Developer Withdraws Morningside South Demolition Applications

The Westport Historic District Commission has a full agenda for next Tuesday’s public meeting (August 14, Town Hall, 7 p.m.).

They’ll hear a request by the Westport Historical Society to place a commemorative plaque in a new downtown area — the former site of a largely black boardinghouse to acknowledge the contributions made by African Americans in Westport.

They’ll talk about demolition permits for Bulkley Avenue South, North Main Street, Bayberry Lane, High Point Road, Island Way and Compo Road South.

But they won’t discuss the proposed — and very controversial — demolition of 20 and 26 Morningside Drive South.

Those are the sites of an 1853 house, and nearby studio and shed, formerly owned and used by noted artists Walter and Naiad Einsel.

As reported on “06880” earlier this month, a long battle pitted a developer against preservationists.

Now the battle has halted. Tuesday’s HDC agenda — published yesterday — says that all 3 demolition proposals were “withdrawn by applicant.”

Somehow though, this does not seem like the end of the war.

Walter and Naiad Einsel’s South Morningside Drive house.

7 responses to “Developer Withdraws Morningside South Demolition Applications

  1. Mary Cookman Schmerker Staples '58

    A welcome pause for the Morningside property but there is still a need for attentive and watchful waiting. As Dan states, the battle may not be over.

  2. Michelle Benner

    Hooray for now?

  3. I just want to remind the public that this is not your typical battle between developers and “preservationists” – which usually implies that a historic property which is not already protected is being threatened. 20 & 26 Morningside Drive are already protected under State law and our Town of Westport Ordinance Sect. 38-27 which created the Morningside Drive South Historic District “in order to promote the educational, cultural, economic and general welfare of the Town of Westport and the public in general through the preservation of buildings and places of historic interest.” Our Town’s public officials have been struggling mightily for the past year to protect this Local Historic District from inappropriate change as they are mandated by law to do. It is important that the “public in general”, and not just “preservationists”, support the Town in its continued efforts to protect this Local Historic District.

    • Amen to that, Wendy. I’d say a fair reading of this latest turn is that the developer didn’t enjoy being made famous by the last 06880 story regarding his plans for this beloved landmark property. And to that developer I think the message from the public was: do the right thing. Conserve these structures. Restore/expand/update in a sensitive manner as needed and as you like – but conserve these structures. And their setting.

      • Mary Cookman Schmerker Staples '58

        Amen and Amen. I know everyone will “stay on this case” and see it though. Morley and Wendy have stated the situation perfectly. Thank you both and all those who work so hard to preserve the history of the town. History is foundation of the town and with out a firm foundation structures fail.

  4. Jalna Jaeger

    I always loved the witch that she hung on her porch for halloween!

  5. Arthur C Schoeller

    It is my understanding that this is only temporary. The application has only been withdrawn from the August meeting and is still in play, to be heard at the September 11th meeting.
    Art Schoeller
    Greens Farms Association.