Charrette Moves Hamlet Forward

Eight months after the RTM voted 33-1 to uphold a Planning & Zoning Commission decision to allow new development in Saugatuck, preparations for The Hamlet are moving along.

The developers are leaving nothing to chance.

This month, architects and others from DPZ — a firm specializing in pedestrian-oriented neighborhood planning — came to Westport, from offices in Washington, Miami, Portland and Puerto Rico, to see Saugatuck first-hand.

And to listen.

Working in the Riverside Avenue office of ROAN Venture, they invited town officials and others to a charrette, to view plans and offer feedback. The goal is to hear concerns about traffic, zoning, the marina and other elements while the process is still in the design phase.

Conversations result in changes “in real time,” said DPZ partner Marina Khoury.

Renderings of waterside elements of The Hamlet at Saugatuck.

The first official on Monday was Conservation Department director Colin Kelly. He offered insights into Westport’s Waterway Protection Line Ordinance, setbacks, seawalls, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and more.

Representatives from the Police Department, Selectwoman’s office and others were invited this week too.

Some attendees criticized the proposal when it was announced last year. “We want input from everyone,” says Pete Romano, whose LandTech environmental engineering firm is working with ROAN Ventures, DPZ and noted architect Bill Bensley on the project.

DPZ’s Marina Khoury and LandTech’s Pete Romano, with The Hamlet at Saugatuck drawings in ROAN Ventures’ office.

The Hamlet at Saugatuck encompasses the rectangle between Riverside Avenue, Railroad Place, Franklin Street and Charles Street, plus land on Riverside Avenue from Tutti’s to Railroad Place, and the private parking lot above Luciano Park now used for boat storage.

Plans include retail, restaurants, residences, a hotel, marina, a gourmet market and kids’ club near Luciano Park, a boardwalk, underground parking — and a total renovation of the 21 Charles Street office building.

Artist’s rendering of the re-skinning of 21 Charles Street …

… and the view from the Saugatuck River.

(“06880” broke the story of The Hamlet at Saugatuck last year. If you appreciate local journalism, please click here to upport our work. Thank you!)

5 responses to “Charrette Moves Hamlet Forward

  1. Please make sure that the public has reasonable access to these Hamlet plans. Also, no individual comments by Town personnel can substitute for public presentations, discussions and votes among all relevant Town bodies, certainly P&Z.

  2. Too dense and too high. This isn’t Stamford.

  3. Dave Eason I couldn’t agree with you
    more. I also find it ironic the powers that be
    recently denied the application to alter
    the lower facade of the old
    Da Pietro building on Riverside because
    they felt it would hinder “the New England look
    and feel”….and yet the monstrosity that is “The
    Hamlet” got the green light??!! guess the so
    called “Westport Lifestyle” (Urggh) that I
    suddenly keep seeing advertised in our local
    magazine is a monster that keeps needing to
    be fed…and our elected officials and appointed
    Committees seem to be
    considering Westport a brand now rather than
    a quaint and sensible New England town.
    What up with that?

  4. Where and when was this charrette( possibly the most pretentious, annoying name for a meeting) announced.
    Who attended ?
    Were any of our “elected”, by residents, rtm members present? Would be very interesting to know. And if so, who ?
    Were sensible saugatuck at the meeting ?

    Considering the concerning, shocking lack of transparency on Parker Harding, along with massive conflicts of interest, the community gardens, the pickleball courts, to mention but a few, of the latest plans being rammed down our throats, very much against our will, I should think that at least a hamlet meeting of any kind would have been broadly advertised, and a genuine attempt made to have as many residents as possible attend.

    I should think the general public is going to watch keenly the hamlet process, especially with regards to parking ( train station) and the attempts, which undoubtedly, are on the cards to locate any affordable housing aspect of the condos to remote spots. I factually know back a year ago, the developers were busy scrambling to find alternative locations
    to use for the affordable housing aspect of the project, attempting to buy up any “old” and rundown properties further from the shore.
    God forbid the gentrified and elite, might actually have to share oxygen, or rub shoulders with the “great unwashed”. Let alone share an elevator in the same building.


  5. I will add to that comment that pedestrian oriented developments are not designed with residents in mind. Though the sales pitch is that it is healthier and we should all be riding bicycles.
    They are a convenient excuse for creating a dense amount of housing and hotel rooms with no parking. More $$$ for the developers/investors.
    This is specifically so they can squeeze more revenue out of an apartment block than they can out of a parking garage, but pretend that it is a new trendy style of neighborhood.

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