New Residences At Richmondville Mill?

One of Westport’s most historic buildings — The Mill on Richmondville Avenue — may have a new look.

The red-brick former factory on the Saugatuck River, just off Main Street near Coffee An’, is now the site of a variety of small offices.

The Mill, 41 Richmondville Avenue.

A trio of developers — Coastal Luxury Homes, Gault Family Companies and Michael Greenberg & Associates — is requesting a text change application, to residential use. If granted, they would reuse most of the historic portions of the existing building, remove the later additions and infill with some new construction, replacing 55,000 square feet of offices with approximately 38 condominiums.

The design includes a pool and garage. The site is 2.41 acres.

The plan is in the early stages. After the text amendment process with the Planning & Zoning Commission, the proposal would go through various town boards, including the Conservation Commission and Flood and Erosion Control Board.

Aerial view of the current site. The Mill is in the center of the photo.

In a letter to neighbors, consultant Richard Redniss says the condos would reduce traffic, and improve the landscape buffer. The concept will be presented to neighbors at a meeting this Thursday (September 12, 7 p.m., The Mill).

Neighbors worry about increased traffic, noise, more lights, flood and wetland issues, and a different “feel” to the neighborhood. They say they will share those concerns at the meeting.

The proposal.

44 responses to “New Residences At Richmondville Mill?

  1. This sounds like a good plan. With the many challenges of continued human population growth and consumption — and the need for more sustainable ways to live — having options to live in smaller, more communal, more efficient spaces where we can walk and ride bikes back and forth to work, shops, grocery stores, restaurants and other businesses, can make a huge difference. I hope we see more of this kind of development in the future, throughout the nation, and protect and conserve more open space, wildlife habitat and agricultural lands.

    • Dave,
      I have nothing against sustainable living spaces, but someone who lives near the milk and experience how tight the road already is in our neighborhood, adding 38 more families with multiple cars, nannies, cleaning crews and deliveries, plus a noisy communal pool is less than desirable. We are talking about an old historical neighborhood which will lose all of its character with yet another condo development.

  2. I agree with Dave. My thoughts exactly. I’m looking forward to seeing the proposed designs & floor plans.

  3. Dan, thanks for the warning , any idea the rules of the road/ distance requirements for notification? I know many of of the residents around the corner did not get any heads up of this petition

    Anyone who knows this area know this is one of those unique neighborhoods where people can still walk in the neighborhood and walk their pets safely

    Adding 38 units to this small acreage is simply crazy
    I would challenge any study that will tell us there will be reduced traffic.. I have been a resident in this area for 34 years and will tell you the traffic the mill causes is minimal.. my guess is 38 units, 80 cars will bring Richmond to a halt in morning rush hour

    Feels like just another group of big developers looking for a money grab at the expense of a great neighborhood

    Look what these organizations have done to the list road

    • Great points Matt!! I am a new resident of Westport and of Richmondville ave.The road narrows significantly as it connects to Main Street, it is a dangerous intersection ( trying to make a left onto main from richmondville is harrowing)The beauty of this town is slowly eroding as move and move developers try to cash in. There is a reason for zoning laws and trying to “amend” them to make a buck is going to deviate the towns landscape. Throwing 38 condos on a little over 2 acres in a quiet residential neighborhood is outrageous. And if it passes it is open season on all neighborhoods in Westport.

  4. I got something taped to my door last night. Quite honestly, I welcome it as long as maybe they can put some speed bumps on Richmondville heading towards Main Street (my son waits for the bus). I am sure they are going to be plenty of complaints as with anything with this town. However, considering the state SOME of the “homes” on that street (more towards Main) are a complete eyesore (think Sanford and Son with a pickup truck that hasn’t moved in years and yards that haven’t been touched ) this is good news.

    • Chris- the town won’t allow speed bumps on richmondville.

    • Christopher, I’m not sure what you are speaking of when you mention SOME of the houses near Main on Richmondville are like “Sanford and Son,” nor do I really care. As Matt Bannon said in an earlier comment, this is a unique neighborhood. In addition to his observation that we can safely walk our pets, etc., I would add that we have a genuine diversity here that has disappeared from other parts of town.

  5. Traffic nightmare in the making. Wish this building were somewhere else. How are they going to have enough parking for 38 condos? Every homeowner in this town has 2-3 cars. Where will the 80 cars be parked? Plus isn’t this area in a Flood Zone?

  6. There’s a photographer I worked with in that building. It’s a very cool spot.

    Kitt Shapiro simplyeartha.com Eartha Kitt Productions Inc.

    >

  7. Everywhere now in Westport is a traffic nightmare in the making or already is. No one is spared!

    • I live in Missoula, Montana, and even here traffic is becoming a nightmare.

      The world’s approaching 8 billion people, and the United States is close to 330 million. Everyone wants their own own home on their own private acreage and to drive their SUVs everywhere for everything — but not deal with much traffic.

      The average size of a newly constructed single-family detached home is now 2,600 square feet in the U.S. (likely higher in Westport), which is double what it was in 1960.

      We keep reproducing and expanding and consuming more and more and more. I don’t foresee traffic improving any time soon.

  8. Barbara Jane Ryan

    I have lived on Oak St for over 30 years. I think this is a terrible idea. We are a quiet peaceful neighborhood. That is what I like about this area. I moved away from the city and its congestion. Now Westport is being overdeveloped. Everywhere you look in every nook and cranny multiply dwellings are going up. This is a nightmare. I just found out yesterday about this plan. What can our neighborhood do to stop this. I am not the only one in this neighborhood who is against this development. Stop greedy developers from destroying neighborhoods.

    • The MILL is located within the 100 year flood plain. There are wetland issues that are being swept under the rug
      A Text Amendment amounts to a new zoning law that may affect other Historic sites in town so Beware! Even if you don’t live near the MILL
      This small neighborhood cannot absorb 38 Plus homes and 84 Plus cars. Not to mention the speeding fed-ex trucks for Amazon deliveries. The two way road is problematic and narrow, measuring as little as 18 feet in places near the MILL. Even at its widest it is too narrow for 2 large vehicles
      The Save The Children site on a busy main road is the same size as the MILL and is being developed with only 16 units on a larger parcel. Why must a small residential neighborhood be straddled with a Monster of a project. Who is benefiting? Should a few be allowed to profit at the expense of an entire neighborhood?

  9. The MILL is located within the 100 year flood plain. So there are evident wetland issues.
    The neighborhood cannot absorb 38 Plus homes and 84 Plus cars. Plus the fed-ex and Amazon traffic that it will generate The street near the MILL measures 18 feet in parts. Even at its widest, it is a problematic, narrow, two way street. Compounding this the MILL is directly on the road with no benefit of sidewalk or buffer

    The Text Amendment amounts to a change in the zoning laws and may very well affect other neighborhoods with historic structures. So Beware if you don’t live near the MILL and think it’s a good idea
    Look at the Save The Children site. Only 16 condos will be developed there and that is on over 3 acres in a commercial area. You must ask yourself why a small quite neighborhood should be ruined to benefit a few. Why? Who benefits from the Monster that will be created?

    • I live at 62 Richmondville Avenue and have lived in the area my whole life. I remember playing there when it was a Plastic Factory. My grandfather worked there when it was Lee’s Mill.
      As an RTM member from District, I’ve had many questions and concerns come my way. All of them legitimate.
      Nothing can or will happen without going through the process. Trust, this one will be a long process.
      I urge everyone in the neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods to come to the Mill this Thursday September 12th for a meeting “with the neighbors” hosted by those looking to introduce the text and amendment allowing the developers to BEGIN the process.
      Let’s all listen and go from there.

      • Disturbing news after combing through the P&Z application is that the developers may seek to develop existing historic homes in the area,
        And there are several directly opposite . These can be turned into 4!and 5 unit affordable housing units. Thereby creating even higher density

        • Oh yeah, drive out the deplorable natives by strategically colonizing. That’s a popular developer tactic for harvesting value from vulnerable traditional neighborhoods. Yet another reason to consider a Local Historic District. At least you’ll be at the table instead of being (just) on the menu.

          • Morley I love the idea…how can we do this?
            I can see the makings of a “divide and conquer” by offering some
            neighbors high prices for vulnerable properties.

            • You might start by seeing if you have a small core of historic homeowners near the mill that might be down for it. A Local Historic District is essentially an ordinance which is established by a vote of those property owners within the proposed boundaries. If two thirds of the ballots are returned in the affirmative, the RTM may enact the district. So do that math with the assumption that the developer will be a definite “no” vote. If you get the clear impression that you’ve got a good and supportive group that’s really committed, I’d send a letter ASAP to the Westport Historic District Commission (the public agency that would facilitate this) and ask to be placed upon the agenda of its next public hearing. You could ask it to “take such action as the meeting may determine to vote on initiating the formation of the Richmondville Local Historic District. Or words to that effect.

              Again, this should not be viewed as a plan to halt change as much as a planning device to assist you and your neighbors manage change. It’s a tool which helps conserve the scale, nature and character of your neighborhood. Starting in 2005, other mature neighborhoods in the downtown area (Violet Ln, Gorham Ave, Evergreen Ave, Lincoln St.) have each taken this step, one after the other, in order to address the same kind of developmental and quality of life challenges that your lovely street appears to be facing. Whatever you and your neighbors conclude is the most appropriate way forward, I wish you the best of luck.

  10. Letting this project go trough will cause More Traffic on Richmondville Ave .. Do the Math .. 30+ units x 2 cars per household .. Don’t forget about the extra delivery services to each unit , cleaning services etc … I live on Richmondville .. The road is very narrow with many Speeders due to some folks use it as a shortcut … Many folks who live on the street Never received a letter on intent for this project till yesterday ????

  11. More congested living in a Westport. Turning the town into a city. Can roads and schools handle more? Should a town have to act like a city? How
    Much more density living can Westport take? At a cost of almost $20,000per student to educate in a Westport, what is the impaCT on seniors if property taxes have to rise to pay for the additions?

    Quiet and wonderful town ending? Serious questions and analysis on development should occur first. This will not be the last as 8-30g drives more.

    Bart Shuldman

  12. A very exciting reuse of this building and a big improvement for the neighborhood

    Sent from my iPhone

  13. There are appropriate locations for high-density housing, which are carefully described by the zoning districts in Westport. The site involved in this proposal is located in an “A” residential zone, which does not support the proposed use of this site (Condominiums).

    But, as with most things, there is a wrinkle here – the Mill is currently being used for non-retail office space, which has been the case for many years. This is an extremely quiet area, I have been there during the workday, at the start of the workday and at the end of the workday, and it is always quiet – perhaps due to the variety of occupants and their schedules. And, naturally, there is no one at the Mill outside of M-F business hours, which contributes to the sense of quiet. This area of Richmondville Avenue (and Oak Street as you turn the corner) is the kind of neighborhood that many old-timers think of when they refer to the old days of growing up in Westport – no McMansions, just modest homes where the neighbors know each other – a real neighborhood.

    I have no familiarity with the text amendment and what the applicant(s) are trying to accomplish – but surely it will seek to pave the way for a transformation of the Mill into a 38 unit condominium complex. The question is whether that intensity of use would be consistent with the character of the neighborhood. I doubt the neighborhood thinks so.

  14. While the site plan is small and the parking spaces are hard to count, I got 59, including garages.

  15. I understand the idea that with population growth, we are all going to have to adjust to living in denser arrangements, but this is already a fairly packed neighborhood by Westport standards – not McMansions. Totally echo alarm over traffic and fast driving on a narrow road! I live in corner and am not happy about proposal.

  16. Just curious about what the condos will be selling for. The ones on the former Save the Children site are on the market for $2.5 to $3.5 MILLION!

    • Just a guess, the developers will say on the higher side to make us all feel good about the value of our homes
      Realistically in this Market?? My guess is the 7 to 8 range. If 2 or 3 bedrooms this this will become ideal rentals.. not what any of the locals will want

  17. I’ll make this prediction; after the 38 units are built, the new residents will decry the fact that Richmondville is “dangerous” and that they cannot safely walk to, say, Coffee An’. They will loudly demand 5 foot wide sidewalks on both sides of the street (which might likely involve some taking of private property and the removal of a few big trees) plus crosswalks. The town, which never misses a chance vandalize traditional streetscapes with heavy handed urbanism, will cheerfully comply. When it’s all over Richmondville will be nearly unrecognizable.

  18. 38 units on 2.41 acres of land came at the perfect time of BOE rezoning, perfect for the town

  19. Installing Much Needed speed bumps on Richmondville has been Denied Twice … I’ve needed to jump out of the way a few times , due to the Excessive Speed … If the plans include includes having permanent Speed Bumps on the road , may Sweeten the Deal ……..

  20. No threat of 8-30g now that we have the moratorium. Good.
    Does westport really need any more “market rate” condos? Granted that this is a unique location, but it seems as if a glut of condos are coming on line now.

  21. As someone who lives in the neighborhood I think this is a dreadful idea. The traffic on Richmondville is already bad especially where the road narrows. The speed with which people drive down the road is dangerous and I’ve nearly been hit on a number of occasions when walking my dog. The increase of traffic, especially during commuting hours will only make a bad situation worse. In my mind there is no good way to look at this. The Mill is a historic building sitting on a very small plot of land, land that I have to imagine is in the flood zone and the watershed. To squeeze 38 units on that property along with a pool and a garage seems ludicrous at best. The increase of people, the services they will need, the traffic, the light and noise pollution will impact those of us who live close to The Mill. The real estate market is sluggish, we have excess capacity in town. Do we really need more congestion and density housing? The thought of this makes my head spin. I am extremely disgusted that such a proposal is being made. The proposal is clearly a bad idea and one that would only serve to diminish this neighborhood I live in not add to it – and it will surely diminish the real estate values of the homes that abut The Mill. Bad idea! And I am insulted by the developers trying to position this as a way of preserving a historic piece of Westport or diminishing traffic. We weren’t born yesterday!

  22. If I lived on Richmondville and woke up to this news I might consider forming a very small Local Historic District – one that included the mill.
    It’s not a perfect plan. But it would be an effective part of a larger plan.

  23. Years back, I owned a condo in what was the former Williams Soap Factory upstate. It had lots of charm- oversize windows, wood floors, rustic beams and exposed brick. The look was very similar to this structure. But it was SO noisy- I could hear my neighbor’s clock radio alarm from floors away. You can only imagine… The roof eventually leaked and the association sued the developer. It was rewarded for damages to the affected units – first successful suit of its kind in CT, we were told. If this passes, I hope for the residents’ sake, they soundproof the units and prepare this old building correctly!

  24. FELLOW NEIGHBORS ACTUALLY AFFECTED BY THIS – My family was stuck in the city during the 2nd Ave Subway construction project. During the peak of the mess of construction – several years – it was impossible to sell our apt without taking a significant loss. With multiple economists predicting a recession, you may very well need to sell your house in the near future – plus, there’s a glut of houses for sale here already due to the middle school situation. Do you want to take the chance of having your property value plummet indefinitely, trapping you here if you need to move? Imagine messy, noisy construction vehicles coming up and down this narrow road for months on end – followed by slews of additional vehicles for the new residents once they move in. Additional traffic on our street will add to what we can all agree is a dangerous situation for children and pedestrians who dare to walk along Richmondville, not to mention the increased noise, light pollution, strains on our school. Finally and importantly, we must fight to preserve the wetlands – do it now before the ball gets rolling and this becomes a done deal.

  25. Nothing scientific here at all but at 8 am there were 8 cars in the lot

    11:35 am 34 cars

    Far cry from 84

    • Many developers these days start out by stating that whatever density deathstar they’re looking to perpetrate will – wait for it – reduce traffic.
      Of course, it’s nearly always one of those “who are you gonna believe – me or your lying eyes?” kind of things. And it has become a bit of a running gag in some circles. Still, applicants keep doing it. I wonder who they’re listening to.

      • Yes Morley, that’s just what the game plan was last might RE: 41 Richmondville…..38 families and 84 vehicles will bring a brighter traffic future for all! The good news is they expect to sell the condos for $500 plus a square foot which amounts to 100% more than the average square foot in our neighborhood. If they can’t get that, the price will be reduced or RENTALS…..renters will outweigh owners!

        • Why would anyone believe these would go for 550 a square foot when the the neighborhood goes for 300 sq ft

          The math tells me these will be a 600k , a great investment for those who buy and eventually rent

        • Hmmm, that DOES sound like a brighter future – for the owners of 41 Richmondville, anyway.

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