Closing The Barn Door On Aquarion’s Water Tanks

Back in the day — before Bridgeport Hydraulic built a water storage facility, and Staples High School moved in across the street — North Avenue was farmland.

A couple of decades ago, the Rippe farm and orchard was replaced by Greystone Farm Lane. Developers tossed a bone to the past, designing parts of some of the houses to look like silos.

Which may provide one solution to a controversy now roiling the road.

Aquarion — Bridgeport Hydraulic’s successor — wants to build 2 water tanks at the site it owns. Their 39-foot height concerns neighbors.

Pete Romano has an idea.

The LandTech principal knew that on Wilton Road at Newtown Turnpike, Aquarion used a facade to “hide” some of its equipment.

The Aquarion facility on Wilton Road.

He asked Peter Wormser — an architect at his engineering firm — to design something similar for North Avenue.

The result: 2 “barns.”

LandTech’s rendering of the barn structures for North Avenue. Click on or hover over to enlarge.

“I know Wilton Road is not as big,” Romano says. “And maybe Aquarion needs access on all 4 sides. But it’s an idea. It might get people talking.”

North Avenue will not go back to apple orchards and onion farms.

But perhaps — even with 2 big pumping stations — it can look that way.

 

30 responses to “Closing The Barn Door On Aquarion’s Water Tanks

  1. The roof peaks in many new houses in Westport are higher than these tanks. Just sayin…
    PS Wormser/ Landtech idea very nice

  2. I get the NIMBY effect. And I also really, really miss the old farms. I used to hand-pick apples at Rippe’s, too. Walked past it more than a few times when I missed the bus, even. As well as the farm market on the Post Road. But times change. The real question here is, You want Water or not?

    • I don’t live near the site and am concerned about the project. This is most certainly not a NIMBY issue. It Affects whole town. If it were just a NIMBY issue, why were our state senators Hwang and Boucher and state reps Steinberg and Lavielle so concerned about the project at the meeting on Wednesday? This is a HUGE project that needs to comply with the state’s water plan.

    • I don’t see this as a NIMBY issue. Two STATE senators and two STATE representatives went to the Aquarion meeting on Wednesday and had serious concerns about it.

      The question is not “do we want water?” because the answer is obvious: we do. The question is how do we get new water storage the smart way that’s not going to ruin the charm and character of our town and cause safety and traffic issues during construction.

    • Not a NIMBY issue. This is one of the largest infrastructure projects in Westport and will affect many residents here in terms of traffic, safety, attractiveness of the town, to name a few.

      Of course we all want water, so let’s not be simplistic in asking that question. There are many water storage strategies. We need to make sure Aquarion is open to more modern water storage and delivery strategies and not fall back to the old strategy of concrete/steel and gravity fed flow. It’s the year 2017, not 1917 — technology has come a long way, so let’s use it!

  3. Excellent idea.

  4. Cost aside, it’s a great idea.

  5. Or, camouflage them as a grain elevator or a windmill…

  6. Seriously, doesn’t your home town need to be fixed up? Surely they have as many problems as we do and they would like your active suggestions addressing their many flaws.

  7. I like this Idea Its thinking outside the box for inside a box. If the town needs water for all these clear cut lots for new houses then make the tanks look good.

  8. Has anyone asked Aquarion what they think of this great idea? I name Pete Romano to be the emissary. mmm

  9. Perhaps at a minimum there could be a faux pine forest painted on the standpipes. These standpipe tanks are really tall so if they can’t be eliminated, moved or reduced in height then something would be needed to soften the visual impact. Perhaps some design ideas could be submitted from Staples art students or local artists?

  10. I live nearby this location and this this is a good idea.

  11. Great idea, Peter Romano and Peter Wormser! This could be the beginning of something really good.

  12. Peter Romano and Peter Wormser are the best! You would be hard pressed to find two guys who’ve given more to the community.

  13. I have had my ZBA variances and some other disagreements with Peter Romano, but have also had some positive experiences. This one clearly resides in the positive category. The concept of creating faux facades is often a good one and can include greenery about, in front of and on structures, including chain link fences, large waste receptacles, even, God forbid in Westport another cell tower or a wind farm. However, making something ugly appear less ugly should never cause the need for something ugly not to be challenged. My guess is the new water towers may, at least partially, tie into the construction of so many large homes in Westport..
    Don Bergmann

  14. Thirty-nine foot high “barns?” That’s almost five stories. Wouldn’t it be possible to have four tanks half as high? Just askin’.

  15. Why not bury them? Make them as large as possible. Its water, so a leak is not really a concern.

  16. On second thought, a four-sided clock tower! Still, a wind turbine could solve two problems in one!

  17. Excellent idea. , the hysteria with these signs popping up is very troubling because of the exaggeration and misleading effect of the pending construction. The new Staples didn’t cause one tenth of the effect and it was a much much larger endeavor.
    Then again, you can just use bottled water,

    • The water tank project has actually caused concern at the town level as well as state level.

      I went to the Aquarion meeting on Wednesday at SHS, where over 50 residents showed up. Jim Marpe, Melissa Kane and our state delegation were at the meeting too — state senator Hwang, state senator Boucher, state rep Lavielle and state rep Steinberg. They were all concerned by what they heard from Aquarion. Senator Hwang said this “It came as a surprise to me that we may potentially be increasing the capacity and the height of the tower, to handle holding water for passthrough for the rest of Fairfield County. If that’s indeed the case and that’s indeed the process, let us be familiar and know about it so we can make some determinations,”

      Read more about it here: http://www.westport-news.com/news/article/Neighbors-politicians-water-company-clash-at-12431311.php#photo-14702193

  18. My concern with this project isn’t just the height issue. I live about 3 miles from Bedford Middle School but it can take me up to 45 minutes to drop my son off at school in the mornings sometimes because of traffic. This becomes a quality of life issue. I feel like the zoning board was evading the issue by posting a notice about this project in the Norwalk newspapers. Was there an alternative site analysis done?? Rather than put it next to two large schools on a small neighborhood road where the schools alone cause a huge amount of traffic?? This is not a practical location for this project. I’m not against water in Westport. But I think various sites should have been presented to the public affected.

  19. While I think this is an excellent idea from an aesthetic perspective, the bigger issue is the construction and the mayhem it will add to an already taxed area of town. Trying to get down North Avenue with school traffic and buses is already torturous; adding the years-worth of construction to the mix will be disastrous. And it doesn’t only affect the people who live in the neighborhood – it affects every family with school-aged kids in town AND every person who has to traverse North Avenue to get where they need to.

  20. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    I remember when the power station on the corner of Wilton Road and Newtown Turnpike was built. Even as a child my respect for CL&P went sky-high. I’m sure the same could be done on North Avenue or even next to the Levitt using the tower idea. Perhaps I missed it but did this pumping station HAVE to be located on North Avenue? What about one of the two former Nike sites that are both relatively close by.? Isn’t there still an observatory on one of them? It might need a twin.

  21. Bobbi Ganin Essagof

    If anyone can come up with a design its Peter Wormser. Great idea Peter!

  22. Excellent idea. The Smart Water for WEstport Coalition has come up with similar alternatives (hanging gardens / barn structure) and we have presented those along with 2 State Senators, 2 State Representatives and the First Selectman to Aquarion in the past week. We have also jointly asked for an independent Water Study and have presented an alternative to the massive tanks. With newer construction materials (carbon fiber tanks) and an additional pump station at a different area in Westport the construction period could be significantly reduced and the visual impact avoided. It would still hold the same amount of water – almost tripling the current capacity! We thank the over 1100 Westport residents who signed the Smart Water for Westport petition on Change.org. It’s a bi-partisan joint attempt to find a better solution for this town.

  23. Great to see everyone engaged on this issue. Thanks to Peter & Land Tech for taking the time…this exactly the kind of creative thinking we need. If we can get both towers down a few feet each, the camouflage structure(s) will not have to be so overwhelming/gigantic…Appreciate everyone’s thoughtful comments here.

  24. Not a NIMBY issue. This is one of the largest infrastructure projects in Westport and will affect many residents here in terms of traffic, safety, attractiveness of the town, to name a few.

    Of course we all want water, so let’s not be simplistic in asking that question. There are many water storage strategies. We need to make sure Aquarion is open to more modern water storage and delivery strategies and not fall back to the old strategy of concrete/steel and gravity fed flow. It’s the year 2017, not 1917 — technology has come a long way, so let’s use it!

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