P&Z Shuts Door On Senior Housing Proposal

By a 6-1 vote, the Planning & Zoning Commission defeated text amendment 677 last night.

The controversial proposal would have permitted senior housing to be built on the Baron’s South property, between South Compo Road and Imperial Avenue.

Much of the discussion centered on whether Westport residents would be guaranteed units in the complex; if those on fixed or lower incomes would benefit from it, and whether the text amendment would allow increased housing density on other town-owned properties.

Artist's rendering of housing at Baron's South. Last night, the Planning & Zoning Commission defeated the

Artist’s rendering of housing at Baron’s South. Last night, the Planning & Zoning Commission defeated the proposal.

13 responses to “P&Z Shuts Door On Senior Housing Proposal

  1. Athena Ploumis bradley

    Good It’s about time our officials think of Westport first before the hungry developers !!!

  2. The way this was heading would have benefitted very few…if any…Westport seniors!

  3. The P&Z Commission vote was both courageous and correct as the proposed amendment was an ill conceived request to amend town regulations for what would have amounted to a spot zone on town owned property with no real benefit to the town. As one of the commissioners bluntly stated, and I paraphrase, those who were responsible for putting forward the amendment professed scare tactics with threats of disaster for Westporters where none existed and where promises were made that could not be guaranteed. Let’s hope that the proponents can re-propose an acceptable solution for a better use or town owned properties.

  4. Ann Marie Flynn

    Yea! Congratulations. Well done.

  5. I will take the side that it is too bad we did not move forward.

    Now the original text amendment was ill conceived and would have left us with a senior living building that few would have been able to use. There is a real asset test that people would never have passed. And there was nothing for the town in giving away the land.

    Then came the new team-all 3 Selectman who tried to turn it into a win win for the town. Seniors would have a place to go, the senior center improved with pools, etc and the town would collect is due taxes. The fact that some don’t like developers clearly comes across. But the town would have made out best.

    However the best thing about this is the fact that the town spoke up. Different opinions drive decisions with everyone thinking the best for Westport. The process worked. And those that were not in favor should feel good the process delivered for them.

    I congratulate all that decided to get involved. Shelley had her goal and so did Steve Daniels. They worked hard on behalf of people they cared about. Some worked hard to stop it. I did at the beginning because giving town land away made no sense.

    But overall the town won. Because people came together to debate a project that would effect our town for a very long time.

    Congrats to Weatport. And congress to those that worked to stop it.

  6. David J. Loffredo

    Well written Bart….

    As conceived I thought this was a good idea (although if you wanted a nice pool / partnership with the Senior Center – a new centrally located YMCA was also a fine choice….) however it was poorly executed and continually bastardized to the point where it took the courage of the P&Z to say that enough was enough.

    I support the concept of Westport Seniors occupying our donated public space. I support the concept of using our scarce public land to thwart the continued 8-30g threat.

    What I don’t like is loopholes….can’t guarantee Westport occupants if we need Federal money which we need if we keep the 8-30g credit affordable level at 60% instead of 20%. And then oh by the way, we don’t want this to count towards our multi-housing density calculation?

    If the math doesn’t work, the math doesn’t work. Selling the public one thing and then trying to deliver another was doing us all a disservice and I’m glad someone in this Town had the courage to stand up and put an end to it, well done.

    PS – If the Seniors want a pool there’s a lovely one at the new YMCA, I’m sure if we leverage our underutilized public transit system it could be win/win/win for all parties.

  7. Most communities would kill for a large block of centrally located open space like Barons South. Much to my chagrin, ours has never been one of them. I made my peace with that years ago. Sort of. Having said that, the people who helped craft and support the Barons South Senior Housing proposal are obviously decent and I feel badly for them. While it is literally pointless to advocate for the preservation of that beautiful open space, I will say this: many of us who reside in the downtown area know full well how serious the issue of increasing density has become. We live it every day.

  8. Gene Cederbaum

    It is unfortunate and shortsighted for the P&Z to have voted down the text amendment which would have allowed senior housing on the Baron South property. It’s action compromises the well-being of Westport’s senior community and is contrary to prior actions of the P&Z which allowed the building of the new library, the use of Green Farm El for senior residence and in general a progressive responses to the changing needs of our community.
    I hope that there will be an opportunity for the P&Z to reconsider this question and move ahead in a positive manner.

  9. Stephanie Bass

    Open land — great, but the only use that Westporters have had from the Baron’s South land is as a warehouse for holding book donations during the year for the library’s summer book sale. I like to call it the world’s most expensive closet. The numbers may not have worked for this plan, but expanding senior housing options is a great idea. Deversified effective use of our open land should be looked at as an overall goal, and not necessarily every open space benefitting everyone. i don’t have a dog but don’t mind if yours poops in that fancy park. We gotta share…

  10. Michael Calise

    What has been overlooked in this process is that there are many free enterprise solutions to solving housing needs which do not require ongoing government management

  11. Well said Michael!

  12. My wish is our Selectpersons use this as an opportunity to study what happen over such a long period and the time and money wasted. Like many I am in favor of senior housing options but have been opposed to this project from the start. The key to solving any “problem” is to clearly identify the problem to be solved and then measure/evaluate the possible solutions against that definition. In this case there were to many twists and turns, hidden agendas and lose of focus. I hope we can learn and do better next time.