Green’s Farms United: Neighbors Band Together

Greens Farms means many things, to many people.

It’s filled with rolling hills, old homes, a small beach, a friendly train station and post office, and a stately elementary school.

That school sits on the northern edge of the neighborhood. It’s an area that residents feel is under siege.

Just across the Post Road, a 94-unit apartment building is quickly filling up. Twelve apartments have been constructed on the site of the former Geiger’s property, with 32 assisted living apartments being built next door.

The bank/office complex at the Post Road/North Morningside corner has just been sold. That too may be converted into apartments.

Now 19 townhouses have been proposed for 20-26 South Morningside — the Historic District directly opposite Greens Farms Elementary School.

Green’s Farms United created this map to show recent and planned housing developments near Greens Farms School.

A group called Green’s Farms United has had enough.

Energized families created a website and GoFundMe page. They’re on Facebook and Instagram. They organized an email list, alerting Westporters about upcoming hearings.

They hired an environmental engineer. And a lawyer.

They’re mad as hell, and they’re not going to take it anymore.

They want everyone to know what’s coming up — and what’s come before.

They’ve seen the effects after the Morningside South developer removed trees near Muddy Brook in 2017: soil erosion and flooding increased.

But something else happened.

“We started as a group of Greens Farms families, concerned about the 20-26 Morningside Drive South future,” says one of the organizers, Aurea de Souza.

“We are now a group of friends and neighbors fighting for a cause, while enjoying and appreciating meeting so many incredible people on the way.”

They take heart from neighbors on the other side of town, who are battling the proposed 6-story, 81-unit apartment complex between Lincoln and Cross Streets, off Post Road West.

They are Green’s Farms United.

That’s more than just their name.

It’s their neighborhood.

And their lives.

The current view of 20-26 Morningside Drive South (left), directly opposite Greens Farms Elementary School, and an overlay of where the proposed 19 townhouses would be built.

18 responses to “Green’s Farms United: Neighbors Band Together

  1. “Build more….build quicker”, CT State Representative from Westport Jonathan Steinberg.

    Your vote mattered.

  2. Sorry but I think the Morningside Dr and Post Rd horse left the barn years ago.

  3. This is just the latest example of the haphazard development that results from a failure on the part of the P& Z to acknowledge that development is inevitable and to fail to provide a comprehensive plan to manage it. If we had a real plan of development (POCD) which results from and takes into account public sentiment, development would not come as an unwelcome surprise and It would not be necessary for whole neighborhoods to devote their resources to opposing each project on an ad hoc basis.. The P&Z has failed to provide such a POCD and instead, has concentrated on enforcement and preservation to the exclusion of realistic planning. Maybe it’s time to think about amending the Charter to provide for separate planning and zoning commissions since it has become obvious that even a conscientious single entity cannot do both jobs effectively, given the volume of work involved.

    • OVER-development is definitely NOT inevitable, and the P&Z has successfully held the line over the years in the face of those (like you, counselor) who would ruin this Town’s character for the benefit of developers seeking to construct higher density housing. There is no “realistic planning goal” of simply adding density and destroying the character of this Town’s neighborhoods; the residents of this Town have consistently rejected P&Z Commission candidates (such as your “coalition” candidates) who support doing so, so I’d say the P&Z Commission has simply done a good job carrying out the will of the Town’s residents. The fact that the P&Z hasn’t seen it your way for the last 15 years doesn’t make them wrong or short-sighted – the views you espouse are simply out of step with what the majority of Westport residents desire.

      • Jack:
        Looking past your ad hominem comments to focus on the substance of our disagreement:

        I don’t think that election results are a fair measure of what the majority of Westporter desire in terms of land use policy. Electing P&Z commissioners – like electing judges – is more an exercise in party affiliation and effective campaigning than it is about assessing competence or policy.

        It doesn’t appear to me that the Greens Farms or Lincoln Street neighborhoods are fans of the haphazard, ad hoc development which is largely the result of a lack of long range planning. As you well know, Americans have a long history of voting against their own best interests.

        No one that I know or with whom I am affiliated is advocating what you pointedly call «over development », as distinct from realistic, controlled, rational development.

      • Jack my friend-how can Westport P&Z effectively stop this when the state law allows these builders to avoid local planning and zoning rules? Change the law and then it will stop. When will Westport understand?

    • Agree.

      This is a problem that has been staring us in the face for almost 30 years and the town leadership avoided dealing with it by simply saying “unfair!” and passing that failure on.

      Ironically, the 8-30g was painstakingly and specifically designed so that this wouldn’t happen. The last POCD was a complete joke in terms of “plan”. – Chris Woods

      • Town leadership? Naaaa. This is all state controlled. Wake up. And it will not go away now.

  4. I’m with them! I’ve lived in Westport all my life, along with much of my family. A few generations of us have gone through the Westport school system. Home town has become more like a small city. When does this STOP?
    This is our town; why can’t our voices be heard and honored? Traffic can be unbearable at certain times and at specific intersections.
    With issues going on with the schools, classrooms will be over crowded as it is. Do we add more to that issue? What about our town resources and environment?
    A close friend who grew up here recently visited and could barely recognize the Post Road.
    Yes we get the change and the progress deals, and accept it to a certain extent. But when does insult turn to injury?
    Green’s Farms United… I’m on your side. Enough!

  5. Michelle Benner

    In addition to immeasurably detracting from the charm of our neighborhood and town, imagine the traffic and noise pollution which will be generated during the construction of these ugly developments. For years our family lived with the constant noise and vibrations of bulldozers, work trucks and stone cutters as multiple houses were torn down one by one and rebuilt around our home. These proposed developments, especially the one across from GFS on Morningside, will be unsightly, snarl traffic, and threaten the safety of those commuting to school on foot, of which there are quite a few. Is P&Z really allowing this to happen? Why does Westport need or want several dense housing developments in one concentrated area, particularly around an elementary school?

  6. This proposed development is completely inappropriate within a historic district. It is directly across the street from the Greens Farms elementary school driveway. Our kids must be protected. Soon the school will have more children. We do not need more congestion.
    So far, it’s already this project has become an environmental disaster. We will fight and win this encroachment to our neighborhood and the destruction of this historic home.
    Karen Kramer
    RTM District 5

  7. I’m sitting here on a rainy day looking out at a Main Street house from the 1850s that was saved from the 8-30g onslaught through the direct result of concerted neighborhood efforts……Stay strong.

  8. Wonder what Muddy Brook at the rear of the property looks like today?

  9. Isn’t this right off the Post rd though? I would think one would expect this kind of development in such an area.

  10. Arthur Schoeller

    We greatly applaud the efforts of Green Farms United (and what a great name!) and look to coordinate with them all efforts to oppose this project. We wish to remind readers that in addition to the intensity of this project, it also obliterates an entire Historic District, which we have been defending for over the last year and a half since the developer began their quest to profit from their purchase. This “scorched earth” approach to getting their way and destroying a Historic District must not stand.

    And Dan thanks for your past postings on this debacle to keep the public informed.

    Art Schoeller
    Greens Farms Assoiation

  11. Don L. Bergmann

    It saddens me that anyone, Larry Weisman for example, would declare that development is “inevitable”. Change is inevitable. Development has far too much subjective meaning and nuance ever to be characterized as inevitable. Atty Weisman’s observations about our Planning & Zoning Commission also fail the test of accuracy, at least to this supporter of our present Commission.
    Don Bergmann

    • It’s heartening to know that Mr. Bergman does not agree with me. If he did, I would feel an urgent need to reassess my position.