Open Space — For Buses?

Yesterday — as noted on WestportNow — the town’s School Bus Task Force toured Baron’s South. The town is exploring ways to save the $250,000 we spend each year leasing space from Dattco, on Post Road East across from Playhouse Square.

Meanwhile, tomorrow (Thursday, December 18, 2 p.m., Town Hall Room 201), the Planning and Zoning Commission’s open space subcommittee meets. They’ll discuss rezoning certain areas of town as — you guessed it — open space.

One example: Baron’s South. Right now, Winslow Park — across the Post Road, on Compo North — is zoned as open space. But Baron’s South is considered residential.

That means the town could sell it. A housing project could be built there.

Or it could be used for bus parking.

The P&Z open space meeting is open to the public. No word on whether School Bus Task Force members will also attend.

Part of the Baron's South property.

Part of the Baron’s South property.

14 responses to “Open Space — For Buses?

  1. Can’t you just see all the pretty yellow buses scattered among the trees? mmm

  2. I moved to Westport in 1949. I and my family lived there until a bit more than 8 years ago, when we moved to Black Rock’s St Mary’s neighborhood in Bridgeport. Having such a long history with Westport and knowing how it’s grown over the years, I look back on all the opportunities we had to retire open space for purposes just like this bus parking lot requirement. We never planned for it. We’d had so many chances but we were more interested in commercial or residential development. Now, when we need space, we look to that gem of an in-town property – to park big yellow busses. Would that we had other options.
    On the same topic of space and its best use:
    The fact that Westport will soon have no hotel, no motel, no inn within its borders is, sad to say, short-sighted thinking. With the conversion of the Westport Inn property to yet more condo-type development, Westport loses yet another important community facility, a place near to all, a place on the Post Road, where folks can put up their visiting family members,, business associates, or whomever.
    Where to go?
    To Southport, to Norwalk, but not to Westport.
    Profit motive, I understand. Private property. I understand.
    But not the best planning for a community need.

  3. I’ve seen many school buses parked at the lot on Imperial Avenue, behind the Westport Woman;s Club. Isn’t there enough room for all of them? And isnt that lot owned by the town?

  4. Oh, excellent, more impervious surface. All those stupid trees are such a buzz kill anyway.

  5. Wow. I wonder how Avi Kaner would feel that we might have traded housing for our Westport seniors for yellow buses? Is there a joke here?

  6. Bart – the original Baron’s South proposal for senior housing retained much of Baron’s South as open land, while at the same time provided enhanced senior services and taxpayer return. However, the proposed senior housing did not affect the piece of land referenced above. It is adjacent to the gas station and the existing bus parking directly on Post Road. The decision on bus parking is totally separate from the ongoing work to try to make senior housing a reality in Westport.

  7. You mean tomorrow, as in Thursday, December 18th, not Wednesday….

  8. Am I wrong in remembering that the Y wanted to move to Baron’s South? Wasn’t there also talk of the Y building us a senior center? Wasn’t the reason the town rejected the offer, Open Space only at Baron’s South?
    It’s all very confusing. Who makes these rules and changes them? Isn’t there a bank on this “Open Space”? If I’m wrong just ignore me, if not can someone tell me how this works?

  9. School buses are meant to be ugly. That’s so you dsee them and are careful. When you park them all together they are really ugly! Parking them in the Women’s Club lot on the banks of the Saugatuck just puts a big yellow stain on the entrance to the town. The question is, where can we hide them and not create a giant traffic mess when they retire for the day.

    Baron’s South is a beautiful but difficult piece of property. Many would like iit to remain untouched,amd others have plans for various purposes. The fact is that it provides access off the Post Road and could accommodate the bus needs, and hide them effectively.. There’s plenty of room left of other uses.

    Alternatively, has anyone thought about parking them out of town? Maybe there’s someplace in Norwalk of Fairfield which would fit the bill.

    • A property tax would need to be paid to the town where they are parked…..Not sure if Westport gets property tax for the buses or if Dattco is somehow granted tax relief which the town presumably benefits from lower fees from Dattco. Regardless, moving them out of town would be a financial hit to the town. At least that was how it was explained to me when this came up several years ago.