Hiawatha Coming Down?

Agendas for the Historic District Commission are straightforward affairs.

The one for its next meeting — Tuesday, November 9, 7:30 p.m., Zoom (click here for the link) starts out like most others.

After approving minutes, the group will “take such action as the meeting may determine to oppose the issuance of the demolition permit” for 171 Compo Road South, 3 Sunrise Road and 5 Minute Man Hill, and “require the full 180-day delay.” The agenda item is mandatory, for houses more than 50 years old.

The next 8 similar items, though, may be contentious. Th language is the same. But the properties are 38, 39, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45 and 47 Hiawatha Lane.

One of the Hiawatha Lane homes on the demolition list.

Those homes would be torn down to make way for Summit Saugatuck’s 157-unit development, off Saugatuck Avenue by I-95 Exit 17.

Area residents have filed a lawsuit in Bridgeport Superior Court to stop construction.

Watch this page. And watch the Zoom.

14 responses to “Hiawatha Coming Down?

  1. I love that blue house.

  2. Carolanne Curry

    These homes are on Hiawatha Lane Extension, therefore in the eye of the the very storm that destructive developer Felix Charney plans to unleash on these homes. And they are saturated with history!

  3. CEASE AND DESIST !!!
    Until the people have been heard by the Court

  4. Interesting view from a staff writer at Staples in InklingNews, these future town leaders don’t necessarily agree with the current old guard of Westport ; https://www.inklingsnews.com/opinions/2021/03/18/westport-needs-to-do-more-than-minimum-with-affordable-housing/

  5. Donald Bergmann

    The above referenced InklingNews story highlights a number of facts, but also alludes to the use of “code words” by people who did not support the Hiawatha Lane 8-30g project. Only one example is cited, though the story seems to imply the use of “code words” by many. Personally, I think it is a mistake for the author to highlight a word used, namely a derivation of “ghetto”, as a way to be critical of those who oppose or who sought to lessen the impact of the Hiawatha Lane 8-30g. Placing emphasis on an ill chosen word and projecting a deeper meaning does a disservice to the issues and the complexities. Westport is working on the issue and I at least think it would be more constructive not to reference one word to suggest a troubling intent in the actions of those who address some of the complexities, including by way of opposition.
    Don Bergmann

    • Bill Strittmatter

      The code words used by many are “neighborhood (or town) character” which is referenced elsewhere in the article linked by InklingNews. I’m sure you would agree that phrase is used by many people making anti-affordable housing/8-30g comments on Dan’s blog.

      It sounds so nice, maybe even New Englandy, that even some purportedly “woke” people seem to think it’s an OK position even though the original premise was to keep Black people (subsequently expanded to lower class and poor people of all colors) out.

      The history of single family (and large lot size) zoning is really interesting if you delve into it.

      • Once again, what you are talking about was put in to place 80 years ago, when minorities couldn’t find jobs because of the their nationality/color of their skin. Surely you would agree that its no where near as bad as it was back then. To level a naturally affordable neighborhood just because it was built before 1990 (requirement for 8-30G points) (why they chose that arbitrary year is beyond me) and over run it with apartments that are mostly market rate, which could ultimately raise taxes on the current homeowners, now making it more expensive and harder to stay in town, just laughs in the face of logic and good sense.

        • Bill Strittmatter

          Hi Marc. The problem is that those decisions made 80 years ago essentially created an economic barrier that remains today. The replacement of normal size, more affordable houses with McMansions over the past 20-30 years further squeezing affordability for even old Westport is primarily due to restrictive zoning making it largely uneconomic for developers to do anything other than what they did. If they could have taken a two acre lot and popped in four 2-3 bedroom houses on 1/2 acre each instead, maybe there wouldn’t be the issue Westport has today and it wouldn’t have been necessary for Westport to throw Hiawatha Lane under the 8-30g bus.

          • Yes, I grew up in Weston and i’ve watched all the sensible homes get demolished in lieu of mansions. But its not because of zoning its because it was an easy way to turn a profit with the influx of New yorkers through the 80’s and 90’s. It just wasn’t as profitable to renovate the older more middle class homes, Now thanks to 8-30g the rest of the sensible homes are being demolished for large apartment complexes which i’m sorry if you find this racist but.. It does destroy the town character. People move to places like this to get away from the city life, its not right to force it on the current residents. No matter which way you put it its all about greed, the sensible homes are always the most profitable to get rid of, but that doesn’t make it right. 8-30G should be restricted to open space. And just to add, most of the the units going in are studio and 1 bedroom. So how are you going to start a family to make good use of the school system that everyone wants with a 1 bedroom or studio? Are the kids expected to all be crammed in one room with the their parents? That sounds fair. <—sarcasm The houses that will promote lower income residents that want to start families are small single family homes. Thats exactly what hiawatha lane is.

          • I correct myself, there aren’t anymore studios, but the fact still remains that most of the units are 1 bedroom

  6. Cristina Negrin

    So sad

  7. Felix Charney is no friend to Westport or its Saugatuck residents folks….just remember that. He can single handedly stop this insane project and protect the neighborhood. He chooses to barrel ahead and push this through. Probably for the sake of money or winning or maybe ego. Epic fail.

  8. There is pending litigation. Should HDC be hearing and rendering an opinion on this?

  9. This issue goes beyond affordable housing… Does anyone ever consider the impact the added traffic these multi-family developments will have in our already badly congested roads? Maybe that question should be a primary factor for deciding where and what to build (or not). This particular development, for example, is likely to spawn over 300 more cars operating several times daily within a very confined and heavily travelled road/area.

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