In a 2-sentence letter, Tesla has abandoned its quest to build a vehicle service center on Saugatuck Avenue.
Mel Barr — the electric vehicle manufacturer’s land-use consultant in Westport — wrote to Planning & Zoning director Mary Young:
In view of the public testimony, submitted protest petition and Commission concerns expressed at the Public Hearing on June 15, 2017, the Applicant has decided to WITHDRAW the above referenced application [#17-024]. Please REMOVE this continued item from the July 6th, 2017 Planning & Zoning Commission Agenda.
Public protest at the public hearing, and on “06880,” against Tesla’s plan was strong earlier this month. Reasons included traffic, noise, and the possibility that the service center could become a dealership sometime down the road.
But the comments section of “06880” was also filled with proponents. They touted Tesla’s plan as a strong, low-intensity use of the property, and an asset to Westport’s economy and environmental commitment.
20 Saugatuck Avenue — the site where Tesla hoped to build a service facility.
Tesla is not yet allowed to sell its cars directly to Connecticut consumers.
But if it can — and the electric car manufacturer is pushing the state legislature hard to do so — one of its first dealerships may be at 20 Saugatuck Avenue, right here in Westport.
The site is currently occupied by a large, recently renovated and completely vacant shopping center. It once housed a quick mart, fitness center and AAA.
20 Saugatuck Avenue
Last night, the landlord and Tesla hosted a small event. They told neighbors they plan to ask the town to amend zoning regulations to allow a Tesla service center there.
The language is broad enough that — should Tesla get permission from Connecticut to sell vehicles directly to consumers — they could convert the center to a dealership. Company reps last night did not rule out the possibility.
It’s a 10-year lease. You do the math.
Despite not being allowed to sell directly in the state, there are about 1,300 Teslas registered in Connecticut. Electrek says that represents 62% of the electric vehicles in the state.