Private Lot! Keep Out!

Sure, 36 Church Lane is a private building — with a private parking lot.

But the owners — who have posted several stern signs, warning that anyone parking there for the (Spotted Horse) restaurant next door will be towed — might take a lesson from Mitchells.

That store always offers its lot for Sakura overflow. And the nearby Conservative Synagogue, on holidays.

I understand “No Parking” during business hours. (The Mitchells lot is a lot larger than 36 Church Lane.)

But at night and weekends, when the lot is empty?

And isn’t the chain stretched across the entrance a bit much?

36 Church Lane, Westport CT

116 responses to “Private Lot! Keep Out!

  1. Un-generous. Disappointing.

    • Maybe the owners of the Spotted Horse should offer compensation in return for permission to have their patrons park in the private lot.

  2. Westporter since 1970


  3. Babette d'Yveine

    There’s a municipal lot right across the street. Don’t people walk any more?

    • The Gunn House could be torn down for a parking lot. Then the Spotted Horse customers would not have to walk all the way to the municipal lot. 😉

  4. U. Zooelly N. Trouble

    Quit jumping the Gunn!!!! This is my rifle and this is my Gunn. This is for shooting and this is for FUN!

  5. Roger Leifer has enough parking all over town…surely he doesn’t need to be so snarky and put a chain across the parking lot at 36 Church? Also wondering about all the cars now parked at Wild Pear now that it is closed…that is supposed to be parking for Wild Pear customers only!!

  6. Westport Delight

    Dan. Are you suggesting that the rights of private property owners don’t exist anymore? Good thing you don’t own any private property. Oh, but wait, you must own your condo. Right? Or do you rent? If you own, I cannot imagine you’d be OK with people parking their asses in your living room so that they can use the free wireless coming from the Playhouse. Same exact situation, more or less. Right? Cool.

    • Asshole

      • Name calling so not necessary- walk by there a lot. There are no assigned parking places-am sure cars will park all over with no regard to blocking each other. There are two restaurants next to each other. Both will start to use small private lot. Spotted is Great- Love It!!! lots of goodies to drink and eventually someone will drive right into building. There is not that much space. And many of us do work on weekends and evenings. Mitchells lot is way bigger and none of the spaces are near the building. Really hard to compare. They have set hours. Evenings are always available and there is parking for Sakura so its only the extras. Its good to see pros and cons. Its probably much safer for all to use lot by Jesup Green and municipal lot.

  7. If it was my property I would do the same thing. I also doubt that Mitchell’s allows the Sakura parking without some sort of agreement in writing that at very least documents liability, and maybe even compensation.

    Terms like Attractive Nuisance and Adverse Possession exist for a reason. That’s why real estate lawyers get paid the big bucks.

  8. People walk from Winslow Park across our lawn all the time. With their dogs.

    • But you dont let them park on your lawn, do you? Or in your parking garage?

      • Nope. But next door, the Westport Country Playhouse allows parking for dog owners for Winslow Park (whenever there’s not a show). They don’t have to do it — but they do. They’re just being good neighbors.

        • Babette d'Yveine

          The difference is, Dan, that there isn’t a municipal lot near Winslow Park, although I’m sure many dog owners use the Compo strip mall lots. As I said before, the Spotted Horse is across the street from a municipal lot. The Horse is a lively, loud watering hole, and maybe the owner of 36 Church doesn’t want people leaving there after imbibing a few and causing problems.

          • Yes, there is a municipal lot for Winslow Park. It’s off North Compo, close to the Post Road.That’s the town parking lot for Winslow Park. The Playhouse graciously allows their lot to be used, too.

            • Westport Delight

              What do YOU offer to the strangers in the area as an example of being a good, kind neighbor???

              • Thomas Gallagher

                What do you offer on this blog? All out of your keyboard is hate. “Delight” is the worst call name ever.

        • I’m guessing after the first lawsuit, WCO’s graciousness will evaporate. Or maybe if their liability insurance goes up if their insurer hears they are allowing this use of their property.

  9. Jamie Walsh

    He could set up a car valet service or assign it at night to an operator. Better jest urge and a little pocket change to boot!

  10. find a legal parking spot and walk, you will burn a few calories, good for your heart, lungs and ass. If you park far enough away, you will have less guilt when you order dessert.

  11. It is private property; why should the owner permit free use of his property? Doesn’t anyone in Westport respect property rights?

  12. Ah but then again aren’t we living in the land of Obamaville, share and share alike?

    • No, in Obamaville we confiscate, we do not share.

      • Please Explain

        Do you have specific examples of the current President confiscating private property? I would really like to know about this. Are you referring to Eminent Domain? But that isn’t “confiscation” because the Fifth amendment requires the government to provide just compensation for the acquisition of private property. The use of Eminent Domain is not something newly employed by Federal, State, or Local government. It has been in use for more than a century.
        Has the current administration seized private property without just compensation? If so, when and where?

        • The More You Know

          Anyone who thinks Obama is a socialist really hasn’t been paying attention or is too enmeshed in their tribal identity to make informed judgements on ideology.

          • Obama is not a socialist, he is a Stalinist. He claims he has the right to kill Americans without due process.

            • Gary Singer

              WAIT, THAT WAS BUSH WASN’T IT?

              • No. Actually, Obama has authorized more drone attacks on innocent civilians than any president before him.

                • Gary Singer

                  WC. just how many drone attacks preceded Obama? That’s like saying
                  “Obama has started more wars than any other black president?”

                  • A record that should make him proud. Bush did not authorize the killing of US citizens without due process on US soil.

                    • Anonymous,
                      Has anyone been killed by a drone on US soil? If so, when, where, and who was it? The President commands the US Nuclear arsenal, does that mean that Mr. Obama has deployed nuclear weapons? Just because AG Holder says the President has the authority to deploy drones in US airspace does not mean that it happened. So by your statement Presidents Obama and Bush have the same record regarding this subject.

                    • Droning: No they do not. Bush never claimed he had the authority to kill Americans on US soil without due process. Can you see the difference.

                    • Obama didn’t either. Big mouth Holder made the comment that he was not sure “drone attacks would be limited to overseas.” Considering Bush, et. al. lied about WMD to get us into war with Iraq, your argument is amazing sophomoric.

                    • Ennui: The sophomoric arena is yours alone. Attacking Bush cannot be a defense of Obama. Obama claims the right to kill American on American soil without due process. You have not defended that claim. You can’t.

                    • We would not be having this discussion if W hadn’t led us down the deceitful path into Iraq. Drones save American lives. Do you really think John Wayne McCain or Willard would not be using such devices??? Grow up. You hate the Black guy in the White House more so than you care about innocent children.

                    • Ennui: Drones take innocent lives. The Bush argument is pure nonsense. Obama has been president for over 4 years. The Buck stops with Obama. If you can’t defend Obama’s taking of innocent lives and his claim that he has the right to kill Americans on American soil without due process, admit as much. So far you have not offered any defense of Obama’s actions.

                    • AG Holder made the proclamation that drones could kill Americans on this soil. ’44 has never endorsed it or it been tested in Congress or the courts. You are merely making a cheap shot on a dumb remark. If drones end these stupid wars overseas, begun by W and not Obama, sooner than later, then I am all for it. I am not sure the 911 terrorists were really worried about innocent children when they “bombed” us. War sucks, anonymous, perhaps you ought to visit a combat zone?

                    • Ennui: After four years, they are Obama’s wars.

                • I wonder how many US troops the drones have saved???

                  • I wonder how many innocent children the drones have killed.

                    • Then you probably have never been to war. Shit happens when you fight senseless wars. But if it is gonna hit the fan, I would much rather it them then our troops.

                    • Leif: We are not at war? When was it declared? Against whom was it declared? Why is Obama killing children in Pakistan?

                    • Jason Leif Waggner

                      The War on Terror was declared after 911 which gives the President powers to use any such means to end it. And Obama is doing that. Why Pakistan children are dying? Why did innocent children die in Cambodia or My Lai. War sucks is why.

                    • There has beenno declaration of war. The war is a figment of your imagination and that of the politicians who need this “war” to further their ambitions.

                    • Jason Leif Waggner

                      The good ole USA has not formally declared war since WWII but we certainly fought in Korea, Vietnam and elsewhere via resolutions sanctioned by Congress. The 2002 Iraq Resolution allowed for its invasion. If you don’t think we are at WAR, you are part of the problem in ending it. Bring back the draft, gas rationing and a hefty income tax and sure enough, we will end them soon. With more private contractors in Afghanistan than troops, it is Corporate America who is ambitious. War is big business. Our puppet politicians are just satisfying their donors.

                    • Leif: you have no defense of Obama’s policies so try the old left two step.

          • Obama is a Fabian.

            • John McCarthy

              Wasn’t that the guy on Happy Days? I just love the random assigning of labels to people……Dan, you should do a feature on the Judean’s People Front to see where people stand…..

        • The current administration seizes wealth which is private property. Eminent domain is the confiscation of private property.

        • “Just compensation”; now there’s a good joke. “Just” according to whom?

  13. How about all the GM bondholders in favor of the unions

    • Please Explain

      54% of the bondholders agreed to support the bankruptcy plan. They could have elected to fight in court (remember we have the judiciary to represent our interests if we think we are being treated unfairly). The deal swapped the debt for equity. In addition to that, the bondholders were given warrants for additional equity. In 2009 the bondholders were to realize about 10 cents on the dollar. By 2011, with the additional warrants the bondholders were realizing 30-40% return. We can only speculate on what the bondholders would have recovered had the bankruptcy been handled differently.

      Oh I forget, in this day in age speculation and truth are one and the same.

  14. I bet this is the result of too many lawyers willing to sue over any infraction. Many lots in Florida (condos) post ‘trespass’ warnings. Those who trespass and have an accident,will sue and guess what? They often prevail on obscure grounds. The cost to the association can be great and now, the greedy insurance companies will raise the rates for the property owners. eg: I live on the 9th floor and my mortgage company demands that I have ‘flood insurance’. Were we humans more gving and fair(plus tort reform), incidents like this would not occur.

  15. Westport Delight

    This is just another example of Dan Woog pushing his political agenda in a town that he feels owes him something because he does community service work, runs this blog, and serves as the unofficial commissioner for neighborhood kindness.

    Dan, it’s called private property for a reason. Helllooo???? Wake up. Take your eyes off and get real.

  16. Compo Old Timer

    Call me crazy and hateful and negative if you must, but Westport Delight has a point. It is communicated in an incredibly convoluted and nasty way. But it doesn’t change the basic sentiment. It is one thing to promote good neighborly behavior and community cheer and kindness, which Dan really is great at. And for that, the town is grateful for him! I sure am. But on the flip side, Dan knows all too well that Westport has turn into lawsuit city. We cannot begin to assume, guess, or imagine Roger Leifer’s intentions behind this drastic move. Whether it is due to his fear of liability and lawsuits — as a real estate investor, I understand it — or not is rather irrelevant. It comes down to the basic principle of private property. Just because someone wants to protect what is rightfully theirs doesn’t mean they are a mean, cold, or cruel person. Mr. Liefer is incredibly generous and charitable and gives back to the community in many different ways. Dan, I thought you would know better than to jump to conclusions. And, again, I say it doesn’t matter. Because at the end of the day, he privately owns that lot and property. He pays the taxes and the insurance. Done and done. Simple as that.

    • What has Roger Liefer done for Westport?

      • Paid his taxes. What else does he need to do?

      • A simple and direct answer to your question is this:
        He has invested in commercial real estate in Westport.
        I was recently in one of his buildings. The building and grounds were well maintained and my vendor had recently relocated to his building. Landlords provide a service which is integral to bringing goods and services to our community. Had my vendor not found commercial space in Westport that was desirable (has to meet the requirements of the tenant at a reasonable price) perhaps I would have been traveling to an adjoining community to spend my money.

        Just because the services provided do not directly benefit you, does not mean that the community does not derive a benefit from said services.

        As for all the parking lot discussion: the landlord may have been responding to meet the needs of the tenants. The tenants needs are first and foremost as they are the customer. We have no idea what the terms of the lease the tenants have with the landlord. They may have negotiated exclusive use of the parking at all times.

        • Huh! If the “community” derives benefits, then the community should pay for the benefits. The only obligation a taxpayer has, is to pay taxes. If there are externalities, the “community” should pick up the tab. In this case, the benefits accrue most directly to commercial establishments near the parking facilities, maybe they should see if there is a market clearing price to rent the facilities.

          • I don’t understand your comment.
            I was merely pointing out that we all (that is those of us in this community) benefit if commercial properties are available for merchants, service providers, or any other business. In addition to tax revenues paid by the property owner there are countless ways Westport residents benefit from Mr. Leifer’s business.
            I was responding to “What?”‘s question.
            How should the community “pick up the tab” and for what?

            I didn’t suggest that the parking be used by anyone other than those who have dealings with the merchant, the merchant, or the landowner.

            • What did you mean by this statement? I thought you were suggesting that the owner should offer up the space for the benefit of the community.

              “Just because the services provided do not directly benefit you, does not mean that the community does not derive a benefit from said services.”

              • “What” asked, “What has Roger Liefer done for Westport?”
                It seemed to me that Mr. Liefer has made a considerable investment in our community and that there are myriad ways we all (including “What”) benefit directly or indirectly from that investment. Isn’t making an investment in our community “doing” something for Westport? That is all I was trying to demonstrate.

  17. I was reacting to the comment about Liefer’s generosity and charitable contributions made by “Compo old timer”.
    As long as he pays his fair share of taxes.

    • Compo Old Timer

      Perhaps I know Roger and his family. Perhaps I know what charitable causes he supports. Are you intimately familiar with how he chooses to spend and donate his money? Or are you just looking to stir the pot?

      Furthermore, “So What…” is correct. He loves this town (OK, maybe not as much as Dan) and it shows in his investments. He’s paying taxes on all the buildings while trying to bring more business here. I don’t care what you do with your private parking lot if you’re bringing $$ into the town. That’s the money the town needs.

      • Babette d'Yveine

        I don’t care what you do with your private parking lot whether you’re bringing $$ into the town or not. It’s your lot — your’e not obligated to open it to the world.

        • Amen. Take note Dan

        • Compo Old Timer

          Babette, yes. I am on your side. I agree with that statement.

        • Arthur Champlin, Esq.

          The guy is a prick. He will stare you down if you even turnaround in his sacred parking area. Too many pricks here already. Thanks Dan for revealing the new versus the old Westport.

          • Compo Old Timer

            Then you should consider leaving our town. As an ‘oldtimer,’ I’m ashamed of your stubborn attitude.

            Society evolves…towns change…new people move in…(really) old people move out. That’s life. I’ll stay here until I die and I’ll continue to embrace and love this town. It’s how you interact with these people and how view them that makes your experience in Westport what it is. You cannot control who moves in, who starts a business here, who chooses to actually take advantage of their private property rights.

            If we were able to control this town, our generation would still be living in a desolate 1950s artist colony on the east coast, which I love. But we’re not rural Vermont. We are a modern New England society, only an hour away from NYC, and we house some of the wealthiest people in this country. That’s how it goes. Deal with it, Mr. Champlin.

            And as for your claims about Roger, I refute that and suggest you get your facts straight. Perhaps your resentment stems from a deal gone bad? One where you lost and your client suffered as a result? Just a thought.

            • AC Esq. wants something for nothing. I wonder how he bills out his hours.

            • Before your time . . .

              Your recollection of the 50’s forgets that we had many of the wealthiest people living here then as well and we didn’t have more computing to this town than to NYC. Westport was hardly a desolate artist colony in the 50’s and hardly a modern New England town now. It has the same blueprint downtown with less people and more cars. You best take your dementia medicine, Old Timer.

              • Compo Old Timer

                As someone who has been in Westport since the 1950’s, I stand by the comment. Although I did speak in too many generalities and for that, I do apologize. I’ll have to work on that. Oops.

          • Arthur, you shouldn’t be turning around in the driveway. It’s a one way street.

  18. So he pays his legal obligation in taxes. Commentors here say that should be enough. That’s the minimum in our society. You have to pay taxes or you go to jail. people start businesses to make money. An outcome is jobs and more taxable income for society. There is no extra service to Westport.

    • Compo Old Timer

      That is certainly part of it. Again, he does much more than that. He invests in this town…he is generously charitable…and so on. But you don’t care about any of that. Do you

      • Staples '66

        I’ve been around here since the 50’s, there Old Timer and we didn’t put chains to keep people out back then unless it was to keep out the New Yorkers who only seem to care about taxes and money. Ouch, that rings a bell throughout this thread.

        • What is it about the concept of private property that confuses you?

          • The church property is “private” and they don’t put chains all over it and instead, let people park their in off hours. Actually, since this particular property allows a walk way to Main Street, the town probably has easement rights and thus, most likely it is not strictly private.

            • Compo Old Timer

              Since when is Mr. Liefer expected to adhere to the same in-kind parking guidelines as the church?

            • Irrelevant.

            • Why not? Being that he is such a great Westporter and all, you would think he would welcome people being able to park in his unoccupied lot at night. Good for the ole Westport economy and all that . . . rah, rah! Might even lower his tax burden?

              • Peace Out, Wepo

                That doesn’t make any sense at all. He is still going to pay the same insurance and taxes on that private property, regardless of who from the general public is unlawfully using that space at night (or in the daylight, for that matter). I believe, ma’am or sir, that you are just speaking out of your ass. Typical of Westport. That’s why I moved!!!

    • Should there be any “extra service” to Westport?

    • Hey “What?”,
      This entire thread is based on crazy speculation. Do you know why the lot was closed to public use during the evening hours? In addition to the reasons already mentioned I can think of others. Maybe people were using the lot for overnight parking and then overstaying their welcome into the business hours of tenants. Maybe the people who used the lot at night were leaving trash so that the tenants had to clean up every morning.

      But all of this is mere speculation and so I find it difficult to understand why you, among others, are so hellbent on putting this man in the public stocks.

      Your statement above makes me think you have never been anywhere else. Have you ever been to an area where people have stopped investing in the community? Yes, it is his business and one hopes he makes a profit from it, but it is no different than the much loved auto mechanics mentioned a few weeks back. They provide a service and they are compensated for it. Should the garage owners be pilloried because they do not make their garage and tools available at night for free for those who wish to make repairs after hours?

      One last thought: If I owned a restaurant and my clientele had difficulty parking at night I would make an effort to find and make arrangements for parking. Does anyone know if the management of the Spotted Horse has made inquiries for the use of this private property? Why is the onus put on Mr. Liefer to anticipate the needs and solve the problems for other businesses?

      • Babette d'Yveine

        Mr. or Ms. “So What” — In response to your last paragraph — I have said a couple of times earlier in this thread that there is a Municipal parking lot across the street from the Spotted Horse. A very large parking lot. It is a very short walk from this lot to the restaurant. Why should anyone find this so difficult that they have to attack Mr. Liefer for not keeping his driveway open?

        • Compo Old Timer

          Because it’s Westport, Babette. Because, if you notice, it’s all of the lackeys who support Dan’s philosophies and ideas that are complaining. Because Dan believes what is yours is his and what is his is yours, I guess. The very basic concept of private ownership is lost on Dan.

          • Babette d'Yveine

            Mr. Compo O.T. — As a flaming knee-jerk, bleeding-heart Liberal (and proud of it), I have to say I generally agree with most of “Dan’s philosophies.” My major squawk is with people who won’t walk a couple of hundred feet from the parking lot to the restaurant and expect the driveway next door to remain open for their convenience.

            • Compo Old Timer

              So you have no regard for the very basic principle of private ownership?

          • Dan and Babs are takers. They take from people they don’t like and give what they have taken to those they do like. It’s called redistribution.

  19. I believe in personal property rights and that owners have the right to limit access and close the driveway. That’s NOT my bone of contention. See my first post. I was just reacting to the comment about giving back to the town beyond taxes.

    I’m an entrepreneur and have started several successful and profitable businesses. I hired employees, paid all of the taxes I was required. I shouldn’t get kudos for that. I did it to earn income. Yes I felt good when my employees took out mortgages and bought homes based on the income and confidence in my company. But I don’t deserve any accolades for it and so shouldn’t anyone else.

    • Compo Old Timer

      As I have stated in this post several times, I have known Roger for many years. I’m familiar with his charitable generosity. Are you? You seem to know more than you’re letting on. If you have some vendetta against Roger, come clean and let’s hear it.

  20. Here’s my favorite Roger story…
    Almost 20 years ago, my client leased space in a building that would be shortly sold. My commission was $100 grand, not yet paid by the current owner. Roger bought the building, asked me if I’d been paid, and suggested I collect before the transfer of title because my commission wasn’t included in his deal. I got the runaround from the Atlanta owner, so I told Roger. Next day Atlanta calls me to say the checks are enroute to Stamford for pickup tomorrow…asks me how I know Roger. Told them we are both Westporter’s…he replies, “That explains it.” Come to find out Roger had told them:
    1. Pay Feeley
    2. Deduct the commission so Roger could pay me.
    3. Or no deal
    Roger didn’t have to do a damn thing…and I didn’t ask…so in my book, Roger’s a mensch.

  21. So you were paid what you were owed

    • Peace Out, Wepo

      If it were up to Obama, you’d only be paid about 30% of what you were owed (or what you rightfully earned)

  22. This thread has outlived its usefulness. It’s now closed.