Wading straight into a raging controversy — does Westport have enough banks, or could we use several dozen more? — the Planning & Zoning Commission is ready to act.
A public hearing next Thursday (Sept. 16) will consider a proposed text amendment that would — be still, my heart! — restrict where banks can be located within our borders.
As trend-setting as Westport is, we may not be leading the pack here. According to P&Z director Laurence Bradley, other towns have recently passed similar measures.
The reason: “Banks have a tendency to detract from the fabric of vibrant commercial areas, as they do not generate a lot of foot traffic and they are not opening evenings and weekends.”
Bradley added that with an average bank-to-household ratio of 1:320, Westport is “substantially ‘over-banked'” when compared to our neighbors.
Wilton has 1 bank for every 508 families. Fairfield — often held up as the image of what “Westport used to be,” and lauded for a vibrant downtown that has zoomed past ours in terms of nightlife, restaurants and general hipness — lags far behind us in bankitude. Folks there make do with 1 bank for every 656 households.
Whatever the P&Z decides, “06880” hopes there’s enough gas left in the tank to tackle an issue far more serious than over-banking:
(Thursday’s meeting is set for 7 p.m. in the Town Hall auditorium. However, the bank text amendment is not the 1st item on the agenda.)