After 2 months, the strike at the Westport Health Care Center continues. The chants and noise-making have died down, but dozens of nursing home caregivers still protest what they call unfair labor practices at the Burr Road facility.
Meanwhile, the nursing home’s owner — New Jersey-based HealthBridge/Care One — is gearing up for another battle. This Thursday (September 6, 7 p.m., Town Hall auditorium), the Planning & Zoning Commission holds a public hearing. Item 1 on the agenda is an application to rezone 2 properties on Lincoln Street — off Post Road West, parallel to Burr Road — from “Zone A Residential” to “Restricted Office Retail District.”
Healthbridge hopes to buy and tear down the 2 homes, and replace them with a 26-car parking lot. Neighbors fear it will be “lit and used around the clock, 7 days a week.”
Nearly 2 dozen residents of the area oppose the application. A few neighbors favor it.
Last month — with both houses listed on the town’s Historic Resources Inventory — the Historic District Commission heard testimony and received letters from neighbors. A majority opposed the zoning change. The commission then voted unanimously to oppose the request for a change. Their memo cited “a serious intrusion, and irreparable damage to the existing residential character of this distinctive historic neighborhood.”
The 2 homes are multi-family, moderate-incoming housing. Including a cottage, 6 housing units would be lost.
Opponents of the application cite a Connecticut Historical Commission description from 1988:
Lincoln Street is the only known, turn-of-the-century speculative development on the west side of the river, and it is very important because it is a complete, intact, period streetscape.
(Lincoln Street) retains its early-20th century character, and should be preserved as a record of the residential development.
Lincoln Street may not be paradise. But it’s handsome, and home to many longtime Westporters.
Will Healthbridge demolish those homes, pave them, and put up a parking lot?
It would really be a shame if they tore down the historic homes for a huge parking lot, it just doesn’t for the neighborhood.
For the aides and Nurses striking, keep it going. Many of you are under paid and not treated fairly. If only the general public could be a fly on the wall to see the work you do and see the patients that you care for.
Healthbridge/Care one, you should be ashamed!
I work over in that area and I can tell you parking is very difficult with the schools and the health center and the church business. It’s been
Mentioned a lot by my co workers who have been here longer.
The neighbors should just follow the example from Gorham Avenue. They should create the Lincoln Street Historic District. This designation stopped the planned development on Gorham and it would put an end to these parking lot plans.
Of course, they would need to trade away some of their property rights.
Not likely to happen, a number of the Lincoln Street homes are owned by a developer, an historical designation is the last thing he wants.
The only defense they have is forming a local historic district and they better get moving!!! Lincoln Avenue looked at it originally when Leon Charney was planning a development…but when the threat subsided…so did the interest to form a district…had they only followed through originally…this would be a none issue.
“The chants and noise-making have died down…” Are you kidding? Try living in the neighborhood.
Bad, bad idea
It would not only be sad to gut this beautiful historic neighborhood, it would also be a shame for Westport to lose 6 units of affordable housin. I hope the neighbors can stop this development.
P&Z will say NO !
Bet on it. 🙂
I hope this application fails for many reasons. I’ll tune into the P&Z hearing on Thursday to hear the details. Thanks, Dan, for the heads-up on this. Having looked at many historic photos of Westport over the years, I can vouch for the fact that Lincoln Street truly IS special because it does retain so much of its original, turn of the century fabric.
I’ll be curious to know why Westport Health Care is now in need of additional parking – the building (once known as Mediplex) has been there for a long time and has served the same purpose/business use throughout. Are there now more patients? More staff? I’m also wondering who owns the two houses in question. Clearly the Health Care Center has been talking to the owner(s) who must be receptive to a possible sale.
Zoning changes are not easy to make so I’ll put my hopes in the difficulty of those logistics, especially when ramifications include loss of historic inventory and streetscape, commercial creep into residential areas, buffer zone issues, and affordable housing issues. Westport and the Lincoln St. community have nothing to gain from this potential zoning change. Let’s hope that our P&Z can protect this piece of Westport.
Laurence Bradley, AICP
Planning & Zoning Director
Town of Westport
The Rezoning application at 14 & 20 Lincoln Street has been WITHDRAWN!
Lincoln Street neighbors hopefully will seek the protections afforded by creating a local Historic District. Next time might be too late.
Thing is not ALL Lincoln Street neighbors want to be protected.
You can get a historic district created without the consent of all property owners. Not all property owners voted for the Gorham district.
Good to know! Thanks!
Can someone explain to me why a property owner would be against the historic district decision? What could possibly be the downside to it? I don’t understand.
Yes, only 2/3rds of property owners in a proposed HD need to vote for i. And then ultiimately a majority of the RTM need to vote for it t. Go for it. We did it for Gorham, best decision ever.
I live in a historic district….look at the statistics….properties values increase because to maintain a streetscape in perpetuity give a buyer the assurance that what they bought into and what attracted them to that particular neighborhood in the first place…ie streetscape will remain relatively the same. In the case o9f the Lincoln neighborhood….charm and some history. Defend it Lincoln neighbors and create a new district….consistent with the town plan also!
It also restricts what any potential buyer can do with the property, thereby restricing the pool of buyers and lowering housng values.
Yes it places some restrictions but that’s exactly the point…preserving streetscape…as far as impacting the property values…absolutely false and statistically wrong…do your research.
I have; land use restriction reduce property values. BTW “impact” is a noun.
Anonymous, how can I trust your other “facts” when you say that impact is only a noun? Definition of “to impact”: to have an impact or effect on; influence; alter: The decision may impact your whole career. The auto industry will be impacted by the new labor agreements.
And it’s true that there are statistics that show a beautifully restored historic district keeps property values strong.
I certainly do not profess to be an English major but I do know a thing or two about real estate. Your exceptional grasp of the English language is certainly far more impressive and knowledgeable then your grasp on real estate values…Why is it always the case that people like you feel the need to take a swipe at ones improper use of a noun…oh wait…I know…because they don’t know factual “squat” about real estate values in a historic district. I would love to know your research methodology….I know…that was a risky big word on my part. Listen…you have your views and I have mine. That’s what makes this country great. Next time…try to take the highroad and not make it so personal.
Try some empirical evidence. If you don’t understand the math, highly likely I would guess, just read the introduction and the conclusion. The support the hypothesis that land use restriction lower property values. Of course if you understood how markets cleared, you would not need to read the article.
By the way…the creation of a historic district is an enhancement…not a restriction…and unless you are texting… BTW… is poor use of the English language.
No, it is a taking. Read the article. Learn some economics.
Historical societies are always citing the statistic that historic districts enhance property values. When I researched this, I could find no root study, which leads me to believe that this is merely a feel-good, no-basis “fact”. If anyone has a reference to an economic study on historic districts, please forward it.
If districts do enhance property values, I would guess that they do so for districts that are more homogenous and have older homes. I believe that the Gorham Avenue district, which is less homogenous and contains newer homes, will prove to be a negative for property values.
Yiou prefer to ignore the data. I can understand that.
Anonymous, sorry thay I did not get to your comment until now. I was checking out Wendy’s information. Can you understand that?
As reported by the CT Trust for Historic Preservation in its CT Preservation Newslestter, a study called “Connecticut Local Historic Districts and Property Values” was conducted by Place Economics, a real estate and economic development consulting firm based in Washington D.C. The firm’s principal, Donovan Rypkema, is the nation’s leading authority on the economics of historic preservation.
The study results reported that there was no evidence that being located within a local historic district reduced residential property values. Instead, values in every local historic district studied saw average annual increases ranging from 4% to more than 19%. Additionally, in most of the historic districts studied, the value of residential properties increased at a greater rate than properties with no such protection.
Additional positive benefits were reported. You can read the entire study by going to this link:
Thanks for the reference, Wendy. I did a quick read and would advise anyone that is considering a historical district designation to read about the four CT historic districts that are detailed.
Oops, the link provided doesn’t quite take you all the way there. This will take you to the PDF:
An organizatiomn that champions takings, did their own research and discoverd that the takings do not diminish propery values. What a Surprise? On the other hand, the data presented by academics which support a different conclusion are ignored by that same organiztion; not surprising; the triumph of ideology over empirical evidence once again.
People need to understand the source whenever they are doing research. In this blog, we have one citation from the 2009 Takings Conference and another from the CT Historic District. You need to read both and filter out the BS or get less impartial research. Then you can make your own decisions.
Nothing in you VT.study references Historic Districts and increased property values. By the way… the Gorham Avenue Historic District has increased property values. Instead of 20 condos that would have driven values in that neighborhood down…five houses were built….maintaining the overall character of the neighborhood and all sold in the 1.3 -1.4million range on a quarter of an acre…and one is for sale for over 1.4m now…so I am doing the math and it adds up just fine.
Also, people that live in these districts tend to take better care of their homes. Just drive around some of our local districts and see for yourself.
Sigh! The subject was takings. Deed restrictions are takings and were discussed in the article. Setting up a Historic Dustrict is a taking; hence the relevance of the article.
Why are you talking to yourself?
Why are you talking back?
Because I Can!
I understand what takings are genius…but also realize that this does not apply to Historic Districts…do your research…your referenced report does not take into account specific situations…like Historic Districts… Now, I have allowed you to “take” enough of my time on this subject.
A taking by any other name is a taking.
This whole exchange is rather confusing with the similar “Anonymous” labels. At least create a pseudonym.
And don’t worry about Wrecker. Wrecker is a bloated, grumpy old fool.
Takes one to know one…………
Ok…I have gone from anonymous….to lover of Historic Districts…. Hope that clears up any future confusionuu
It’s about time.