are rumoured to be linked to a number of other properties in the greater Greenwich area.

Thirty-eight Bush Avenue continues to be listed as Mrs Dunne's residence on company files lodged with the Connecticut State Department.

Irish Independent