Roundup: Hamlet At Saugatuck; Blumenthal At Library; Menorah At Trader Joe’s …

It took 5 hours.

But 4 months after developers presented a text amendment allowing a retail/residential/hotel complex in Saugatuck, the Planning & Zoning Commission voted 5-1 to approve it.

The decision — which came after changes in height, setbacks and floor area coverage — is a key step in the redevelopment of the train station neighborhood. ROAN Ventures can now apply for a site plan approval of its Hamlet at Saugatuck project.

P&Z approval requires that 20% of the slips at any new marina be available for free public use, and that there be paddleboard and kayak tie-ups; design standards beyond those required for a typical special permit including maintaining the New England coastal village aesthetic reflected in the most recent renderings, and no extra height without significant public outdoor areas along the river.

The text amendment includes the rectangle between Riverside Avenue, Railroad Place, Franklin Street and Charles Street, plus land on Riverside Avenue, and the private parking lot above Luciano Park now used for boat storage.

ROAN envisions The Hamlet as an economic engine for residents and visitors, and a gateway to the rest of the town. The concept includes:

  • A boutique hotel with rooms, condo-type residences, pools, and underground parking.
  • New shops and restaurants, featuring local artisans.
  • A year-round gourmet market on the now-private railroad parking lot, with local vendors.
  • A marina.
  • A boardwalk along the river similar to Bartaco’s, with the goal of connecting  Saugatuck and Westport via waterway.
  • Re-skinning and beautification of the 21 Charles Street office building — often called “the ugliest” in Westport.

Part of the proposed Hamlet at Saugatuck marina.


Senator Richard Blumenthal is the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston’s guest this Friday (December 16, 10 a.m., Westport Library). The event is open to the public.

The senator will discuss a range of topics. Afterward, former 1st Selectman Jim Marpe will lead a Q-and-A.

Senator Richard, last March in Westport. (Photo/Dan Woog)


Why schlep all the way to Stew Leonard’s for a menorah lighting?

We’ve got one right here in Westport!

The 2nd night of Hanukkah will be celebrated next Monday (December 19, 7 p.m.), outside Trader Joe’s

The lighting will be led by Rabbis Levi Stone (director of the Chabad Schneerson Center) and Yehoshua Hecht (Beth Israel Chabad(.

The ceremony includes live music. Chanukah gelt and cookies, doughnuts and dreidels will be distributed to all. For more information, call 203-635-4118.


The Town of Westport posted this photo on social media:

It shows local and store officials celebrating Lux Bond & Green’s just-in-time-for-the-holidays renovation. Congratulations, of course!

But I am sure every downtown shopper — and every other merchant in Brooks Corner — joins me in asking: “Can you please get rid of those 3 valuable parking spots marked (ridiculously and archaically) ‘Reserved parking Lux Bond & Green curbside pickup’?”


Aztec Tw0-Step 2.0 — featuring Westporters Rex Fowler, Dodie Pettit and friends — headlines a December 16 (7:45 p.m.) show at Fairfield Theater.

Click here for tickets, and more information on these folk/rock legends.


From folk-rock to jazz: Harvie S. — an award-winning bassist, educator, composer, arranger, and producer — stars at this week’s Jazz at the Post (Thursday, December 15, shows at 7:30 and 8:45 p.m.; dinner at 6:30 p.m.).

He’s joined by drummer Jason Tiemann, Norwalk native and keyboardist Rob Aries, and saxophonist Greg “The Jazz Rabbi” Wall.

There’s a $15 cover. Reservations are strongly recommended:

Harvie S.


Tom Kretsch celebrates his birthday this Saturday (December 17, 4 to 6 p.m.) with an art opening.

Gordon Fine Arts (1701 Post Road East) hosts the talented Westport photographer and his new exhibit “The Color of Water: Capturing the Sound and Beyond.”

Tom invites everyone to see his serene images, enjoy cake, and meet interesting people. For more on his work, click here.

(Photo/Tom Kretsch)


Congratulations to  Barry Beattie. The Staples High School girls soccer coach has been named New England region Coach of the Year by United Soccer Coaches, the 30,000-member group of professional, college, high school and club coaches. He is now in contention for national Coach of the Year honors, to be announced at the organization’s annual banquet next month in Philadelphia.

This fall, Beattie led the Wreckers to their 2nd straight state championship. With a strong core of returning players, the future looks very bright for both Beattie and his team.

Coach Barry Beattie (to the right of the scoreboard, and the 2022 state champion Staples High School girls soccer team. (Photo/David G. Whitham, courtesy of The Ruden Report)


Today’s fascinating “Westport … Naturally” close-up of a working spider web comes from Matt Murray:

(Photo/Matt Murray)


And finally … in honor of the great photo above:

24 responses to “Roundup: Hamlet At Saugatuck; Blumenthal At Library; Menorah At Trader Joe’s …

  1. Will Rich answer why he lied about his service in Vietnam?

    • Why don’t you go to this and ask him yourself?

    • He did lie about Viet Nam. That’s the only lie you can communicate. Compare that to the former president thousands of lies and lewd behavior. Humans have weakness. There are various levels of human faults. I am proud of our senators and ashamed that our country would elect a con man who only cares about money and himself.

    • David J Loffredo

      Clinton’s Draft Deferrment

      In the autumn of 1969, Clinton entered the draft but received a high number (311) and was never called to serve — however, Clinton made every effort to avoid the draft prior to entering it.

      First, Bill Clinton received education deferments while at Georgetown and Oxford (where he helped organize demonstrations against the war). Second, Clinton attempted to avoid the draft for four years by enrolling, but never joining, the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). Clinton had enrolled in the ROTC hoping to avoid military service for four years, but, wanting a future in politics, had a change of heart and entered the draft.

      In December 1969, safe from the draft with his high lottery number, Clinton changed his mind about joining the ROTC program and wrote a letter to the director of the ROTC program thanking him “for saving me from the draft” and regretted misleading him by not revealing the extent of his opposition to the war. The letter was leaked by the Pentagon to ABC news early in the 1992 fueled criticism of candidate Clinton’s character.

      Later in the 1992 campaign, it became known that Clinton’s uncle had attempted to get Bill Clinton a Navy Reserve assignment during the Vietnam war. Clinton said he didn’t know anything about it to the press on September 3, 1992 but a day later admitted that a former draft board member had informed him of his uncles’ attempt several months before.

  2. Congrats to Staples Soccer. Quite an accomplishment!

  3. Westport doesn’t need the Hamlet project. We have too much building and development in our small town as it is. The construction near our train station will be a nightmare for years. Pays to pay attention who we vote on the P&Z board. Too bad. Our roads are gridlocked now. Cant imagine what the future holds.

  4. Saw the headline and thought Saugatuck Elementary School (or The Saugatuck on Bridge Street?) was going to put on a production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet! 🙂

  5. Dick Lowenstein

    Re: Lux, Bond parking. The only legally reserved parking spaces are for handicap parking. All others, like the ones at Stop and Shop, can be used by anyone.

  6. Am I the only one who actually likes 21 Charles? I’ve been fascinated by the sculptures on the building since I was a child.

    • John D McCarthy

      I hit a home run into the 21 Charles parking garage during a Little League practice in the park. So I also have fond memories of that building.

      • Michael Calise

        Sooner or later a home run may break a window! Except of course if they remove the ballpark for the new open-air market.

  7. 🎉HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Mr. Kretsch!! Why the mister, you ask? Mr. Kretsch was my Elementary School gym teacher when he taught at Cranbury School in Norwalk in the late ’60s, maybe into the early ’70s (you do the math). I’m still working up to calling him Tom, but at the Westport Fine Arts show, sometimes I get my mojo on and call him “Teach.” Such fond memories – all the best for a delightful birthday and regards to Miss Newman! Sue Collin (aka Susie Rubenstein)

  8. Clark Thiemann

    While I echo some concerns about traffic and construction in that area, in the long term this seems like an amazing opportunity for Westport. This piece of town has always been highly underutilized and frankly really ugly my entire 40+ years here. When I was downtown last week at Amis enjoying a lovely meal in a really beautiful building and streetscape that has made Church Lane a place that you would want to be, I was reminded what good development can look like. Hopefully this matches that level of success.

  9. Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

    The important thing is that some really serious money is going to be made here. That’s the kind of opportunism that raises all boats. Never in the field of human avarice has so much money been made by so few, at the expense of so many.

  10. Congratulations to Coach Barry Beattie! He has made Staples the “team to beat” for girls soccer in the state (kudos to Coach Mackenzie Pretty as well). Staples is so fortunate to have you. Well done, Barry!

  11. Donald Bergmann

    As to the Hamlet Project, the final adopted Text and Map Amendments will be made available on Friday when the official public notice is issued. Many people expressed concerns with the Project, but the P&Z Commission provided the initial requisite supportive actions. Under the Town Charter, the RTM has a right to review the Commission action. My sense is that is probably a good idea as a means to further educate the public and cause the Commission to present its analysis of why the Hamlet Project should move ahead. I think, the RTM review requires initiation by two members of the RTM or 20 electors. I will be reading the Text and Map Amendments on Friday.
    Don Bergmann