180 Cross Highway: Saved!

Our country is more polarized than at any time since the Civil War.

But in one corner of Westport, at least, folks negotiate in good faith.

They compromise. And everyone wins.

The Planning & Zoning Commission was all set last night for a contentious hearing on Mark Yurkiw and Wendy Van Wie’s plea to preserve their 1700s property on Cross Highway. The couple — who spent years restoring a home and barn — wanted a waiver to live in the barn, but sell the other structure. That way, they said, it could be loved, cared for and maintained in perpetuity.

One view of 188 Cross Highway.

One view of 188 Cross Highway.

A neighbor opposed the proposal.

Mark and Wendy had a number of supporters in the Town Hall crowd. An “06880” story — with 100 or so comments — was read into the record.

But before anything else happened, both sides huddled. Suddenly, the neighbor’s attorney announced he’d drop the objection — provided Mark and Wendy adhere to a few simple conditions.


The P&Z approved what they needed to. Because it contains historic homes, the property can now be subdivided. The homes will remain.

Everybody wins.

Perhaps we can send that crew down to Washington?

9 responses to “180 Cross Highway: Saved!

  1. Amazing news for two amazing people! So happy for you Mark and Wendy. It shows that good things really do come to good people, even if you need to get lawyers involved to make it so!!!

  2. Wonderful news support of posterity !!!

  3. Fantastic news indeed! Thank you Wendy and Mark for your tireless efforts and unceasing dedication to preserving these historic structures. I hope the Historic District Commission (HDC) will remember this, your great achievement, when it comes time next year for them to officially recognize those local individuals who have gone “above and beyond” on behalf of historic preservation! Heck, instead of merely giving you an award, they should name a brand new award after the two of you and give it out each year to the person who most exemplifies your hard work, courage and commitment in the cause of preservation! Bravo!

  4. Heather A Wilson

    Bingo..big GOP

  5. I am absolutely delighted at the news, but can you tell us what the conditions are?

  6. Congratulations, Wendy and Mark!

    What an odyssey – you guys are really a class act.

    A big thank is in order to all the members of our Planning and Zoning Commission – and a special tip of the hat to Westport’s new Planning and Zoning Director, Mary Young. There may be more than enough rancor elsewhere in the land – but it was nowhere to be seen at last night’s public hearing. Just calm, thoughtful deliberation and a decision which plainly is in the best long term interests of this important historic resource.

  7. Mary (Cookman) Schmerker Staples 1958

    Wonderful news. A win, win for everyone. Hopefully this might become a new trend.

  8. Carolanne Curry

    This is good news in every sense of the word.

  9. Thank you all for your thoughtful comments and encouragement.
    The homes are now protected in perpetuity. It was wonderful to be able to deliver over 100 comments for the P&Z to see how much support there is in Westport for historical preservation.
    I’m terribly impressed with the dedicated and hard working staff and committee on the P&Z. Thank you all.