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.