David Waldman — a Westport native, and president of David Adam Realty — sent this email to “friends and colleagues.”
The subject line read: “HELP – Please forward to anyone and eveyone you think supports our proposed zone chnage and future development and would be willing to participate – THANK YOU”
In it, Waldman outlines his proposals for a zoning change for 35 Church Lane (next to the Y); his vision for other nearby properties, and his thoughts on current and potential Planning and Zoning Commission members.
“06880′”s previous post on 35 Church Lane drew 95 comments. This one might surpass that.
Friends and Colleagues,
I am sending this email with the hope that you will consider sending a letter to the Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission, similar in nature to the sample letters attached. I have attached two versions, one for local landlords or business owners and one for residents (if you are not a resident I apologize but hope you will consider passing this on to your friends who live in Westport who would supportive of our zone change and future project). Please feel free to modify this sample letter so it reflects your views (with the hope that those views are still supportive of our proposal). We would also welcome personal supportive letters to the editors of the local papers prior to the meeting on the 20th.
Next week, on Thursday, October 20th, the partners of Bedford Square, of which I am one, are going in front of the board to seek approval to change the current zoning on 35 Church Lane from RORD to BCD. Our partnership purchased the property in late 2010 with the hopes of combining it with our redevelopment of the YMCA.
The re-zoning is just the first step which would allow us to create a more vibrant project for the downtown area. Assuming we are successful with the zone change, and subsequent public meetings to follow, the proposed project could have over 100 underground onsite parking spaces, 35+ residential units, substantial public space, courtyards, outdoor dining, pathways and connections from Elm Street, Church Lane and Main Street, as well as additional small shop retail, restaurant and office space moving down Church Lane and rounding the corner at Elm Street.
As part of the development team and a resident of Westport for over 40 years, I, as well as my partners, care deeply about the character of our town and its overall success. We are well versed with how adaptive re-use and preservation can be achieved and complemented as well as the principals of smart growth and sustainability.
I am currently working on the restoration of 101-107 Post Road East (soon to be the new home of Urban Outfitters) as well as the restoration of 26-28 Church Lane (soon to be the home of a new restaurant owned and operated by the operators of the Grey Goose). I was also involved with the restoration of 87 Post Road East (home to Patagonia and recipient of both local and federal preservation awards). I was part of the development team which repurposed 125 Main Street(home to the new Gap and Brooks Brothers Women) and continue to work hard to make Downtown Westport a better, more vibrant and active place.
I realize that many of you may have questions before you decide to send in a letter supporting our zone change and I would be happy to answer any of those questions either in person, by email or by phone. If you are willing to send in a letter, please make sure it gets to Mr. Corwin before the meeting on the 20th.
Also, and equally as important, there is an upcoming election for the Planning and Zoning Commission which will help shape the future of the downtown area. Three members of the current commission are stepping down opening up the opportunity for their seats to be occupied by potentially “obstructionist” members who do not understand change nor want it to occur.
In particular, Jack Whittle and Chip Stephens are these type of people. If elected, they could impede the positive momentum our current commission has set in place. They want the commission to remain a reactive body instead of a proactive body.
The other candidates, Jennifer Johnson, Catherine A. Walsh and Al Gratix are all reasonable, intelligent candidates who understand smart growth and want to create a successful, vibrant downtown. For all those interested, there is a debate on Monday the 17th at town hall between all the candidates. I believe this debate will be televised on Chanel 79.
I implore you to get the word out about the candidates who should and deserve to fill the soon to be vacated seats on the P&Z. In particular, Jennifer Johnson has a long and solid background in planning and, like Catherine and Al they want to see positive change in the downtown area. They want to see our riverfront opened up to the public, they want to see vibrancy, an additional tax base to lessen the blow on residents. They deserve your vote but need your help in ensure they can win.
Thank you again for your consideration. Our project, like all the projects me and my partners have been involved with, will be of the highest quality in terms of material, diversity and sustainability and hopefully something all residents and visitors of Westpoer will be proud to have in the Downtown area.
David A. Waldman
David Adam Realty, Inc
Westport CT 06880
203-221-8148 ext 220 (office)