Judge Rules In Favor Of Cross Street Development

In October 2018, the Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously rejected a plan to build a 6-story, 81-unit apartment complex between Lincoln and Cross Streets, off Post Road West.

The 7-0 vote was based on fire, traffic and other safety concerns, as well as historic preservation.

The developer — Cross Street LLC — appealed.

Last week, state Superior Court Judge Andrew Roraback sustained the appeal. He noted that despite evidence supporting fire and traffic safety issues, and historic preservation, none of those reasons “clearly outweighed” the need for affordable housing.

Artist’s rendering of the proposed Cross Street complex.

The proposal had been brought under Connecticut’s 8-30g statute. It allows a developer to override local zoning regulations if at least 10% of a town’s housing stock is not “affordable.” Westport’s is not — although affordable housing built before 1990 is not considered under the formula.

However, the judge added that the developer must ask the town’s Traffic Authority — which, in Westport, is the Board of Selectmen — to remove some existing on-street parking spaces, to accommodate the sight lines needed.

A number of neighborhood residents rely on street parking. Driveways are small and narrow; some lack garages, and some homes have multiple tenants.

The town has 20 days from the issuance of the decision to appeal.

27 responses to “Judge Rules In Favor Of Cross Street Development

  1. Nancie Rinaldi

    As a former resident of Lincoln Street (and someone who had to park on the street) this is a horrible decision all the way around. Just awful. Does the town have any recourse???

  2. GOOD!

    • Michael Calise

      What the hell is that supposed to mean? Good for overcrowded beaches. Good for traffic jams. Good for overcrowed schools.Good for historic neighborhood destruction. Good for larger Police and Fire Departments. Good for higher taxes.

  3. Raymond O'Sullivan

    Oh my god, “Affordable Housing in Westport”?!?! Is a 1 bedroom going to cost 2500 a month, compared to the 4000 monthly mortgage payment!!! HAHAHAHA.

  4. Existing affordable housing on Lincoln Street will be torn down to make way for a handful of UNAFFORDABLE housing units mixed in to the proposed 81 units. What a shame that predatory developers get to abuse the 8-30g statute to their profit. Here’s a suggestion ; if local developers really want to build an affordable opportunity perhaps they could build on some of the acreage their McMansions sit on , after all wouldn’t that be the epitome of making the unaffordable affordable?-

  5. Dick Lowenstein

    Who is the builder? Who is its lawyer?

  6. Jan Carpenter

    This story is like groundhog day. The only thing that’s going to help is for the (state) Democratic elected official from Westport and the same from Fairifeld (where I live) to bring this before the legislature to thoughtfully update the law. I’m not saying affordable housing is not a good idea, I’m just saying the current law doesn’t work, is too one sided in favor of predatory developers and takes all public planning out of the hands of the town. It doesn’t help for any Republic to chime in. The Democraticly controlled House, Senate and Executive Branch will only do something if their party demands it.

  7. Mary Ann Neilson

    Why is there no map of the proposed project on line.

  8. Roberta Tager

    Too bad ☹️

    Sent from my iPhone Bobbi

    >

  9. Michael Calise

    This is a horrible decision. 8-30G is destroying Connecticuts small towns.
    We must get the current administation out of Hartford.

  10. I know Lincoln Street. The neighbors need the on-street parking since it’s such a dense neighborhood. So there’s only one thing to do: the Board of Selectmen, acting in its capacity as the Traffic Authority, needs to DENY the elimination of the on-street parking spaces which are needed to satisfy the sight line issue. Period.

  11. Brian Foreman

    Abominable. This is almost like living under a Nazi regime There is no good reason to allow this development in an already overdeveloped area without sufficient infrastructure to allow this town to work efficiently. The judge has no idea regarding zoning , planning and the necessity to coordinate the efficient working of vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

    • Living under a Nazi regime? You must be quite young. But Morley has it right – the Board of Selectmen can deny it.

      • Arline Gertzoff

        The judge’s decision is unacceptable.The Board of Selectman must deny as the density is totally disproportionate to the neighborhood .

  12. Rosa Balestrino

    The building as proposed is a fire trap. How is that helpful to the neighborhood? And what a flagrant disregard for the safety and lives of the prospective tenants of the building. We should go and picket in front of the developer’s house. And Westport should build its own affordable housing instead of being held hostage by nonsensical laws and predatory developers. Since the developer is only interested in money, perhaps Westport should buy him out of the properties involved and build something more appropriate – elderly housing right-sized for the location and density.

  13. That an out of town judge can decide that the “need for affordable housing” in Westport should outweigh logic, appearance, safety, convenience and the wishes of a cohesive neighborhood is cause for the selectmen to simply override his decision and spend the money to keep this in court. Oh, and mike Calise, this has NOTHING to do with the fact that our state gov’t is Democratic….dozens of red states have “affordable housing” regs that trump
    (yes, pun intended) local zoning .

    • Jan Carpenter

      The law needs to be changed. Democrats are (currently) the only ones that can do it. As far as I can see, they have no intention of doing so. So, we need to ask our local elected Democrats to speak up on our behalf. if we do, and they don’t, then we have only one recourse and that is at the polls.

  14. I attended the hearing before the P&Z on this proposal. While I believe that affordable housing in Westport is a good thing, this particular property has a number of serious issues regarding the plans that have been set forward. In the meeting there was an absolute “no” from the fire department based on the water pressure available in that specific area to support a firefighting effort for six story all wood structure of this size, and accessibility. A second significant issue is with the ingress and egress not only the residents, but for all of the trucks that will need to be on the perimeter of the property given the limited space in the on-premise parking lot. This building will destroy the Lincoln Street historic district community.

    The developer, a Westport resident, does not care about these issues. This is simply a legal matter of how to use 8-30G regardless of the impact on the community. A quick Google search on the participants will tell you everything you ned to know about what we can expect regarding the quality of the development.

    Please stand up for your Lincoln Street community and ask our town officials to deny the extended parking requirement.

  15. Andrew Colabella

    8-30g needs to be repealed. 30% of the units are affordable, the town loses its points after 7 years, other existing affordable housing complexes before 1991 that have been updated and expanded so not count.

    The reason why people move to Westport is not just it’s low taxes, amenities, recreational features, and being close to the city, but that it’s a small town with a small town feel.

    Now these precious modest historical homes are going be towered over by a 67’ tall building with over 100 units, creating congestion and tightly packed living on top of another? One fire, and that whole area is compromised.

    The greed within these developers is hideous,
    atrocious and detrimental to the environment and milieu of the neighborhoods.

    8-30g should benefit the homeowner, renter and leaser. The points should carry for more than 7 years. It should apply to more than just 30%. This force to constantly redevelop will lead to overdevelopment, the loss of the small town feel, push for expansion of departments and employment in the town, thus driving up costs of employment and pushing everything further upward.

    There are small affordable homes in Westport. However, they’re being purchased by developers to be knocked down to build McMansions and oversized homes built to the border of the footprint of the yard.

    The struggle to produce modest, affordable convenient, and fair housing is compromised by careless developers taking advantage of the town for greed. The development of Post Road West, Hale’s Court, Ketchum St, and other existing areas serve with great purpose and eventually Existing Canal Park and Crescent park will be updated.

    This decision, a burden to the historical, conservation, environment, and pleasant low traffic milieu of the neighborhood, will be destroyed because of a judge.

    I am for affordable housing, where it is appropriate and fitting to keeping the modest small New England town character that we are and have been since our founding.

  16. Mark Bachmann

    This is a travesty.

    Developers seem to own this town. Private greed operating under the dishonest cover of “affordable housing” is giving the idea of affordable housing a bad name.

    If there’s still any way to fight this development, let’s get on with it. Where are our town leaders when we need them?

  17. Larry Liesner

    Bernard’s project has a big piece of property on the Post Rd to use. Why does he have to, basically, take a crap onto Lincoln St with this driveway/colon that he claims he needs. Thus ruining a perfectly lovely street. Nice guy.

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