New Housing Proposed For Hiawatha Lane

Hiawatha Lane is back in the news.

Or it will be, after Thursday’s Planning & Zoning Commission meeting.

Just over a year after Summit Saugatuck withdrew its application for a sewer extension — postponing plans to build 186 housing units on the property abutting I-95 exit 17 — the P&Z will review a pre-application from Summit Development to construct 155 rental units.

Phase 1 would begin in early 2017, and consist of 85 market-rate units.

Phase 2 would begin in the summer of 2018. It would include 70 “affordable” units, as defined by Connecticut’s 8-30g regulation.

The site plan also includes an amenities building, and a swimming pool.

A rendering of the proposed Hiawatha Lane development.

A rendering of the proposed Hiawatha Lane development.

Summit would build a privately-owned force main, pump station, and sewer line, extending 1,600 feet from the existing gravity sewer on Davenport Avenue. It would serve the 2 multi-family rental apartment developments, and also connect to 8 existing homes abutting Hiawatha Lane and Extension.

Last year’s project was scuttled because the sewer pipe running underneath the Saugatuck River to the pump station on Underhill Road could not handle the increased load.

Hiawatha Lane is a narrow street, filled with homes that are modest by Westport standards. It's accessible only via West Ferry Lane off Saugatuck Avenue, next to the I-95 eastbound entrance/exit ramp.

Hiawatha Lane is a narrow street, with homes that are modest by Westport standards. Click on photo to enlarge.

Hiawatha Lane currently includes many rental properties — and some of the lowest housing prices in Westport. The land was originally developed to house immigrant workers who built the railroad.

It is accessible by West Ferry Lane off Saugatuck Avenue, between I-95 exit 17 and the railroad station eastbound parking lot.

Summit currently owns 5.34 acres on Hiawatha Lane. The company has options to purchase 5 additional parcels, totaling 2.87 acres.

(The pre-application will be heard at the Planning & Zoning Commission meeting on Thursday, April 7, 7 p.m. in the Town Hall auditorium. The meeting will be televised. The 1st agenda item could also be interesting: a discussion with public works director Steve Edwards on Compo Beach improvements.)

Hiawatha Lane extension is shown by an arrow, on this Google Map image. It's below I-95. The entrance is via West Ferry Lane, which is off Saugatuck Avenue (diagonal road on the right side of the image).

Hiawatha Lane extension is shown by an arrow, on this Google Map image. It’s below I-95. The entrance is via West Ferry Lane, which is off Saugatuck Avenue (diagonal road on the right side of the image). Click on photo to enlarge.

11 responses to “New Housing Proposed For Hiawatha Lane

  1. Morley Boyd

    So, first comes the housing for the rich people. Then comes the ghetto for the poor. Glad I don’t have to sell this Thursday night.

  2. Michael Calise

    Hiawatha lane is already affordable because of its B zoning. This is a smoke screen for high end condo’s and government controlled housing with a complete loss of the opportunity this area provides for average working people to buy homes and build equity. The mere thought of this is a public disgrace!

  3. Carolanne Curry

    Wow…. This developer won’t quit. Quite a story, Dan.

    Carolanne 203-227-3573


  4. Matthew Mandell

    Morley hit the most absurd part of this. Not only build the market rate first, but have separate affordable. Separate but equal? I seem to remember that phrase. The haves and haves not. So two kids get off the bus and one turns to the rich houses and the other to the poor and they walk away. How will that make one of those kids feel?

    Mike then brings up the next part, that Hiawatha is already affordable, naturally. Because of that the houses were able to be bought up and combined for this. A nice neighborhood is being consumed.

    Simple here, adding 150 units to those roads and that one outlet will be a disaster.

    • Werner Liepolt

      Unless I don’t understand how the border between Westport and Norwalk works, it seems to me that schoolchildren in the proposed development would be going to Norwalk schools. But how would they get there with no access to Norwalk roads?

  5. Ann Marie Flynn

    Thank you, Michael Calise, for your input. I wonder how many will have their hand in the cookie jar.

  6. It seems that from Matthew’s prior math, projects like this never actually decrease the 8-30g deficit? At what point do the town leaders come up with a plan to get off this treadmill instead of react? Surely there have been several parcels available in the last years which could have made a dent in the requirements without resorting to lawsuits which seem to eventually prevail, per neighboring towns? – Chris Woods

  7. Why don’t we just admit we don’t want any 8-30g housing built in Westport, and then try and defend that position in court? We don’t want here, we don’t want it there, we don’t want it anywhere. NIMBY

    As to the argument that those who live in the affordable housing will be stigmatized, I call bullshit. The people who make the choice to live in the affordable housing will realize the benefits of living in a town with an excellent school system and attractive amenities. If there is any stigma, then shame on us.

    The hand in the till outrage seems to be selective. When the hand was being placed in the till for the friends and family Senior Citizens boondoggle on Baron’s South, those who now foam at the mouth about hands in the till, were silent on the matter. When hands went into the till for the Gunn House, once again very little outrage against the hands that were in the till. Hands are put into the till on a regular basis, the outrage is merely a function of who owns the hand.

  8. Bart Shuldman

    What Westport needs is a development for seniors. We have lots of regular affordable housing. More than the state statute (I believe) if we don’t use a start date arbitrarily established by Hartford. What we now have is a ‘license for developers to steal’ in Westport with Hartford leading all of this.

    Hartford has no problem taking our money (thanks Rep Steinberg) or telling Westport what we have to do.

    But we have no one else to blame but ourselves. We elect people like Rep Steinberg that not only voted against the best interest of Westport tax payers, but also helps to keep his party leading CT.

    If you want this all to change then vote to make change. It is actually quite simple.

    PS-get ready for increases in Taxes thanks to Rep Steinberg. Once the election is over in Novemeber watch as he and his party vote in higher (and it could be significant) income taxes.

  9. Bobbie Herman

    I’ve suggested this before — that affordable housing be built on the site of the former Arrow and Jasmine restaurants. It’s near public transportation, is in no-one’s back yard and has been vacant for a couple of years. There’s parking nearby, as well.

  10. Barbara Ryan

    Too much building going on. This was a quiet community when I first moved here and now everywhere you look there are new homes going up. Tearing down cute unique homes for mcmansions or jamming more housing on every space available. Also traffic is bad enough without adding to it.