The Post Road: Logging On

If you’ve been stuck at the westbound Post Road light just before McDonald’s — and who hasn’t? — you’ve noticed a very large, very high pile of logs on the property next to Roseville Road.

And you’ve been very glad the light changed, so you could drive away before it perhaps all started rolling down onto the road.

Many Westporters have asked themselves (and “06880”): Is it safe to store the logs there? Is there an issue with trucks accessing and exiting the site? Is it even legal?

The Post Road wood pile.

I asked Peter Gelderman, an attorney with Berchem Moses who often does municipal work for Westport. He says:

The property is owned by a local attorney, William Taylor.  The town has commenced legal proceedings to remove the logs.  The town considers the logs to be a zoning violation.

Mr. Taylor has taken the position that the logs are “landscape materials” and therefore are permitted pursuant to a permit that was issued in the eighties.  There are also several administrative appeals pending, brought by Mr. Taylor, challenging rulings from the ZBA and a local hearing officer.

There is a scheduled status conference with the court on March 14 to discuss/schedule a hearing on the town’s motion for injunction in our enforcement action. That motion seeks an order of the court mandating immediate removal of the logs.

“06880” will keep readers posted on the proceedings.

And — like everyone else — we will keep our fingers crossed, every time we drive past those precarious logs.

30 responses to “The Post Road: Logging On

  1. Though I have no problem with the logging use of the property, I do have a problem with Taylor claiming a “landscape material” usage..he knows that’s bull shit, we know it’s bullshit and the zoning enforcement officer SHOULD know it’s bullshit….not a stick of wood off the site is used for any type of landscaping…it’s a commercial fire wood operation with wood publicly split and cut solely for that purpose…Taylor is a liar and should be taken to task for being so.

  2. John karrel

    One assumes it’s relevant to mention Taylor’s renting the space to Robert Porzio, owner of Bert’s Tree Service?

  3. Morley Boyd

    So when the town gets caught dumping (contaminated) construction fill in a local park, it’s totally acceptable to use the same “stockpiling landscape materials” excuse – but when a private citizen gives it a go, not so much? There actually was a time when most people in local government here felt the town should set an example and aim to be beyond reproach.

  4. Peter Maloney

    Perhaps 06880 should add balance to the story by soliciting a statement of clarity from Bert, the lessor/renter of the parcel. To hear him tell it(as i did), he is facilitating the recycling of tree material, from the denuding of Westport that is going on. Maybe we should cut down fewer carbon dioxide eating trees.

  5. Thanks, Dan! Another Westport mystery solved!

  6. Susan Iseman

    That lot has been an empty eyesore for as long as I can remember, long before Bert began renting it.

  7. If you really want to have a near death experience, just try to take a right on red at the McDonalds onto the post rd…. Just say no.

  8. Chip Stephens SHS 73

    The location was cited over 3 years ago by Al Gratrix and I, as Enforcement officers of the P and Z. The P and Z had various contentious application meetings by the owners who are intent on placing a new structure on that property with access to Roseville Rd. The owners were repeatedly turned down and were rude and offensive to members of the P and Z, which was not a factor in the decision, we did not believe it safe or wise to add a curb cut on Roseville right across from the MacDonalds there. The offender with the logs was told this was illegal, not only the storage but processing of the logs, the parking on the right of way and often right on the Post Road. Both the owner and the offending commercial “landscaper” have been ignoring the order to stop the madness, to comply with local and state laws, and they continue to threaten his neighbor with his log piles looming over his building.
    Rules are nothing without enforcement, without strong penalties, and without actual execution of penalties. Maybe public outcry or a serious accident will wake up the offending owners and logger.

  9. Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

    Rumor has it that Mr. Taylor is now claiming that the logs are “displaced refugees from Pole land” and therefore protected by the UN’s humanitarian charter.

  10. Richard Johnson

    It is astounding to me that a commercial logging operation is permitted to operate directly adjacent to a busy artery. And I mean directly adjacent – long before there were logs stacked next to the road, there have been people working literally within the town setback line, splitting logs, unloading tree material, etc. Both the owner and lessor are to blame for the dangerous conditions which long predate this immediate issue. It is one of a number of longstanding issues in Westport that you’d just never seen in similar towns like New Canaan. Neither the lawyer owner nor the tree service will get my business.

    • Douglass Davidoff

      As a Westporter-in-exile (I live in Bridgeport) with 75 years of family connections to the town, and as a longtime Dan Woog reader, I have to say that “FOFF’s” comment debases this town discussion forum like no other I have ever seen. You are crass, misogynistic, angry, and ugly. Oh, and unrealistic; who’s going to leave town because of a comment on 06880? But if that’s your true style, “FOFF,” and to put it more politely, I invite you to head beyond the town line and stay there.

  11. Robert Mitchell

    Perhaps another consideration is that Robert Porzio, the owner of Bert’s Tree Service that rents the space, has pleaded guilty to serious income tax fraud and is facing jail time. Might change the situation.

  12. Barbara Wanamaker

    Speaking of log jams, how about the seriously dangerous conditions caused by the drive-up window at Starbuck’s? Just a few days ago three lanes of traffic were backed up because of the need to get a coffee. Try to imagine emergency vehicles needing that road to get to someone to save a life.

  13. Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

    Yes. Westporters have proven through two world wars, a pandemic and multiple shortages of toilet paper that they can handle anything with nary a complaint. But if you want to arouse (self)righteous indignation in all Westporters at the same time, just prevent them from immediate access to their essential mocha latte venti.

    • Your comments are Not Funny , more like Disturbing Mr Buchroeder !!!

      • Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

        Dear D. Ford (please provide your preferred salutation so I can respond more appropriately/kindly). Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to provide me with constructive criticism. Try the Starbucks decaf. It’s pretty good. Not as good as Dunkin’ but then, what is?

    • Jeff Arciola

      Couldn’t agree more Eric.

  14. Char Valante

    Let us not forget, how many times Bert has helped neighbors during storms to make roads passable/safe. He was an unsung hero on this blog in a special edition
    I know of numerous other situations where he has helped someone in town out of the kindness of his heart. I agree with Peter Maloney that there is more to this story.

  15. Arturo bidal

    Everyone needs to calm down and realize that if this is the biggest issue of having to drive by a pile of logs you are living a pretty dam good life. I can assure you that one of those logs would not be able to roll in the road if you had 10 people there to try and make it happen and I would gladly like to see it if anyone would like to accept that challenge. The reason that lot looks so full right now is because of the trucker shortage and high fuel prices the entire back of the lot was cleared out and sold this past summer/winter look for yourself as you drive down Roseville road, but when the fuel prices skyrocket and the truck driver staff went down it brought the process from a sprint to a marathon. Not to mention the renter of the log Bert Porzio would give the skin off his back to any westport citizen in need. If I called Bert up and told him a tree fell on my house last night but I couldn’t afford to take it away at the moment I guarantee he would help out and be there the next day. Many of you might think well aren’t all of those logs worth a lot of money and the blunt answer is no not in this economy the saw mills are still buying logs that being said less then 5% of those logs in that yard are mill logs the rest are pulpwood which isn’t paying much of anything right now even if they had truck drivers to take it out due to fuel prices being so high. The rest of the wood is either ground into mulch or made into firewood both very high fuel processes. I think everyone needs to just mind there own business and if it bothers you so much maybe you should consider going to school and getting your cdl, and buy a 300k dollar logging truck to help out.

  16. Let us all take a deep breath. The biggest issue (for me aside from Zoning) has to be the obvious danger of these huge pile of timber that could find itself tumbling onto the Post Rd. or onto a curious kid who could not resist a jump onto that pile. That is my biggest fear.

  17. Paddy Duecy

    I appreciated the levity, Mr. B. We moved here 5 years ago and have wondered, every time we drive by it, why the lovely town of Westport would allow a huge pile of very big and heavy logs to lie right next to the main route through town. Surely there is a better (and cheaper?) place to pile them? They seem VERY out of place, and quite possibly dangerous.

    • Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

      Hi Paddy, Unfortunately I left Westport in ‘78 and moved to Ohio (where there’s nothing worth making fun of). I was a lost soul until my buddy Dan started 06880. Since then, every time I need a laugh I log on and have never been disappointed. As to the logs sitting on the corner of Roseville, I can’t offer an explanation except that somebody’s got to be making a lot of money given the cost of real estate in Westport. Maybe they could tear down the Starbucks and use the logs to build logominium housing.

  18. Douglass Davidoff

    Golly, “FOFF,” your second instance of trash talk impels me to respond again. Your comments debase this town discussion forum like no other I have ever seen. You are crass, angry, and ugly. You introduce ideology where it rarely belongs in town business. You are unrealistic; you say again that people should leave town because of a local disagreement. If that’s your true style, “FOFF,” and to put it more politely (as I proposed in my comment above), I invite you to head beyond the town line and stay there. I doubt you’ll do it; who would?

  19. Bobbie Herman

    Dan — how can you allow comments like “FOFF”‘s remain on your blog? Aside from his very ugly and profane language, he is breaking your cardinal rule by not giving his full name.

  20. Donald Bergmann

    This appears to be a zoning violation, but, I sense, without any enforcement teeth, e.g. significant fines or a Court order, with contempt of court enforcement. Hence, it appears that nothing can be done so long as the operator ignores our zoning regulation. I am also interested in an answer from Dan Woog as to Bobbie Herman’s above comment.

    • Bobbie Herman

      Don — Dan wrote me privately that he removed the comments. As he (Dan) said, he can’t be awake 24/7. We all know he does his best to keep comments civil.

  21. Along with my siblings, I was the former owner of this property. The town imposed a more restrictive setback rule that changed everything for this property, which remains the last, undeveloped piece on route one in Westport. No other property in town was effected in this way. The permit referred to was applied for in the late 70s, for an anticipated 6500 square foot, three story building. We were already following through with the permit requirements, by building extensive retaining walls and screening with trees along Roseville. But the more restrictive double setback, which reduced the proposed building to a third of what we had been previously allowed to build, was imposed before we broke ground. One of my brothers ran a top soil sales business out of there for many years until his death because that was the best use. There will probably continue to be businesses like this because the “new” owners’ hands are tied by this very unfair and restrictive setback rule. I wish everyone well in this scenario that my family struggled with for many years.

  22. joshua stein

    Oh please with the sensationalism. For those worried about logs rolling into traffic, have you actually gone to look at the logs, or sought a professional opinion if you cannot form one yourself? I drive by it all of the time and have not once ever worried nor kept my fingers crossed while driving by. There is nothing in the picture posted that shows a log that can roll off into traffic. Lets see some pictures of actual potential hazard. If you are worried about logs rolling every time you drive by, you should be worried about driving on most roads in Connecticut, when a branch or tree can unexpectedly fall onto the roadway while you are walking on it or driving on it.

    Now lets focus on facts: can someone please share the permit from the 80s? I briefly looked in the town’s online records but could not find it. Lets look at that and zoning regs. If there is a variance and its a permitted activity, time to move on, and focus on more important things. If its not a permitted activity, breaks variances, zoning regs, etc, then sure lets debate it.

    Last, to someone else’s point, the Starbucks drive thru line is a far larger issue in my opinion. I can say that almost every time I drive by there during peak times, there is almost an accident and I pass by very carefully because I’ve almost been hit multiple times.

  23. Eric William Buchroeder 😷 SHS ‘70

    To Mr. Stein’s point above, I wear a mask and therefore, am safe. The data is quite clear: There has never been a recorded incident of a person wearing a mask who was simultaneously struck by a rolling log while driving on US1.

  24. Yes , the logs could break loose causing major issues .. The EPA should look into soil contamination , due to many 5 gallon cans of oil can be seen at times on the property , due to hydraulic leaks on the equipment .. What could the property be used for in the future ? How about cleaning it up and leasing it to the Toyota Dealership ??