Tough Terrain

Last Saturday, I posted a pretty nice story on the opening of Terrain. Plenty of people love Westport’s newest spot for everything from terraria and jewelry to organic food.

Plenty of people, that is, except those on Crescent Road. Cliff Montagna — a resident of the street that runs directly behind Terrain, from the fire station to McDonald’s — sent these comments to “06880”:

While we welcome Terrain to town and celebrate the wonderful renovation of this property, as a resident of Crescent Road, we are very concerned about the level of activity.

Crescent Road behind Terrain, yesterday at 4 p.m.

We have been awakened at 4 a.m. by truck deliveries. Workers are throwing trash on our front yards, customers and employees are double parking up and down our narrow, hilly street blocking our school buses, and customers are even parking in our driveways. To get into our homes, we have to call a tow truck.

The Planning and Zoning Commission did not do its due diligence for the residents of this quiet residential neighborhood when reviewing this site plan application.  We are left wondering what to do to fix our neighborhood?

I’m not sure it’s the P&Z’s fault. The site is zoned for business.

But a bit more care — by deliverymen, employees and customers — would go a long way toward easing the burden on Crescent Road residents.

I’m sure the police and fire departments are happy to help too.

34 responses to “Tough Terrain

  1. emma birch

    As another Crescent Road resident, I second Mr Montagna’s comments. Whilst I am thrilled with how Terrain has improved our street aesthetically, and revel in walking to a lovely brunch at the weekend, my biggest beef is the excess trash collecting on the street – not sure who to complain to about this Terrain, Kowalsky Bros or the town?? I can accept having to drive slower now on my street and just take for granted that there will be a car entering by the fire station (which used to be very rare) but please the trash is not acceptable.

    • The Kowalsky’s do not own this property, I believe the Currans still do, Kowalsky Bros. only worked on that site.

  2. This is what I got when I complained about noise from a commercial business behind my home:

    “You chose to live there…..you should have known.”

    Great. I just love that trucks are allowed to make deliveries from 10:30PM – 2:30AM next to a residential neighborhood. According to thje police, they aren’t “LOUD” enough to kick in the enforcement of the Noise Ordinance.

    No one cares about quality of life any more.

  3. Peter Flatow

    Actually I wonder if bringing in a new business was more important than site plan review. The entrance to parking is also the fire lane (no fire truck could get in if it had to) and the parking lot is way to small (both size and number of spaces) for the size of the store. I have yet to visit because both times there was just no place to park.

  4. Private Road rights

    I live on a private road in Westport. It basically means me, and my Neighboor’s, have to pay to repave this road. It also means we have to pay for the snowplow to come etc. Supposedly we have no other rights…We have a lot of maintenance crews parking on our street to service the mansion property next door. The septic tank trucks parked on our street was the last straw! A ” request” to “please pump on your own property” was all I could do. I hope they listened! I wish we had more rights of privacy!!

  5. Bart Shuldman

    Its amazing to see how tough P and Z can be on residential construction/properties yet make this huge mistake. If this was a home construction Some on P/Z would have managed and controlled every piece of the project including making comments to how many trees you are or not installing. Now they let this new building in, which we desperately need for our tax base, but create this nightmare for these residents.

  6. Speaking as a customer….
    I went to Terrain for the first time yesterday and because the parking lot was jammed I exited at the rear, onto a pleasant, narrow, residential street called Crescent Road.
    There are going to be many, many more customers doing the same, either willfully or `accidentally’ like me. (I will try and avoid that route in the future for the sake of the residents).
    It may be just the initial popularity of the store which is making the parking lot so busy, but I suspect not. I think it’s too small. Thus plenty of customers are doing to try and exit on to Crescent Road rather than do all that tight maneuvering back onto the Post Road.
    Maybe Terrain can hire the parking guy from the Shake Shack to direct traffic? (Goodness knows THAT’S a tiny lot which has had unfortunate knock-on effects on the Post Road).
    And I wonder how The Fresh Market feels about `their’ parking lot being used as an overflow??

  7. Cliff Montagna

    Dan, the fault lies with P&Z Commission because the size of the building and the zone it is in, requires 120 parking spaces and the P&Z Commission permitted 73 spaces. That is the problem. There are 47 spaces in “reserve”, which means the Commission can require their activiation, but only after requested. That is what needs to happen with this site. The 47 reserve spaces that are now dedicated to outdoor display need to be activated to parking spaces. It does not do anyone any justice (the merchant, the customers, the residents of town or the neighborhood) to have an 11,000 s.f. retail building with a restaurant and an inadequate number of parking spaces to support these uses. The neighbors will be looking into making this request of the P&Z Commission. Thank you for your input Dan.

    • I’m living next to an 11,000 square ft house with only 2 parking spaces and 6 drivers. Don’t worry residents, when you sue, Ira Bloom can be paid by the town to defend the rubber stamping of other town employees. So in other word, he has no reason to hope for an effective town govt, his pay check depends on this type of issue where no one is happy with the outcome.

    • Thanks, Cliff. This is great info. How do we go about asking the P&Z to request activation of the remaining 47 spots?

  8. I went to Terrain this week and left due to no available parking. The lot is small with narrow spots. The Dent Wizard could make a fortune there.

  9. Shall we call it “Corwin’s Folley?” It will be interesting to see how the GOP P&Z reacts to this. They were elected based on their anti-development position downtown. Will they be consistent?

  10. I have been told that the P and Z will work with all parties, to be sure all voices are heard — and all parties follow the rules and laws.

    • Another cocktail party I wasn’t invited to.

    • that is funny Dan, p+z doesn’t listen to anyone. They follow their own agenda and then the town gets sued. The citizens foot the bill as nobody in that office is personally liable for making bad decisions that hurt other people, put then in danger or ruin or their investments.

  11. Don’t worry – once people see the extremely high prices on Terrain’s “Americana” type stuff (made in China), the parking lot will have extra room.

    • I loved a quote from a well-known garden center owner in Westport. He looked at the merchandise at Terrain and noted that he buys middle-priced items in America, and marks them up just a small increase. And Terrain buys cheap stuff made in China and jacks up the prices a LOT. I fear for Westporters who only buy by price (“If it’s expensive, it must be worth it.”)!

  12. Crescent Road Resident

    It is not only the volume of traffic that has increased on our once sleepy and narrow street, it is the speed at which these cars are driving. I was almost hit by an SUV as I was pulling out of my driveway Sunday afternoon. The driver was travelling well above the 25mph speed limit. And this guy wasn’t the only one driving at the speed of light on Crescent this weekend.

    There are children who live and play on Crescent Road, as well as many residents who walk and ride their bikes daily. Someone is going to get hurt.

    In addition, there is a large herd of of deer who enjoy crossing Crescent Road very, VERY slowly while deciding which garden to feast on. Hitting a deer is no picnic, even if you are driving an SUV the size of a cruise ship.

    Thank you to Cliff for alerting Dan to this, and thank you to Dan for posting it.

  13. Been there! We fully understand your problem! The part about “you knew when you bought there” doesn’t always apply. They turned residential property into a parking lot with dumpsters, noise, etc. behind our house.

    “Some” people do not care about the rules for parking. Just this week I watched someone park in a handicapped spot and another in a no parking spot and go off to do their shopping.
    We have had people park in front of our home, where there is a no parking sign, and tell me they didn’t care, their boss would pay for their ticket.
    This was after they actually parked on top of a pile of leaves our neighbor was raking!!!

  14. Chip Stephens

    Now you have gone and done it, it was suggested when I ran for P and Z that I limit my blogging, and for the most part I have. But this hits me in the gut and here I go again! And this is my opinion, not necessarily of the other P and Z members.
    First, Mr. or Ms big brave Anonymous, I don’t imagine you have spent hours, 7 – 11PM or later each Thursday night sitting on a P and Z meeting listening and hopefully making decisions based on statute, and working towards the ideals me and my team ran and got elected on. Wisely guide the future development of 06880, be sensitive and LISTEN to all points, be concerned with traffic and over building, to “Preserve Westport”. I think the board has been making a difference and has many challenges ahead. Mr. Corwin and I do not always see eye to eye, but we all work our butts off to give back to the town, we ALL listen and we all rule on what we can (80 % of issues are based on if the issue meets statute then we must let it pass, it is called LAW and if we do not determine per statute then we get sued) Point 1, the 7 of us on P and Z dedicate our time and hours to maintaining Westport in the image of the electorate’s expectations and the Town Plan. And oh by the way, we do not get paid, nada, zip, zilch. So Mr. or Ms Anonymous consider that.
    Second, Terrain was approved along the lines discussed above. Maybe some accommodations were made, but they have more limits than accommodations. I truly empathize with Crescent Rd folks and we will do our best to work with Terrain, the Westport Police, The Westport Fire Department and all stakeholders to smooth out the issues. It is called a learning curve, we do our best to anticipate and plan, we miss some things or the plan is not fully followed, we adjust, and hopefully the situation works out. Give it a chance, they just opened, we are just seeing the wrinkles, we are listening.
    Lastly, there are quite a few controversial items coming up over the coming months, I implore everyone that holds a stake in those issues (that is every Westport citizen or cares about Westport) to sit in at the P and Z meeting, stand up and be heard (by you will be asked to state your name Mr. or Ms Anonymous). Attendance and voices make a difference in the issues we have latitude to rule and decide on how the issue is passed or denied. If you cannot make the meetings they are broadcast on Cable and the internet live.
    People we are trying, and I know there is a good core of Westporter’s that care and participate in making things right. I do not see throwing barbs in blogs help anything but sew negativism. Grow some stones, if you care, come to a P and Z meeting and state your name. We will listen, maybe not agree or be happy, but we will respect you for your effort and opinion.
    Now back to laying low, until next time…

    • Patience personified

      Be patient Cresent Roaders you will only be woken by early morning deliveries for the time it takes for the PnZ to get its act together. How patiently would you and your neighborhood wait, Commissioner Stephens, if your sleep was disturbed by early morning deliveries, trucks idling, and the like?

      • I have delivery trucks behind my place every morning at 3:30 am, that being said. I believe the early morning noise issue deserve consideration beyond Cresent Rd and my place and is on many Westporters minds that I have heard from for a solution. Now I challenge you to suggest what and how a solution should be framed, bring it to the P and Z and let’s discuss.
        Again participation and involvement will get us somewhere faster than just sniping

    • Thank you, Chip and all other volunteers, for giving your time and thoughts for stepping up and trying to make Westport a better place.

    • Ecclesiastes

      ……a time to be silent and a time [and place] to speak….a lesson to be learned by all P&Z commissioners. As for Terrain, be patient….it will close after its business model fails.

  15. Thin skin… relax Chip.

    • We always knew it was going to be a good show, They were not elected because they were masterful statesman.

    • Longtime Westporter

      Chip, I love to hear your reasoned feedback. Thank you!

  16. Here’s an idea Chip, why don’t you just mandate that deliveries in or around residential neighborhoods be restricted to after 7am on weekdays and 8am on Saturday’s. Additionally, i think there should be more restrictive noise ordinances dealing with leaf blowers, lawn mowers and other high decibel contraptions.

    There you go Chip. MAKE IT HAPPEN.

  17. Don’t worry crescent roaders….with hanging baskets priced at $95 and sales people that don’t know how to work the register, this hyped up home depot on steroids will surely not last!

  18. Paul Lebowitz

    To All CRESCENT ROAD residents: Getting heard by Town Hall on issues that concern you is the job of your local RTM member. So, your District 6 RTM Representative, I would welcome your email concerns. Us this email: PLebowitzRTM6@Hotmail.com. I will make sure your issues are heard by those who need to listen in Town Hall.

  19. Cliff Montagna

    Hi Dan and All -Just wanted to post an update on the very improved situation here on Crescent Road. I understand our Police Chief Call had a discussion with the Terrain Management team and many of our safety concerns have been addressed. Big thanks to Chief Call for your help! Our school bus can now get down Crescent Road, there is no more parking up and down the road or in our driveways. I do think we should consider petitioning the P&Z commission to activate the 47 reserve parking spaces for this site. There are 6 or 7 parking spots around back that are filled in with storage items and uanble to be used, and the Terrain staff employs a valet parking system as the existing parking is just not adequate. It’s a thought, Thanks again Dan