Before any municipal project is approved, state statutes require an “8-24” hearing.
That’s the next step for Parker Harding Plaza.
On Monday (October 23, 7 p.m., Zoom), the Planning & Zoning Commission will discuss a request by 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker to adopt the plan hammered out by the Downtown Plan Implementation Committee.
It would reconfigure the parking lot behind Main Street — built on landfill in the 1950s — to increase riverfront access, add 2-way traffic (while retaining the “cut-through” route), and make other changes.
Changes planned for Parker-Harding Plaza
A town-wide charrette in August mollified some residents However, others still have concerns.
Annette Norton is both a downtown merchant and a Westport resident. She has owned Savvy + Grace for 6 years. She also meticulously restored a 1700s North Avenue home,
“I am deeply concerned about the DPIC project, including:
- Redesigning Parker Harding parking lot and taking away 44 parking spots.
- Moving the trash to the river.
- Taking away loading zones, so traffic will be held up in the parking lot when businesses get their deliveries.
“My proposal/solution is to make a beautiful boardwalk by the river, leading people to the existing green space we already have downtown — Veterans Green — while encouraging additional exploration with a walking path throughout all downtown.
“Maybe we can increase the current footprint all the way to Coffee An’.
“How is losing 44 spots okay? And if we are trying to entice people to hang out by the river, were will they park?
“Downtown businesses rely on locals. When they cannot find parking, they shop elsewhere.
“DPIC brought up safety, which I take seriously. To my knowledge, the Fire Department has never had issues, since the parking lot was created.
“The current plan moves trash right next to the river. That can lead to trash falling along the road and parking lot, and traveling into the river. There are also safety issues for employees crossing the road to take out the trash.
“I love our downtown. I want it to survive and thrive for generations to come. Compo Beach and downtown are the crown jewels of our town. Thank you for your consideration and care.”
(Click here to view a livestream of Monday’s meeting. It will also be shown on Optimum Channel 79 and Frontier Channel 6020. Comments may be sent to PandZ@westportct.gov.)