August 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.

July Board Meeting Minutes

Green’s Farms Association

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.