Between the ospreys and education issues, Westporters’ attention has recently been diverted from the long-running saga of Morningside Drive South. But the Historic District Commission meets Tuesday (Town Hall, 7 p.m.) to discuss a planned development there. “06880” reader Aurea de Souza writes:
Before Walter and Naiad Einsel bought their home and studio, 26 Morningside Drive South was the home of Charles B. Sherwood. Yes, that’s the same Sherwood family remembered today through Sherwood Island State Park, the Sherwood Island Connector, even Sherwood Diner!
Charles B. Sherwood was given 7 acres of land by his father Walter in 1853. That same year, he built his house. It was sold in 1864 to John B. Elwood, who owned it until 1920. The Einsels bought it in 1965, after vacationing in Westport for 4 years.
In 2005 the Einsels received a Preservation Award for their home. In 2007 their home and property were designated a Local Historic District.
Anne Hamonet and her husband Alberto bought what used to be the barn of the Sherwood property in 2002. They have since restored it, respecting its historic value. Today their home is a Greens Farms sanctuary, cherished by the neighborhood.
The Hamonets raise chickens that run freely through the property. Anne brings fresh cage-free organic eggs to everyone at our neighborhood meetings. They also keep horses on the property. It’s almost like a movie set.
Because of the Hamonets, we all enjoy rooster and chicken noises, horses that can be seen from the street, and the beautifully restored barn.
This is what their bucolic backyard looks like today, right next to the proposed development.
This is an approximation of what it will be when the southwest block of the 16 3-bedroom, 32.5-foot high condos is built, just 15 feet from their fence.
The historic importance of 20-26 Morningside Drive south is huge for Westport. It is about to be destroyed by a developer who purchased property in a historic district. He was well aware of the limitations, but is taking advantage of the 8-30g “affordable housing” statute which can take precedence over historic districts and flooding issues.
The homes will be built on top of wetland setbacks on already flood-prone Muddy Brook – which this week caused the collapse of Hillandale Road bridge.
There is also a safety issue. Westport requires a 400-foot distance from a school driveway for any driveway cutout. Plans for this development shows their driveway directly across from Greens Farms Elementary School.
The developer has presented drawings of the individual groups of homes, but at the Architecture Review Board hearing on March 26, failed to present any documentation on how it will look as a whole.
A Greens Farms United member who is an architect put all of their documentation together in a rough section of what it will actually look like (These do not account for any land modifications; it is simply an illustration of what has been made public).
The house in yellow is the current home, which the developer plans to transport to a new location much closer to the road.
Westport currently enjoys a 4-year moratorium on 8-30g developments, having met the state requirements. This proposal was submitted before the moratorium took effect.