On The Meeting Docket — And Off

In November, Westport’s Parks & Recreation Commission unanimously approved construction of a new walkway and bathrooms at South Beach — the no-lifeguard, cookout grill, alcohol-permitted section beloved by picnickers and sunset-watchers.

The walkway will be similar to the one installed 2 years ago, from the pavilion near Joey’s to the cannons. Made of cement, it features wooden railings open to access every 2 cars.

It will connect to the current walkway at the cannons. It continues to the cut-through road near the kayak launch, then joins the gravel marina walkway via a crosswalk.

The current roadway would shift slightly north, to accommodate the new walkway. Several parking spots would be lost.

Plans for the new walkway and bathrooms at South Beach. Click on or hover over to enlarge.

The bathroom — to be built on an unpaved area just south of the pickleball courts — will include an outdoor shower and water fountain. The exterior is white with blue trim, and brick accents.

The projected cost for the walkway is $429,643. The bathroom cost is $257,473.

This Thursday (February 15, 7 p.m., Town Hall), the Planning & Zoning Commission will discuss the proposal. The meeting is open to the public.

One meeting that will not be held is the Saugatuck Transit Oriented Design Master Plan Steering Committee. Their study — funded by a $450,000 state grant — was to be presented at a public session this Monday.

According to RTM member Matthew Mandell, “changes requested from the last meeting were so broad that there was no way to get a new draft in time.”

It’s unclear, Mandell adds, whether the public meeting will be rescheduled — or if there will be public comment at all.

He does not even know if the committee will vote to accept the report — which includes parking decks, new housing units, new retail and office play, but did not include a traffic study.

The state has extended the deadline for the TOD report to be filed. It’s now due in late March.

24 responses to “On The Meeting Docket — And Off

  1. What’s a picnic pad?

  2. Michael Calise

    This proposal has railings for the entire length of the proposed sidewalk. Currently at Compo there are no railings from the Stonewall at the cannons for about 150′. similarly there is a space of approximate equal distance at the other end running to the stand of trees. Both of these areas are used by religious organizations on a regular basis for weekly events during the entire summer as well as for special events (sometimes weddings) by Westporters.
    The advantage of no railings is that it provides easy access for the equipment and service people as well as the participants. I presented my concerns at a recent recreation meeting and as usual the chair said “thank you” and the matter was not discussed. This proposed project should consider the needs of all users and not ignore current uses by all

  3. There goes the neighborhood. Well, I guess it was inevitable, and its actually amazing it lasted as long as it did. I did a lot of growing up in that stretch, learning to dive and fish off the jetty, sail off the beach, drive in the big lot nearby and park along the road …

  4. 1. Is that expensive for a bathroom?

    2. What religious events?

  5. Rebecca Ellsley

    Again cement sidewalks seem exstreamly expensive! Why not use poris material so we have drainage in a flood zone? Similar to what’s next to the marina side. And who bidded on these projects seems to have very deep pockets?

  6. OK, I have a question about that TOD study given that our consultant has now somehow burned through our entire $450,000.00 in grant money. If the final product, despite promised edits, still contains some or all of the bridge hating, roundabout loving, parking deck goovin stuff (which you know it totally will) what’s the TOD committee going to do? Vote to recommend that the Board of Selectmen accept an unacceptable report? Or vote to reject it?

  7. i just did a pretty nice bathroom for a lot less than 257 big ones… my old home Town must be flush with money !!

    • It seems like a big price tag to me too. But, I imagine that it is very different from a residential bathroom project – plumbing might have to be extended a long ways, the plumbing and all the products used in the entire bathroom have to be commercial grade – tough enough for a lot of use and beach elements. An entire structure must be built. It costs $69,000 to buy a prefab shipping container with a single residential bathroom, and that does not include the slab that it has to go on or plumbing, etc. And maybe there are some special measures they have to take given that the entire structure could flood. So it is probably worth at least hearing Parks and Rec’s explanation of the price, It could be reasonable.

    • Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

      Excellent pun Mr. Neidlinger.

  8. Werner Liepolt

    The way the TOD “report” has evolved seems Frankensteinian. If it is still filled with the stuff that was in the last available version, it will be resrrected someday to do things to Saugatuck that no one who lives here wants. I urge the TOD committee to take control of this monster.

    • The TOD committee is now under pressure to approve its developer-centric dumpster fire of a report. No one on the outside can figure out where this pressure is coming from. It’s not from the public, that’s for sure.

  9. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    Back in the day (before Depends were invented) we used to hold it.

  10. Please, please don’t muck up our simple little New England town beach.

  11. “extending the deadline for the TOD” … Any German speaker would be puzzled.

  12. Bill Boyd (Staples '66)

    The town is inhabited more and more by former city dwellers who want to be comfortable surrounded by what is familiar to them….railings, concrete sidewalks, water fountains, bathrooms… etc. and not so many steps away!……uh…….yeah.

  13. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    What’s wrong with walking to the privys that has served so well fgor so many years?

  14. Catherine Calise

    I agree with Dave & Eric! Compo has seen generations and generations of happy use as it is. This over-development plan will certainly take away from the charm & quaint New England Compo Beach that it is. Not only does it take that away but it changes the entire way South Beach is currently used. By continuing the current concrete sidewalk they will also extend the railing ALL ALONG South Beach where there is not one now.

    This completely limits access directly to the sand:
    Specifically at the top near the stone wall by the cannons – and then closer to the trees to the new planned crosswalk ( and more signs I am sure ) before the launch area – without having to walk over a sidewalk and then navigate through a railing to get to the beach.

    This effects the use:
    Windsurfers & Kiters carrying their equipment to the sand in order to rig up to sail.
    Private parties not being able to pull directly up on the sand with trucks & equipment for clambakes etc..
    Those carrying coolers & Barb-B-Q items.
    They will ALL have to cross a sidewalk and railing to get to the sand.

    Not to mention the lighting that will be glaring on South Beach with the new to be built bathroom. If you have sat on South Beach to see the night sky with no ambient lighting that will be gone too. Lastly, the road will have to be moved back and I don’t want to hear it needs paving anyway – it will still cost way more and it is an unnecessary, excessive cost. I suggested an interior sidewalk along the inner parking area so the road wouldn’t have to be moved & the current use of South Beach wouldn’t change – it was actually one of the proposals drawing and all – but somehow it got abandoned.

    • Why are we accepting this? Why are we allowing the NY element to forever destroy the character of our South Beach? As a 33 year resident and senior citizen, why are the senior citizens just rolling over? I attended and spoke at the poorly attended March 28th meeting, and tried to represent the interests of the senior citizens who prefer the character of South Beach. When I was told that the “majority of people” wanted the P&R proposals, I asked “What Majority? Did anyone survey the senior citizens in town?” I was dismayed but not surprised by their silence.

      I am not certain that people are even aware that the P&R will hire staff to “direct” the out of town day pass vehicles to the gravel boat storage area because South Beach will now be designated as the official “Out of Town Non-Resident Parking Lot”. Kiss the quaint character and night sky of South Beach goodbye. The BBQ grills, fishing jetty, shade trees, picnic tables, Sunset ambiance, all overrun by the non-resident out of town people who will be concentrated there – 100 cars per day, with hundreds of people – all in addition to the scheduled events.

      I have written a very detailed letter to the P&R – I will share it with anyone if I knew who to send it to. Why are the senior citizens so silent and uninvolved when this was THEIR TOWN? 55+ comprises 30% of our population; where are they? We must become active and involved to prevent Compo from submitting to the same fate as Main Street.