James A. Fieber, who most recently was embroiled in a multi-year battle over the development of a 14-acre parcel at 183 Ridgefield Rd., has passed away at 64. His obituary, published today in The New York Times, says that the family requests donations be made in Fieber’s name to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in lieu of flowers.
A page set up to accept donations to Memorial Sloan Kettering states that Fieber, while never a smoker, died on Saturday, July 14, “after an incredible six month fight with an aggressive form of lung cancer.”
Fieber’s 2015 purchase of the land at 183 Ridgefield Rd. initiated a protracted dispute between residents who wanted to see the land remain untouched and undeveloped, and the Fieber Group, which had plans to build developments of varying densities and sizes on the location, from five 2-acre lots to 35 units, to 16 units. Multiple public hearings on the issue were held with overflow crowds giving testimony and opinion to the Planning & Zoning Commission over the course of many months. Fieber eventually secured Planning & Zoning Commission approval of one application to change zoning regulations that would have paved the way for developing the parcel under an age-restricted overlay (AROD) zone–only to see that approval overturned on a technicality involving improper public notice of a hearing when Patricia Frisch, a neighboring Ridgefield Rd. resident, filed suit against the town.
Late last year, Fieber withdrew the most recent application with a letter from an attorney that stated he would reapply in early 2018. But nothing more was heard until May when the Wilton Land Conservation Trust announced a deal to purchase the property. According to Peter Gaboriault, president of the Land Trust, the organization signed contracts to purchase the property for a $2.3 million price tag. A press release sent out by the organization at the time said it was an “effort to save 183 Ridgefield Rd..”
Below is the obituary as published in the Times today. (GOOD Morning Wilton has edited the obituary for readability, but has not altered any content.):
“James Fieber, a resident of Wilton, Connecticut, passed away peacefully on Saturday, July 14, surrounded by his loving family. He was 64 years old. He is survived by his wife, Deborah, of forty-one years, and his four children, Brian, Gregory, Sarah, and Daniel. He is also survived by his parents, Norman and Sylvia Fieber, and his siblings, Robert, Kathy, and William.
“James was born and raised in Stamford, Connecticut. He attended St. Luke’s School in New Canaan, and graduated in 1972 as valedictorian of his class. He then attended Williams College, where he majored in psychology and graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1976. In 1977, he married his high school sweetheart, and together, they moved to North Carolina, where James earned his JD-MBA at Duke University in 1981. After his graduation, James, Deborah, and their twin sons, Brian and Gregory, moved back to Stamford, Connecticut, and James began his professional career as an attorney at Kelley Drye & Warren in New York City.
“In 1984, the family moved to Wilton, and James joined The Fieber Group, a family-owned real estate investment and development company, as a third generation partner. His daughter, Sarah, was born in 1986, and his son, Daniel, in 1990. All four children attended the Wilton public schools, where James was highly involved as a parent, coach, and mentor.
“James served on the board of Bankwell Financial Group, was a member of the Williams College Museum of Art Collections Council, and left a large philanthropic footprint at numerous organizations. James had a true passion for art, the outdoors, and, most of all, his beloved family. He will be remembered as an inspiration and hero to those who knew him.
“A funeral service will be held at Temple Sholom in Greenwich, Connecticut at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, July 18. A celebration of James’ life will follow at Rockrimmon Country Club in Stamford. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in James’ honor to support Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Checks, made payable to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, should be mailed to: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Attn: Emily Carter, 885 Second Ave., 7th Fl., New York, NY 10017. Please indicate on the check that the gift is in memory of James A. Fieber. Donations can also be made online.”