Public Protest Dooms Proposed Post Plaza Plan

Some powerful voices roared last night, as the Zoning Board of Appeals considered an application for a new entrance/exit from the Post Plaza Shopping Center onto South Morningside Drive.

The proposed driveway — referred to by some proponents as a benign-sounding “curb cut” — would be built directly opposite the Green’s Farms Elementary School bus exit. Hundreds of area residents fought the idea, citing safety concerns.

The main entrance and exit for Post Plaza Shopping Center. The entrance and exit would be at the rear, on South Morningside Drive.

The main entrance and exit for Post Plaza Shopping Center. The entrance and exit would be at the rear, on South Morningside Drive.

Opponents included State Senator John McKinney, who represents Green’s Farms in Hartford, and presumably had other things to do — hours earlier, he announced he’s running for governor.

First selectman candidate Jim Marpe also blasted the proposal.

But some of the strongest words belonged to Joan Constantikes. In 1971 she helped lead the original fight against an entrance/exit there — before construction of the shopping center even began.

Calling the design “selfish and aggrandizing, which would endanger the entire neighborhood,” the octogenarian said (in a letter read by RTM member Dewey Loselle):

It is never too late to do the right thing, and the same issues exist now as existed back then: Do you put the desires of a business group before the needs and safety of school children?  I sincerely hope that the kinds of people who joined our cause back then will come to the fore again, and that right will prevail.

More than 4 decades after she began, Joan Constantikes still battles for children.

And still wins.

The ZBA denied the application.


6 responses to “Public Protest Dooms Proposed Post Plaza Plan

  1. Michael Calise

    As is often the case before then ZBA the applicant was carrying a bag of air!

  2. Thank you to our Green’s Farms neighbors and other interested parties and especially Joan Constantikes. Well-said. Good job ZBA.

  3. Dewey Loselle

    Many thanks to the ZBA for doing the right thing last night and thanks to all those who stepped up to show leadership and common sense. Thanks to Dan for helping get the word out! Good government and a vibrant democracy requires an informed and always vigilent citizenry.

    A big thanks to Joan Constantikes who showed the way so many years ago and is still engaged. She followed the debate from NC last night via steaming web cast from Town Hall! She wrote me this morning and this is what she had to say which I want to share with everyone.

    “Hi Dewey–Bravisus Spartiati, as we say in Greek. Thanks for allowing me to be a small part of this victory.I am indeed happy and feel vindicated for the hours, days and months we put into this effort so many years ago. Right did prevail–again. “Best, Joan

  4. Thank you, Joan. We’ve always known that you were a force with which to be reckoned! And luckily for the likes of me, you STILL are! Don’t know where I’d be in this world if it weren’t for you.

    I’ve been in and out of that shopping center since the mid-70s, times I took my sister’s little kids (van der Veens, now grown, of course) to the Post Cinema; we never felt it was a hardship to use the exits and entrances as they are now. Putting in a new access still would not tell you whether there would be a parking spot in front of Angelina’s!

    Dewey — I loved your typo. I bet it really was a “steaming” webcast!

  5. John F. Suggs

    Thanks Dan for this great story. Your blogs reach really is where Westport meets the world!

    Joan’s out of the blue phone call as a result of your blog and her follow-up letter to the ZBA was remarkable! I am so glad that our community has been able to recall and honor her valiant work as well as that of her late husband George D. Constantikes and so many of the others involved in the original fight to do “the right thing” 42 years ago. As Joan would be the first to admit – her partner in crime in all this truly was her late husband George. Not only was he a member of the RTM “back in the day” but in the Summer of 1964, he was one of only four CT Lawyers to go to Mississippi, defending and protecting the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the lives and safety of civil rights workers. What a couple! So here is to the two of them, Joan and George – true Westporters now and forever!

  6. Hooray for you Joan! As we are no longer Westporters we still care what happens in that wonderful town. Joan & I lived right near each other off of S. Morningside Drive & were also classmates. Of course the children of Greens Farms School come first over any group of stores. ZBA please use common sense in your decision. Seems in today’s world that has been lost.