"From the beginning of the world until the end of time" — Greenwich wants to tweak that

Aaron Hernandez lends his brainpower to our BOE

Aaron Hernandez lends his brainpower to our BOE

I used to love drafting that ancient phrase into settlement documents because it summoned the majesty of English Common Law and incorporated utter finality into otherwise-banal civil disagreements. Apparently, our new town leaders aren't as appreciative of its meaning.

The town is trying to replace the lights at the existing GHS football stadium, install new ones at fields on its northern border and is considering expanding/rebuilding the football areas itself, all of which is prohibited by a court settlement it reached with neighbors in 2003. So, being Greenwich, we want to sue, but sue whom, our former Selectmen, the P&Z board of 2003, the then-existing school board and the RTM, all of which signed off on the original agreement?

I'll search for the link to that settlement (I've posted it here before, and I'll dig it up again), but Old Church Road resident Bill Effros and his high school neighbors are absolutely correct when they state that the town is forbidden, by its own agreement, to expand the use of the football field, install more lighting, add parking, bathrooms to the stadium, etc. etc. All of these terms were originally part of an agreement Greenwich made with neighbors when it took the Hillside Road property via eminent domain, and they were incorporated, word-for-word, in the later, 1983 suit brought by Effros and his neighbors. And as I have also written here before, the presiding judge in that suit insisted that every single government body in Greenwich with any jurisdiction over the matter sign off on the settlement before he would accept it.

Which was done, with full deliberation and consent. That the parents of a new generation of high school football players now consider the terms of the agreement improvident is irrelevant; the terms were written to be unmodifiable, forever, and I see no evidence of mistake of fact, or fraud or duress employed by either party in reaching that settlement. I'm not attacking high school football (though I'd never let one of my own children batter his brains to mush even more thoroughly than 8 hours in a public school classroom can accomplish on its own), but the terms of use of the high school were clearly established when it was being built back in the late 60s and reinforced and incorporated in perpetuity by the 2003 court settlement. Mr. Effros can be a polarizing gadfly (which naturally appeals to my own soul), but the law is clearly on his side. 

So why are we now preparing to spend multi-thousands of dollars litigating to overturn what we ourselves agreed to?