Roundup: Outdoor Dining And Fitness; Downtown Flowers and Barber; More

Last night, the Planning & Zoning Commission took steps to hear 2 COVID-related text amendments. Both respond to the changing business environment in town, and will be voted on July 23.

One amendment would extend temporary outdoor dining permits through the end of March 2021. Commissioners spoke of their desire to support local restaurants during an uncertain time, and reassure owners that investments they make for outdoor dining will be worthwhile beyond summer.

The second proposed text amendment would extend similar restaurant flexibility to fitness studios and gyms hoping to temporarily locate equipment outdoors. This applies to facilities like JoyRide, nearly all of which are locally owned.

Drafts of both text amendments will be posted Monday for review by the public. Comments may be emailed ( To request a Zoom link to participate with “in-person” testimony at the July 23 meeting, email

Romanacci’s Xpress is one of 3 Railroad Place restaurants with outdoor dining.

The pots and flower barrels lining Main Street, and hanging from poles throughout downtown, look gorgeous.

But they don’t water themselves.

The Westport Downtown Merchants Association needs volunteers. Watering takes about an hour a day. To learn more about the sign-up system — and how to choose your time — email

Main Street planters

Speaking of downtown: There will be one less barber next month.

Ron Provenzano — owner of the shop named for himself at 190 Main Street, in the old Sally’s Place space — is closing around August 7. He, his wife and their children are moving to Wilmington, North Carolina.

It’s not COVID-related, he says. His wife’s business is booming, and she loves that area.

Ron has been in his present shop, above Le Rouge Aaartisan Chocolates, for 6 years. That follows more than a dozen on Railroad Place.

With the closing the other day of Compo Barbers, 2 old-school men’s hair cutters are gone. Westporters will miss them both.

Ron Provenzano

Scott Smith writes:

“In all my years enjoying Old Mill Beach and Compo Beach (this social-distanced season, more than ever), I’ve never seen such a large boat working the waters so close to shore.

“I took photos from near the jetty at Soundview Avenue as this sturdy boat churned in a tight loop up and back, just off the far rocks at Compo Cove. No nets or traps; near as I can tell, it looked like it was sluicing a mound of dirt-like material piled amidships over the gunwales with a water jet.

“After an hour or so, the big black boat was off, headed for deep water and turning west.

“Anybody know if the boat was indeed offloading material into the Sound, and if so, where it came from and what it is?” If you have a clue, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Scott Smith)

Westport Library Book Sale donations are back!

Beginning next week, materials will be accepted every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, during any hours the library is open.

Donors should come to the gray brick shed in the upper parking lot. Donations will be quarantined there for 3 days, before being handled by sale volunteers.

You can bring used books, audiobooks, CDs, DVDs, vinyl records, vintage magazines and other ephemera. Please: no water-damaged or mildewed materials, VHS tapes, audiocassettes, or self-recorded CDs and DVDs.  For more information, click here.

New book sale volunteers are always welcome. Help is needed all year to sort, research and price donated materials; provide merchandising and customer support at book sale events, and supervise and train employees with disabilities.  To learn more, email

As noted in yesterday’s Roundup, MoCA Westport’s Helmut Lang exhibition is now open. There’s plenty of room to enjoy the show — just be like these visitors, and wear a mask!

And finally … yesterday’s “06880” story on the Paycheck Protection Program noted the 137 Westport businesses that got loans of at least $150,000, helping them meet payrolls and keep folks employed.

Another Paycheck — Johnny — had a different view of work. Back in 1977, he sang:

12 responses to “Roundup: Outdoor Dining And Fitness; Downtown Flowers and Barber; More

  1. Pat Everson

    Concerning the boat new Company Cove , years ago when I lived at the Old Mill beach I saw this type of ship well off the beach near where he took the picture. They were seeding the oyster beds which were out there at the time. Do not know if they are still there but it is a possibility.

  2. Joyce Barnhart

    My first thought was also seeding oysters. I will be interested to hear what it is. During one of the recent storms, somebody who knows about such things said that storm surges are moderated by oyster beds when the shells are returned to the beds, as the Native Americans and colonists did. But not replacing the shells (since they were in the trash in NY restaurants, for example) meant the surges moved on land with little to slow them and did lots of damage.

  3. Roseann Spengler

    Thanks Dan for all of the music. It mostly mostly puts a smile on my face.

  4. Nancie Rinaldi

    I too saw that boat yesterday. I looked like it was piled high with sand which was being fed into the water. Couldn’t figure out what it was doing out there and was going to pose the question on FB. Seeding the oyster beds seems plausible. Wonder if that’s it?

    • It’s called cultch – old oyster shells – places back onto oyster beds by oyster fishermen like the boat in the picture, to provide attachment points for new young oysters to grow.

  5. Pat Saviano

    Per a friend on the Shellfish Commission. “Yes, I know exactly what the boat was doing. She was depositing clean dead shells (“cultch”) to promote the growth of oysters. These fragments will serve as a substrate for the juvenile oysters (“spat”) when they leave their larval forms. I believe this vessel gets the cured cultch that’s stored on land in the New Haven area.

    This is part of the “bottom aquaculture” process; it cleans the water by adding pumping oysters in places they don’t exist, yields a harvestable crop (in about three years), and some communities even recycle shell from restaurants. I believe this cultch was likely byproduct from oyster picking and chipping”

  6. Cristina Negrin

    Ask Jeff Northrop!

  7. Rindy Higgins

    Yes, I’m on the Wsetport Shellfish Commission. It was Norm Bloom cultching/seeding.

  8. Rindy Higgins

    I’m on the Westport Shellfish Commission. Yes, it was Norm Bloom cultching/seeding.

  9. The vessel you see on the sound I believe is planting
    Shell an important , to do
    During spawning season,
    to maintain a trining Oyster
    Population, . Hope this helps
    You Scott Smith.

  10. No you are correct….it was a grocery shopping gift!

    Sent from my iPhone