Board Meeting Minutes 6/1/2021

FYI: There will be no Board Meeting for July. Next Board Meeting scheduled for Monday, August 2nd.   Location TBD.

Board Members attending: Art Schoeller, Lois Sussman, Judy Swann, Birthe Shwisha, Norman Kramer, Bitsy Higgins, Mitch Higgins and MaryAnn Meyer

This was our first in person meeting after months of holding our meetings via ZOOM. It was great to see everyone in person!

Art opened the meeting by welcoming two new Board members, Bitsy and Mitch Higgins. The current officers of the Board, (Art Schoeller President, Norman Kramer, Vice-President, Birthe Shwisha, Treasurer and MaryAnn Meyer, Secretary) will serve another year.

1) Post Plaza (former Barnes & Noble)

The Board has carefully followed the progress of this project. The P&Z recently approved the site plan for a large food market.  Some of the improvements will include repaving the parking lot, new landscaping, additional parking spots, EV charging stations and lighting and building façade improvements.

The P&Z Public Hearing, held via ZOOM, heard from many of our Green’s Farms neighbors in the area.  They voiced safety concerns as many students and families walk through the parking lot to the Green’s Farms School. A plan to install signs in the parking lot to insure safety was discussed.

The applicant was able to come to an agreement with several neighbors whose properties border the parking lot.  New fencing and tree borders will be installed to insure privacy.

Garbage/trash pickup may become an issue once the food market opens. Trailer truck traffic on Church Street will increase as the Church Street entrance will be the only allowed access for deliveries. Trailer trucks must also exit from Church Street with a right hand turn towards Post Road allowed.  Trucks will not be allowed to make a left hand turn onto Church Street.  The Board will continue to monitor this project as well as any appeals and proposed plans regarding the former gas station which has not yet been submitted to P&Z.

2) Recap of Annual Meeting

Our Annual Meeting was held via Zoom.  Our guests were State Senators Jonathan Steinberg and Tony Hwang along with Danielle Dobin, Chair of Westport P&Z. They discussed the recent push by the State to legislate local zoning to build additional affordable housing across the state. It will take time to come up with a collaborative plan that will create real solutions for affordable housing. Westport has several affordable housing projects that have either been approved or at the proposal stage.

3) Einsel Property

Discussed the Einsel Property as the existing house has not sold nor have any of the 3 building lots.  Concerned if the owner can apply for 8-30g.  Board member to contact Historical Commission for updates on the condition of the Einsel home and property which is unkempt.

4) Keeping Engaged

The Board also discussed the important role to remain engaged as we continue to have the ear of many town officials, Boards and elected local and State officials. Posting our minutes on our website, keeping our membership up to date and staying informed on local issues are extremely important to our community.

5) Next Meeting

The Board next meeting will be Monday, August 2nd.

Location TBD