Board Meeting Minutes

Board Members in attendance: Art Schoeller, Norm Kramer, Lois Sussman, and MaryAnn Meyer.
Invited Guests: RTM-5 Reps, Karen Kramer, Peter Gold and Dick Lowenstein and Lory Nurenberg of West Parish.

Art opened the meeting and welcomed Board members and invited guests. The topic of discussion was the Town’s possible acquisition of 4 acres of land from the State DOT lot that borders West Parish Road and Post Road East.

The Town would plan to build moderate income housing  (appox 39 town house units). The State DOT would continue to run their operations on the remaining 7 acres of land.

Lory Nurenberg and her husband, Frank Hall have resided on West Parish for 25 years. She provided the Board an account of their experience living across the street from the STATE DOT yard. She and Frank have seen the location deteriorate over several years. Lory mentioned the shed on the property is dilapidated, the chain link fence has fallen to the ground, there are many fallen trees and the area is full of trash most of the time. She indicated that she has filed complaints to the Blight Commission though the area continues to be in poor condition. She plans to file a 3rd complaint to the Blight Board.

In regard to the possibility of building affordable housing on the lot, Lory feels it is a win-win for the Town and her neighbors who are also in favor of the project. She mentioned that she would hope that the neighbors would be able to have input on the project once it is approved.  Art referenced two recent projects in the area (Geiger Property and Rogers Septic) that did take into account the neighbors’ concerns as it seems to be a best practice by builders.

A discussion followed with Board members and RTM-5 Reps as both groups brought up some very good ideas and concerns. As the State has not yet agreed to provide the Town with the 4 acres of land, it might be possible to have the State clean up the area for a start. Affordable housing is a separate issue.

Some Board members felt that there would be little change as the area would still have the State DOT operating trucks and heavy equipment on the property. Affordable housing is important but so are improvements of our infrastructure to support these projects.

The Greens Farms Association has a history with the Blight Commission and Art indicated that he would contact them. Also State Senators and Reps would be contacted to see what they can do to clean up the area. The Board will continue its discussion as the Town continues its efforts to acquire the parcel at West Parish.

Next meeting scheduled for Tuesday, September 15th at 7pm.


Board Meeting Minutes

Minutes of July 2020 Board Meeting via Zoom. Members attending: Art Schoeller, Lois Sussman, Norman Kramer, Judy Swann, Matt Spiegel, and MaryAnn Meyer.

Invited Guests: RTM-5 Reps Peter Gold, Karen Kramer, Dick Lowenstein, and RTM-3 Rep Mark Friedman, P&Z Chairwoman Danielle Dobin and GF resident Seth Schachter. Art opened the meeting and welcomed the Board and invited guests.

Mark Freidman (RTM-3) a member of the Long Range Planning Committee spoke about open space in Town. Generally, Westporters are enthusiastic and positive towards open space as it enhances people’s lives, adds to preservation of the environment and is a long term investment for the Town. Public and private partnerships, government, citizens and non-profit conservation groups offer creative ideas for public and private funding.

With the current proposed development of the Kowalsky Farm on Morningside Drive South, there may be a path for an opportunity to use some of the property for open space. The Farm is the largest remaining farm in Green’s Farms. Their petting farm provided residents and families a lovely setting to visit the animals as they grazed in their fenced in area along Morningside Drive. Art will continue the discussion with Mark and gather more information, resources and neighborhood input.

Danielle Dobin (P&Z Chairwoman) spoke about the need to provide more affordable housing. The goal is to add more affordable housing units to secure a 2nd moratorium before the 1st moratorium expires. The P&Z is considering other options with Accessory Dwelling Units and the cap on multi-family units. A Staff report on these options will be presented to the P&Z at their September meeting.

There are several housing projects proposed and are making their way through the P&Z process. The P&Z remains proactive with their discussions with the State of CT DOT. The Town is looking for 4.5 acres of State property along West Parish which would allow the DOT to remain on the property. 

Peter Gold (RTM-5) offered other options for affordable housing including State land in the Saugatuck area. This would be nearby transportation. Commuter parking will be reduced in the future due to more people choosing to work from home. There will also be door to door pickup service provided by the Westport Transit District.

MaryAnn Meyer brought to Danielle’s attention the over development of Post Road East. From Bulkley Road to Hillspoint Road along Post Road East (2.1 miles) there are 514 multi housing units. There are other properties along the 2.1 miles which may be potentially developed by private builders and the multi housing units will number over 600 units. Currently AJ’s Farmers Market is on the market and The Residence at Westport (Independent and Assisted Living) with 96 Units will be opening soon.

Art thanked everyone for an informative discussion and appreciated everyone’s questions. The Board will continue the discussion on affordable housing in Green’s Farms and other areas of Westport.

Next meeting is Tuesday, August 11th via Zoom.


October Board Meeting Minutes

The Green’s Farms Association met for their Board Meeting on October 13, 2020 via ZOOM.

Members attending were Art Schoeller, Lois Sussman, Norman Kramer, Judy Swann, Ann Hamonet and MaryAnn Meyer.

1) Follow with P&Z – Affordable Housing/West Parish-State DOT 

Following up on our discussion on affordable housing proposal at West Parish/State DOT lot. Art emailed Danielle Dobin (Chairwoman of P&Z) to let her know that the Board supports affordable housing. He will also be following up with Selectman Jim Marpe as well.

2) Post Plaza (Barnes & Noble) Upgrades

MaryAnn provided an update on the Post Plaza (Barnes & Noble) as the owner will be making improvements on the property.  New lights, repaving and regrading the parking lot as well as renovations to the B&N space. The project has already appeared in front of the Architectural Review Board and is making its way through the Town Boards and Commissions. It is uncertain if there will be a new tenant.

Art commented…..“The key concern for Greens Farms Association is if the improvement plans will attempt again to establish a curb cut onto Morningside South. Over the years we have successfully opposed this twice due to the traffic congestion it would cause, especially directly across from Greens Farms elementary school.”

3) Cribari Bridge Update

Norman provided the latest update on the Cribari Bridge. The Town is waiting for the report conducted by Environmental Assessment/Environmental Impact Evaluation which would identify the recommended proposal for the Bridge. The report is expected to be ready in Spring 2021 according to Jim Marpe and he has at this time, declined the $40Million offered by the State. The State has temporarily withdrawn the $40Million allocation for the project and returned it to the State DOT Budget. There is a good chance the State will come back in the Spring.

4) Townhouse Construction (Formerly Rogers Septic)

Board Members commented on Sir Construction Company starting construction on the lot formerly Rogers Septic. The 32 units being built are in the style of townhouses of 1 and 2 bedrooms.

Next Meeting 

Tuesday, November 10th at 7pm.  (Zoom)


September Board Meeting Minutes

Minutes of Board Meeting held on September 15, 2020
September 15th Board Meeting held via ZoomBoard members attending: Art Schoeller, Norman Kramer, Lois Sussman, Judy Swann, Matt Spiegel and MaryAnn Meyer.

Art asked Board members for a brief update on how each are managing the current pandemic. Everyone is doing well, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.


1) Proposed housing development at West Parish /State DOT 

The last few Board meetings have been focused on the Town proposal for housing at West Parish. We heard from neighbors, RTM-5 Reps and P&Z Chair.  The Town has requested the State DOT provide 4 acres of land from the current 11 acres the State DOT has along West Parish and Post Road. The Town Housing Authority would build town house style moderate income housing (8-30g)  for families.

The Board reviewed several of the points made in the previous meetings.   Input from West Parish neighbors support the proposal and feel it would be an improvement to clean up the area.

This proposed 8-30g would help continue the current moratorium.  Objections to density have been dismissed in other proposed and current projects. (Rogers’ Septic)  The Board has an opportunity to take a broad position in favor of reasonable developments within    Greens Farms as well as be effective in offering input.

Prior to taking a vote to support the P&Z plan to acquire 4 acres of property from the State DOT, members raised concerns that the P&Z should address. Toxic cleanup of the property by the State and addressing the existing wetlands and culvert which runs under the Hillandale Bridge to adjacent properties on lower West Parish. Other properties were discussed as potential options though they may not have nearby town sewer connections. Also discussed to stay posted with recommendations and future housing plans as the P&Z Affordable Housing Committee explores other options to maintain current and develop new projects.

Resolution: Move to support the P&Z plan to acquire land (4 acres along West Parish) from the State DOT to be developed by the Westport Housing Authority and to require the State to first clean up the toxins on the property. The resolution was approved by majority. Discussion followed for Art to voice our advocacy to State Reps and Town Selectman.

2) Discussion on membership and website content   

Plan to email membership with info on the proposed Town housing on West Parish and remind members of membership dues. Website content to mention GF Church renovation project, new speed limit sign  (25mph) on Morningside Drive South (across from the school) in time for opening of school, update on Cribari Bridge repairs vs replacement and the DOT final Cribari Bridge meeting on October 15th.

3) Cribari Bridge   

Norman provided the latest update on the Cribari Bridge. The State DOT will host its final meeting on Thursday, October 15th prior to coming up for a plan for the Bridge. The State budget is $40Million for the Bridge. The State has not maintained the Bridge and is in need for repair. There is also discussion to replace the Bridge which would require the new Bridge to meet specifications to accommodate any vehicle legally allowed on roadways which would include tractor trailer trucks. This would bring tractor trailer traffic to Green’s Farms and Saugatuck and would require the bridge to be widen from 2 lanes to 4 lanes. As the GF Association has a seat on the Citizens Advisory Committee, a letter will be drafted to send to DOT to express our position that the Bridge should be repaired rather than replaced. Repairs needing to be addressed are replace dented and rusted steel, repair pillars underneath the bridge with new mortar as old mortar in the stones has fallen out and continue regular maintenance.
Westport Preservation Alliance and Western Council of Government (reps from 30 towns in Fairfield County) also have concerns with the State DOT’s plan for the Cribari Bridge.

Call for adding new members to the GF Association Board.
Meeting adjourned.
Next Board meeting via Zoom will be Tuesday, October 13th at 7pm.


November Board Meeting Minutes

Board Meeting held on November 10, 2020 via Zoom

Members Attending: Art Schoeller, Lois Sussman, Norman Kramer, Ann Hamonet and MaryAnn Meyer

Art opened the meeting and commented on the current numbers of Covid cases that continue to climb. The State of CT continues to monitor the cases and protocols continue to be enforced and modified as need be.

The Board meetings will continue to be virtual using Zoom.

RTM-5 Rep Karen Kramer reported that RTM-5 Greg Kraut resigned. Nicole Klein who ran in the November 2019 election was sworn in to fill the spot.

Congratulations to Nicole!

  1.  West Parish/DOT Proposed Project

P&Z seeks to acquire land from the State DOT to build moderate income housing units. The Board has voiced support in the Town’s efforts to provide more moderate income housing.

Art mentioned that our support was noted at a TEAM Westport meeting (somehow they may have come across the Board minutes). He received an email regarding our support from Alison Patton, the Pastor of Saugatuck Congregational Church who is on TEAM Westport.

As this project proceeds, the Board will carefully monitor the plan.

  • Cribari Bridge Update

The plan proposed for the Cribari Bridge will need to meet environmental requirements. The State has not yet completed the environmental report.

The State funding was turned down again by WesConn. These issues to restore or replace the Bridge will be addressed again sometime in 2021.

Meeting Adjourned

No December meeting scheduled

Next meeting Tuesday, January 5, 2021


January Board Meeting Minutes

January 5, 2021

Board Members Attending: Art Schoeller, Lois Sussman, Norman Kramer, Birthe Shwisha, Judy Swann, Anne Hamonet, Matt Spiegel and MaryAnn Meyer.

Invited Guests: Karen Kramer (RTM-5), Matt Mandel (RTM-1) and State Senator Tony Hwang (CT 28th)

The first meeting of 2021 was focused on the State’s efforts to take control of local zoning laws and disregard safety and conservation concerns to allow developers to build affordable housing within half a mile of train/transportation hubs in the State.

RTM Rep Matt Mandel addressed the Board and discussed the implications to Green’s Farms and Saugatuck areas and how this proposal by the State would give developers all the advantage. He also discussed DesegregateCT which is a grass root organization and a proponent of the State’s overtaking local zoning laws. They are very organized getting out their message via local presentations, social media and webinars.

The Board has concerns of the State’s plan to take over local zoning and further overdevelopment in the Green’s Farms area. Several newly built multi housing with affordable housing now line the Post Road. Most recently, the Town worked with the developers of 1177 Post Road East (94 units) which was built under 8-30g and provides 30% of the units affordable.

State Senator Tony Hwang, ranking Senate leader on the Planning and Development Committee, discussed his role and collaboration with local communities. It’s a complex issue and Senator Hwang indicated his plans to continue to raise awareness and representing communities on these potential issues so law makers can fix or create regulations to support the needs of all types of neighborhoods. He also pointed out that it is important to engage everyone throughout the State and to discuss solutions.

Along with his colleagues, Jonathan Steinberg, Will Haskell and Stephanie Thomas all are actively meeting with local zoning boards, lending their zoning expertise and fostering communications in an attempt to develop ideas and solutions.

Art provided an overview of the Green’s Farms Association’s role with local zoning and our support of multi unit housing developments within Westport and Green’s Farms.  Most recently, the Board supported the proposed multi housing development on West Parish which would provide additional affordable housing.  The P&Z Commission and the Town is negotiating with the State DOT to acquire some of their land at West Parish.

Senator Hwang will get back to the Board and determine the best method to convey the West Parish story and where to share it.  All efforts will be made to provide solutions for affordable housing with the goal to maintain local zoning control.  Senator Hwang will be sending Art a summary of the Information Forum with WestCog and Council of Small Towns which was held earlier in December and was also attended by RTM REP Matt Mandel.    

The Board continued its agenda and discussed the date for the Annual Meeting (via Zoom) to be held April/May as well as ideas for a topic and a speaker. Date will be confirmed at our next meeting. 

At our next meeting, we will discuss when to mail out the postcard reminder with the Annual meeting information and website information. Will address postcard  ‘Green’s Farms Neighbor’ (thank you Anne). Art will look into printing facility in Fairfield suggested by Anne.

Board members discussed our role and how to present our view on the State proposal to control local zoning laws.  Matt suggested posting members’ experiences when moving to Westport as Lois shared her story when she first moved to CT in the ‘60’s. She found Westport to be a more open community than other communities in Fairfield County.

Next meeting will be Monday, February 1st at 7pm.


February Board Meeting Minutes

P&Z Public Hearing for Post Plaza Feb 11th  (via Zoom))
NEXT MEETING: Monday, March 1st (via Zoom)
ANNUAL MEETING: Thursday, April 8th (via Zoom)

Board members attending: Art Schoeller, Lois Sussman, Judy Swann, Norman Kramer, Anne Hamonet, Matt Spiegel and MaryAnn Meyer
Invited guests: RTM-5 Reps Dick Lowenstein, Peter Gold, Bitsy and Mitch Higgins.

  1. The Board began the meeting discussing the recently held P&Z Subcommittee meeting in regard to revising the amendment on accessory dwelling units (ADU).

The Subcommittee is still in the planning stage as there are many exceptions being discussed based on size of lot, height of building, cupola design and allowed coverage limits rather than square footage limits. The owner of the property would be required to live at the property but it was not clear if owners could rent out their home and live in the accessory dwelling unit themselves.

Peter Gold  (RTM-5) brought up the question if the ADU’s  were counted towards 8-30g affordable housing count or if they are eliminated from the count.

The Board will continue to monitor any further action on the revised ADU amendment.

  1. Update on West Parish (State DOT) where the P&Z and the Town continue to work on their request of 4 acres of land from the State DOT in order for the Westport Housing Authority to build affordable housing units. It is still under discussion. Will continue to follow this project.
  2. State Legislature is working on a bill which would allow the State to control local zoning to build affordable housing units across the State. Bitsy and Mitch Higgins (Iris Lane) provided helpful information regarding DesegregateCT  (headed by Sara Bronin) which is a grass roots organization and a  proponent of the State’s move to control local zoning. It would result in an increase of multiple housing units preferably near transportation hubs (commuter trains, accessible highways) across the State.

State Rep Kimberly Fiorello and State Senator Tony Hwang have held forums (via Zoom) as they are concerned that the bill would diminish the authority of local zoning boards and give the State more control of local zoning. The new proposed legislation would not replace the State’s affordable housing statute 8-30g but would function in parallel.  Proposed bill is still under discussion and the legislature timeline for the bill is uncertain. Art to email our State reps for their input and to request updates on where this bill is headed.

  1. New tenant at  Post Plaza

Barnes & Noble has moved out of Post Plaza and a new tenant (grocery/food market though not yet confirmed) is slated to move into the available space. As the Post Plaza borders a residential area (homes on Iris Lane, Church Street South and Morningside Drive South), the Board discussed the concerns addressed by Bitsy & Mitch Higgins whose property (3A Iris Lane) shares a border with the parking lot. A proper buffer zone is required and the Board will be vigilant to be sure that the owner satisfactorily provides a proper buffer  zone.

Increased traffic on Church Street is also a concern as there is pedestrian traffic from The Little Barn restaurant as well as from pedestrians walking to the shops in the Post Plaza and children and parents walking to the Green’s Farms School.

The owner of the Post Plaza will  be making these improvements including: Installing new lighting, landscaping, a new fence, new signage and grease traps. Also the culvert will be repaired and drainage and flooding will be addressed. The façade of the building will be renovated and the loading dock will be reconfigured.

A status report was submitted to P&Z regarding the ongoing environmental remediation at the former gas station on site and regulated by the DEEP.  A Licensed Environmental Professional will be available at the upcoming Public Hearing to respond to any questions.

Improving lighting on Church Street South and installing a sidewalk along Church Street was discussed by the Board. The RTM is putting together a sidewalk plan and the Board discussed with the invited RTM reps to include Church Street in the plan.

  1. Annual Meeting

Confirmed Date: Tuesday, April 8th  (via Zoom)

Topic: Affordable Housing/State Control of Local Zoning

Panel: (Yet to be confirmed) State Reps Jonathan Steinberg, Will Haskell, State Senators Tony Hwang and Stephanie Thompson.

Postcards will be mailed out to “Greens Farms Resident” with essential information along with GF Association website address and information on 2021 dues.  An email will be sent out to current membership list with annual meeting and renewing membership information. Discussed obtaining emailing addresses from Parks & Rec for additional emails for Matt to create a “once a year” email list to increase membership.

  • Updates on 14 Hillandale

Norman provided an update on 14 Hillandale Road which is an approved new subdivision with 4 new homes proposed. The existing home (A.E.Hotchner’s home) will be torn down and a new private road is proposed  from Wakeman Road to the new subdivision.

The developer set aside land along the border of  Wakeman Road as unused land and will make a cash contribution of 5% instead of 10% to the open space fund based on the property appraisal by a 3rd party.

  •  Westport Library Book Store

Dick Lowenstein(RTM-5)  shared news about the Westport Library Book Store that will be run by volunteers and STAR. The store is located at Jessup Green.

Next Board Meeting: Monday, March 1


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


Green’s Farms Association Board Meeting: August 2, 2021

Members attending; Art Schoeller, Lois Sussman, Norman Kramer, Birthe Shwisha,  Betsy Higgins, Mitch Higgins, Anne Hamonet, Liz-Ann Koos, and MaryAnn Meyer.  Karen Kramer RTM-5 was our guest.

1) Art opened the meeting by welcoming Liz-Ann Koos as the newest member of our Board.  Liz-Ann, a former attorney has been active in the community including Friends of Sherwood Island where she is President of the Board.

2) Discussion on communication avenues to boost GFA social media. Bitsy, MaryAnn and Matt plan to meet to look into other options to improve our social media to our membership and community.  Main objective is to provide interesting content and share information on events in Green’s Farms, engage Green’s Farms School PTA, feature historical sites and other sites of interests. Plan to connect social media to our website to help increase membership.

3) Morningside Drive South curb cut which has been opposed by GFA since the 1970’s was revisited again. Post Plaza is undertaking a major renovation to accommodate a new tenant, Amazon Fresh. The Fire Inspector, Nat e Gibbons requested that a temporary curb cut be allowed at Morningside Drive South for only emergency vehicle use during the construction. At the recent Board of Selectmen meeting, Inspector Gibbons stated that the curb cut would not be fenced in and access would be only for ingress. After further discussion, Gibbons revealed that patrons would also be allowed to use the entrance. Several neighbors stated their opposition to the curb cut.  RTM-5 Rep Karen Kramer spoke in opposition stating that the school safety was most important especially due to the high pedestrian traffic of children and their families walking to and from the neighborhood.  There is also high traffic during drop off and pickup at Green’s Farms Elementary School that needed to also be considered.  The Selectmen denied the curb cut request.  The Board remains ever vigilant on proposed curb cuts at the Post Plaza.

4) Proposed Cell Tower at Hillspoint and Greens Farms Road will be making its way through the Town approvals. Tarpon Towers has proposed a 124 foot tower on private property that they will lease. There are mixed opinions and nearby neighbors have organized to oppose the proposal which has yet to be presented. The Historic District Commission ruled against the cell tower stating that all of Green’s Farms is historic.

5) The Green’s Farms “archive” is currently stored in Lois’ basement and the Board will need to address how best to manage the archive.

 There will not be a meeting in September.

Next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 5, 2021.  A reminder will go out at the end of September and at that time will determine if we can have an in person meeting or return to a Zoom meeting.