Breaking News — Westport Inn’s 200-Unit Housing Plan No Longer In Play

Westporters have a lot to worry about. But — as of today — the 5-story, 200-unit housing complex proposed for the site of the Westport Inn is not one of them.

The property has been sold. The new owners — an investment group — are presumed to want to continue operations as a hotel.

The sale did not simply fall from the sky. First Selectman Jim Marpe and Planning and Zoning Commission chair Chip Stephens have worked to find a buyer. They hoped to find someone local, who understood the need to maintain an inn — and not add massive new housing on a small-footprint, already-crowded part of the Post Road.

The Westport Inn will no longer be demolished, or replaced with 200 housing units.

The Westport Inn will no longer be demolished, or replaced with 200 housing units.

Part of the initial housing proposal — which was withdrawn, after P&Z commissioners raised concerns — included “affordable housing” units. Developers have cited a state statute — 8-30g — mandating that 10% of every community’s housing stock be “affordable.”

Officially, Westport is around the 3% level. But because of the way the regulation is worded — housing built before 1990 does not count, for example, toward points for a 4-year moratorium from the law — we actually do reach that threshold. may feel there is a sword hanging over us.

Other housing developments that involve 8-30g are in the works. One (temporarily withdrawn) is on Hiawatha Lane; another (flying under the radar so far) is on Post Road West, where several blighted buildings were recently torn down.

Those bear watching. But as of today, the Westport Inn no longer does.

16 responses to “Breaking News — Westport Inn’s 200-Unit Housing Plan No Longer In Play

  1. Jennifer Rankine

    Thank you Jim Marpe and Chip Stephens!

  2. Arline P.Gertzoff

    BEST NEWS OF THE DAY.A NICE INN WITH A GOOD RESTAURANT/BAR IS A MUCH BETTER IDEA.

  3. Joseph Thanhauser

    D-

    Looks like there is some justice. Not much. But some.

    -J

    Sent from AOL Mobile Mail Get the new AOL app: mail.mobile.aol.com

  4. “housing built before 1990 does not count” — might this come into play in preventing future teardowns?

  5. Doug Dryburgh

    Congrats to all involved. Finally logic and common sense prevail.

  6. Gratitude: Jim Marpe and Chip Stephens!

  7. Matthew Mandell

    Nice job boyz!!!! Not only was the plan bad, but loosing our biggest hotel would be been a problem too.

    As for housing built before 1990 not counting. That’s not the case. It does count as “affordable” housing towards the overall percentage. What it doesn’t count for is points towards a 4 year moratorium from the law. If they counted we’d already be in the moratorium. But make no mistake the moratorium is a false grail. 4 years is nothing and developers would sit and sharpen their knives in wait. Unless the law is changed at the state level we will continue to be at risk.

    Now let’s hope the new owners do follow through with running a hotel and make even more improvements to make it a destination.

    • John Hartwell

      yes, they don’t count toward a moratorium, but they do count as part of our housing stock and we’re at 3%. Here’s the statute What might be at issue in Westport is whether we count “accessory apartments”, but in order for them to be counted they must be (1) legal and (2) deed-restricted under the “affordable” rules. Most landlords aren’t willing to deed restrict those apartments because that would reduce their property resale value.

  8. Sharon suggs

    Fantastic news! Thanks to all who made this possible. And yes, Westport does need a quality hotel.

  9. don l bergmann

    Great news. The project was just too massive. It is especially noteworthy that First Selectman Marpe and P&Z Commission Chair Stephens played an important joint role. Don Bergmann

  10. sandy johnson

    Great news!!! thank you Jim Marpe and Chip Stephens!!!!
    Sandy Johnson

  11. I am glad – even though I no longer live in Westport, when I first read of the proposed development I was concerned – again Bravo to those who saved the Inn.

  12. Whew!!!! Thanks to all of you. mmm

  13. Sally Campbell Palmer

    Hooray!…if only temporarily…

  14. Morley Boyd

    Nice work Jim and Chip! Just goes to show that little in life is inevitable.

  15. I want to echo all the appreciation here to Jim Marpe and Chip Stevens for their efforts. I also want to support Matthew Mandell’s comments above that the specter of 8-30g is still upon us. Getting to a moratorium, if we can, is only kicking the can down the hallway. We cannot lessen our efforts to advocate for changes at the state level. Solving the Westport Inn problem may lessen the energy and resolve to stay on this.

    At the same time I want to raise a question. Is anyone concerned that the town’s largest taxpayer (BLT) representing the property interests of the largest hedge fund in the world may have just earned a “chit” to lobby for expanding the Nyala Farms office complex? Some may think the Greens Farms Association is a bit paranoid to extrapolate like this. We want to express our concern about the prospects of BLT, after the demise of their effort to construct a headquarters for Bridgewater Associates in Stamford will now push to use the open space at Nyala Farms for expansion. During our last battle about Design and Development Districts Larry Weismann assured us that we had nothing to worry about because Nyala Farms was already built out to the limits of it’s special permit and DDD text amendment. Now we are not so sure.

    Art Schoeller
    President
    Greens Farms Association