Belta’s Farm Subdivision Preserves Open Space

It’s one of Westport’s best-kept secrets: a working farm a few yards from the intersection of Bayberry Lane and Cross Highway.

Since 1946, 4 generations of Beltas have worked the land. Gone are the poultry,  livestock and slaughterhouse. The farm no longer supplies Stew Leonard’s with a ton of tomatoes a day, as it did in the 1970s.

An aerial view of Belta’s Farm from several years ago shows fields, greenhouses, a compost pile (near the top), and two homes (bottom).

But for over 70 years the Beltas have been good neighbors — and great providers of fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers to the neighborhood, plus any other Westporters savvy enough to stop at their stand.

Belta’s Farm Stand, right on the road.

Last week, the Planning & Zoning Commission unanimously approved a plan to subdivide Belta’s Farm into 9 building lots.

The 23-acre site will be developed as an Open Space subdivision. P&Z regulations permit a reduction in lot size, in exchange for land used as open space.

The open space set-aside totals almost 5 acres of the site. Two of the newly approved building lots will be retained by the Belta family, along with existing residential structures.

A proposed new Beltas Farm Road — without an apostrophe, at the request of emergency services — will extend nearly 1,000 feet from Bayberry Lane. It will be served by 2 fire hydrants, and landscaped with 20 shade trees.

The 23-acre Belta’s Farm, at 126 and 128 Bayberry Lane, is outlined in red. Bayberyy, (dark on the left), is partially obscured by trees.

An earlier subdivision plan was denied by P&Z in 2019. It proposed more dwelling units per acre than currently allowed, an agriculture site for farming in lieu of open space, and a seasonal farm stand.

The Belta siblings said, “As we transition to the enjoyment of our retirement years, the time has come to provide for a zoning-compliant and environmentally sensitive development of our property for single family homes.

“We could not be happier with this outcome. It will provide almost 5 acres of open space and conservation easements on over 2 additional acres of the property.

“Our family plans to retain 2 lots for our use. We are very pleased about this. It is good to know that the Beltas can remain a presence on the property and in Westport, as we have for over three-quarters of a century.”

There is no timetable yet for site development.

Connie and Greg Belta, in the field in 2013.

11 responses to “Belta’s Farm Subdivision Preserves Open Space

  1. I have known the Belta family for many years as generous donors to many causes, good neighbors, my main veggie garden consultant and wonderful human beings. I am so happy for them as they can now begin to enjoy retirement. Thanks Greg for everything you’ve done for me. Jack Klinge

  2. Elissa Moses

    Happy for the family. Does this mean they will no longer grow any vegetables or have a farm stand?

  3. Congratulations to Greg and family and to the town for sustaining the last family owned working farm in Westport and for recognizing the wonderful contributions of the Belta family to the town and its people. I am sure that the Beltas will continue to provide the type of education and impact on the education of young people of Fairfield county to learn that food does not come from supermarket shelves. This is truly great news.

  4. Donald Bergmann

    This is a wonderful development and the Belta family and the Town are to be thanked. One aside however, this undertaking contrasts with the subdivision development for the former A.E. Hotchner property on Hillandale Rd. There the builder/developer was able to persuade the P&Z Commission not to require any open space set aside and, instead, pay into the Town real estate purchase fund an amount of only 5% of the value of the several acres being developed for new houses and the demolition of the Hotchner home.
    Don Bergmann

    • Don, As you well know the reason we settled at 5% was because the developer went well above what is required for a subdivision. With a subdivision there is no requirement to protect neighbors views . It’s a mathematical equation coupled with a traffice study and septic/sewer plan.. The Hillendale neighbors received a fence, massisve amounts of screening and were able to have the driveway resited so that car lights wouldn’t shine into bedrooms.. The developer was being a good neighbor and spent time and a lot of money to do the right thing for his fellow Westporters. Our commissiom was very satisfied with this outcome. (as were the neighbors)

  5. Sandra Urist

    I will miss Greg Belta from whom I purchased compost, soil and spent much time talking about beekeeping and gardening over the last 20 years. Enjoy the much deserved retirement. Sandra Urist

  6. Jeff Schwartz

    we live right next door to the Belta farm, and although we have some concerns about the effect on the area, we are happy for the Belta’s and are happy that they we will remain neighbors.

  7. Michael Beeler

    This is bittersweet news. Although I am thrilled for Angie and her family, I am sad for my belly. There is no substitute for vegetables that were in the ground 5 minutes ago. I will also miss my wife’s smile when I brought home a big bouquet of Angie’s wildflowers. And we will miss the freshest eggs… All the best and thank you for all the tomatoes!

  8. Martha mogren

    I cant seem to remember this farm.. although I’m glad for owners.. I hate to se our farm land going to housing! I get it, just hate it!

  9. I, too am happy for the family, but sad for those of us who truly enjoyed their fresh eggs and veggies, as well as the beautiful flowers….

  10. Jack Backiel

    David Meth, If you are a reader of Dan Woog’s 06880, you’ll remember the posting about the farm that’s still operational on North Maple Ave operated by the Stahursky brothers. They’re still going strong and I think Bernie is 87 years old.