Partying With The CWP

Over 40 Westporters are planning Westport’s next party.

Before you get too excited, though: It’s a political party, not a kegger.

The group — including Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters — has filed papers in Hartford for official recognition. The name of the party is Coalition for Westport.

Michael Nayor

Michael Nayor

Former Planning and Zoning Commission member David Press, and former P&Z alternate and RTM member Michael Nayor, lead the process.

They believe that town government — particularly the P&Z — is “more focused on preservation than looking forward,” says Nayor, an attorney and Westport resident since 1977.

Though the coalition “values the past, and all the wonderful things about Westport, we can’t ignore enhancing and improving what we have,” he adds.

Despite several studies, and ongoing work by the Downtown 2020 committee, Nayor says “no one is taking the ball and running with it. The town has to be proactive, not just reactive, when something comes before the P&Z.”

Asked for specific examples of projects the CWP supports or opposes, such as an eldercare facility on Baron’s South, Nayor says, “We don’t have an agenda. We don’t have a stand yet.”

The entrance to the Baron's South property -- one of many Westport planning issues.

The Baron’s South property: one of many Westport planning issues.

Will the new party address issues beyond planning? What about budgets?

“Save Westport Now” — another Westport party — “focuses solely on planning and zoning,” Nayor counters. “We will focus on that too. But I think we have a more positive view of improving and enhancing the facilities here. I’m aware of what Save Westport Now opposes. I don’t really know what they favor.”

So what does the CWP favor?

“Give us time,” Nayor asks. “We’re a fledgling organization. Save Westport Now has been around for 30 years. Our primary focus is to support real public dialogue of issues, and make residents more aware of what’s going on.”

An aerial view of downtown Westport. It occupies a small section of town, but looms large in planning debates.

An aerial view of downtown Westport. It occupies a small section of town, but looms large in planning debates.

This fall, the party will run 1 or 2 candidates for the P&Z. If any one receives more than 1% of the vote, the CWP will be allowed to cross-endorse candidates in the next election.

“We’re very excited,” says Nayor. “We hope to be very influential. Town government can’t just react to applications that come in. It has to guide, through planning, where Westport will be 10, 20 years from now. No more kicking the can down the road.”

(For more information on the Coalition for Westport, click here.)

11 responses to “Partying With The CWP

  1. Bart Shuldman

    If you don’t have a ‘stand yet’ than what is your agenda? How are you different than any party in town if you cannot articulate your position on any issue in town? How do you develop your position?

  2. Jamie Walsh

    Right on Bart! Let’s see which way the wind blows on this one. To come out and slam Save Westport Now and the current P&Z without even firming up an agenda is certainly “fledgling”… At least we know their stand is to support real dialogue with a fledgling position and attitude.

  3. Matthew Mandell

    Well you two certainly said it already. What I think is missing here, is that the current new members of the P&Z, backed by Save Westport Now, were swepted into office specifically because the P&Z that was in charge was out of touch with what the people wanted. That was protection of what we had and not unbridled development.

    So without an agenda and just throwing stones without specifics what are we to think? Is this the New Parking Garage party? Are they to support buildings in downtown over 40 feet? That’s where we were just 18 months ago, are we to have that agenda dominate our P&Z again? Is this party willing to accept RTM oversight. Are sewers now to be above the blue line? Oh the questions go on an on……..

    And what about 20/20 which they so clearly support? What if P&Z and 20/20 work out a way to work together, (appointed and elected), they just had their first meeting together last week. Such a relationship would make this new party moot.

    Bottom line, I have no problem with another party, its democracy in action. And one dealing with how our town is shaped certainly sends a message that planning is on the forefront of residents minds and is something to embrace.

  4. Jamie Walsh

    As an independent, I have always embraced 3rd party dark horses, but ones that hold not only an opinion …but potential solutions that embrace cooperation and are inclusive of everyone. Starting out of the gate by attacking any rival party just seems like more of the same ole crap! Oh and full disclosure… I did support The Save Westport Now line for the current P&Z… and I am still confident in my decision to do so.

  5. Matthew Mandell

    And so far the 4 elected have done a good job. The entire tone and feel of the P&Z is less combative and actually more open to discussion, and they are also highly aware of why they were chosen. They responded immediately to the need to adjust height in the wake of Sandy to allow houses in flood areas to adjust to the FEMA rules. They have put together a traffic and parking sub committee looking at issues there. And have created new regs, just about to be heard, on parking issues. Issues related to the death on Post Road created by parking problems at Shake Shack. And they are meeting to find a common ground with 20/20.

    Now if you read this new party’s mission, which is about vision and flexibility, there are some missing pieces. Open Space, Historic preservation and town character. These things are clear in the 2007 Town Plan, why not a nod to these? Not everything is grand list and commercial expansion and all the indirect problems associated. What’s the use of vision if you can’t see trees.

  6. If you plan to retire to Sarasota Florida, we have the exact same situation. A national ‘bubble’?

  7. David Stalling

    Thus far the party seems pretty reactive and lacking in meaningful dialogue for a group claiming to be proactive and promoting “real public dialogue of issues.” I hope they come around and can be a good, positive influence on the future of Westport.

  8. Phil Perlah

    I hope Ron Corwin runs for re-election. Maybe he can explain what he meant when he said (in connection with an application to re-zone the National Hall property): “people gave money and contributed to us to get these things done.”

    • Bart Shuldman

      Let us not forget that Ron Corwins wife, using her maiden name, applying for a ZBA right before he tried to have the P&Z vote on a more restrictive regulation. What he thought was good for Westport (and what could have caused some residents declines in their home values) clearly was not what he wanted for himself.

    • John McCarthy

      There has never been a good explanation for that one……At least I haven’t heard it….

  9. I would hope that a new political organization would have an ideology to begin with instead of a bunch of disgruntled yappers. We already have that in Washington.