Tag Archives: 233 Hillspoint Road

Roundup: Hillspoint Home, Compo Cove, Christian Soriano …

Old Mill Grocery opens soon.

But that’s not the only good news on Hillspoint Road.

The home diagonally across the street — where construction was halted 2 years ago, and which has since been sheathed, half-finished, in blue, due to permit violations — may soon be completed.

As first reported by Westport Journal, last night the Zoning Board of Appeals approved a settlement with the property owners. They can resume work, including removing a chimney and cupola.

The new home will replace a decades-long succession of restaurants, including Positano and Cafe de la Plage. Before that, it was a grocery store.

Construction halted at 233 Hillspoint Road. (Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)

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Meanwhile, around the corner, 44 Compo Mill Cove — the 1910 home standing closest to Old Mill Beach, and possibly the most photographed house in Westport — has sold.

It and its companion, a newer cottage at #42, were marketed together. The closing price of $5.29 million was the same as the asking price. The new owners are longtime Westporters and Staples High School graduates Lance and Ann Lonergan.

44 Compo Cove (Matt Murray)

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Christian Siriano moved to Westport in 2020, during COVID.

It hasn’t taken him long to feel at home. Or get involved with the community.

Last night, a large crowd turned out for the opening of his new retail concept store. The Collective West is at 940 Post Road East, opposite Earth Animal. It features furniture, accessories and art.

It carries brands the designer curates, including furniture, accessories and art.

Among the brands: Swoon Gallery, Josh Levkoff jewelry, Irene Lummertz, Snif, Franny’s Farmacy, Blossom + Stem, and Bungalow Decor.

Christian Soriano, in The Collective West.

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Westport’s own Melissa Newman highlights tomorrow’s Jazz at the Post (Thursday, July 14, 7 and 8:30 p.m., Joseph J. Clinton VFW Post 399, 465 Riverside Avenue).

Nationally, Melissa sings jingles for companies like AT&T and Chevrolet, Locally, she’s performed at the Blue Lemon, Tengda and Harvest in Westport.

She’s joined by Tony Lmbardozzi, Phil Bowler and Matt Moadel. There’s a $10 cover. Dinner is served from 6:30 p.m., by chef Derek Furino. Reservations are strongly suggested: jazzatthepost@gmail.com.

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Young adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities are invited to a STAR dance party. It’s set for this Friday (July 15, 7 to 9 p.m., STAR headquarters, 182 Wolfpit Road, Norwalk).

Snacks and drinks are provided. There is a separate lounge area for parents and caregivers to meet and socialize, if they wish to remain while allowing the young adults to enjoy supervised independence on the dance floor.

The cost is $25 per person. There is complimentary entry for siblings and peer dance buddy volunteers.

Advance registration is required; click here. NOTE: Anyone ages 15-22 can volunteer as a peer buddy, with or without a sibling or past involvement with STAR.

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Just before COVID struck, John Németh highlighted a Supper & Soul concert at the Westport Library. It was one of the best, in the long-running series.

The musician has had some setbacks since then. He writes:

“I have a new album. I recorded it before my jaw amputation. It’s called ‘Maybe The Last Time,’ cause I didn’t know then and I still don’t know now if I will ever sing or play again like I used to. I have to say the magic of this performance is beyond this world and maybe the greatest of my life.

“I am asking for a little help from. Please pre-order this CD or digital download. I am currently not working and have some staggering bills. The legendary blues guitarist and pop icon Elvin Bishop (‘Fooled Around And Fell In Love’) and famed producer Kid Andersen wanted to cut an album for me before my surgery, knowing it could be the last time we ever make music again.

“You will receive immediately upon ordering the first single ‘Maybe The Last Time.’ I will email or mail the full record to you by September 16.  This is your order link.

“My surgery has been a success so far. I still do not have feeling in my jaw or lower lip.  I hope and pray that someday I will get back to 110 percent. Thank you for enjoying my music and performances.” (Hat tip: Michael Wolfe)

John Nemeth

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Yesterday’s Westport Rotary Club luncheon meeting included an inspiring talk by Vince Santilli.

The CEO of Bridgeport-based Homes for the Brave told members and guests at Greens Farms Congregational Church about the organization’s success sheltering people in need — especially veterans — in Bridgeport and West Haven. HFTB also provides case management, vocational guidance and housing assistance for  homeless vets. The non-profit received a Westport Rotary Club Community Grant this year.

Vince Santilli addresses the Westport Rotary Club. (Photo/Dave Matlow)

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It’s a tight turn, coming out from the Compo Shopping Center back lot. You squeeze past the Verizon store, stop (maybe), and if you’re going to turn left into the front lot, you face plenty of traffic.

What you, I or anyone else — except this extremely entitled driver — don’t do is to make the sharp turn even sharper, then hog 3 spaces directly in front of one store.

We may think we’ve seen everything, parking-wise. Then this driver reminds us we haven’t.

(Photo/Molly Alger)

PS: Yes, that’s a handicap sticker hanging from the rear view mirror. With 3 empty spaces right in front, that does not excuse this parking job.

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Connecticut is offering a child tax rebate of $250 per child, up to a maximum of $750 per household.

Residents must apply for the check. The deadline is July 31. Click here for details. (Hat tip: Melissa Crouch Chang)

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Longtime and much-loved Westport PAL coach Scott Turkel died yesterday. He was 64, and suffered from Parkinson’s Disease and Lewy Body Dementia.

A graduate of American University, Scott spent the early part of his career as an equity trader at Goldman Sachs and Lehman Bros. He then launched his own hedge fund, TCM Partners. Scott spent the latter part of his career working at Turkel Investments, where he made private investments and served as a management consultant to many businesses.

While he enjoyed helping investors and businesses achieve their goals, Scott most loved helping others and serving as a mentor to many in his community.  Exceptionally philanthropic, he contributed generously to charities and causes, including the Samara Jan Turkel Clinical Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, created in memory of his late daughter.

He also made lasting impacts as a longtime coach for the Westport PAL football program. Scott kept in touch with his players through the years, and developed close relationships with many of them and their families.

Scott is survived by his sons Max, Bryan and Spencer, and his soulmate of nearly 8 years, Alyssa Rapko.

Scott’s service will be held tomorrow (Thursday, July 14, 11 a.m., Beth Israel Chabad of Norwalk 40 King Street). The family will sit shiva on Thursday (5 p.m.), Friday (4 to 6 p.m.), Saturday (7 to 9 p.m.) and Sunday (4 to 7 p.m.) at 27 White Birch Road, Weston.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Lewy Body Dementia Association.

Scott Terkel

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Former Westporter Luigi Scaramuzzo died Sunday. He was 87.

Before immigrating from Italy to the United States, Luigi helped build Alps tunnels between Switzerland, France and Italy. Here, he worked for many years at Pepperidge Farm as a shipping clerk. He was an avid gardener and fisherman.

Survivors include his son Nicola of Norwalk, daughter Anna of Norwalk, and brother Pietro of Italy. Luigi was predeceased by his wife Teresa Scirocco-Scaramuzzo, brothers Giuseppe and Michele Scaramuzzo, and sister Giuseppina.

Tomorrow (Thursday, July 14, 10 a.m., Assumption Church) there is a Mass of Christian Burial. Entombment will follow in Willowbrook Cemetery. Condolences may be left online. Contributions in Luigi’s memory may to the National Alliance on Mental Illness,

Luigi Scaramuzzo

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John Prenderville Jr. writes:

“Locals are discussing the number of chicks in the osprey nest at Burying Hill Beach.

“These pictures say 2. I don’t think there are 3, but I thought there was only 1. So what do I know?!”

Here’s what I know: John’s photo is a fantastic addition to our daily “Westport … Naturally” series.

(Photo/John Prenderville Jr.)

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And finally … the story about John Németh (above) sent me scurrying to learn more. He’s the real deal, as this video shows:

 

Question Box #5

Our Question Box is once again full.

Here are the latest answers — to the best of my ability, anyway. I’m stumped by many of these queries. So readers: Please chime in with any additional information. Click “Comments” below.

And if you’ve got a question for our box, just email dwoog@optonline.net.

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I read a lot about “affordable housing” in Westport. What is considered “affordable,” and who sets the guidelines?

Guidelines are set by Connecticut General Statute 8-30g. Click here for the exact 2021 income limits, and rental maximums.

Housing limits at places like Sasco Creek Village are set by the state.

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Who hires the town attorney, and how much is he or she paid? (David Meth)

According to town attorney Ira Bloom, the First Selectman (or woman) appoints the town attorney. The budget for the position has various components:  retainer amounts for the town attorney and assistant town attorney; a component for labor and employment, and the contract services — the largest piece — which covers litigation and longer-term projects.

Neither Bloom nor the assistant town attorney, Eileen Lavigne Flug, are town employees, so they do not receive a “salary” per se from the town.

Town attorney Ira Bloom

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Is there a committee for the Baron’s South project, or a way to get involved? (Whitney Raith)

Baron’s South falls under the purview of the Parks & Recreation Department. Contact director Jen Fava (jfava@westportct.gov) to let her know you’re interested.

Baron’s South is a gem in the heart of Westport. (Photo/Wendy Crowther)

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Also from Whitney Raith: Why are there so many dead-end private streets? Does this lessen the town’s road upkeep?

Now that’s something that I — as a native Westporter — never thought about.

My guess is it’s a function of how the town grew. As farmland was sold to developers, they built homes off the main roads. If the houses were behind each other, they needed a way to get to the main road. Because there was still undeveloped land behind, the new roads did not connect to others, so they became dead-ends (more delicately, cul-de-sacs [or “culs-de-sac”?]).

I’m sure the nature of people moving to town — seeking privacy, which “private” roads provide — had something to do with it too.

I don’t think it was a way for the town to avoid upkeep. But if my theory is wrong — or you’ve got other ideas — click “Comments” below.

In this 1965 aerial view, Staples High School is on the left. An arrow points to High Point Road. Located off Long Lots Road, and the longest cul-de-sac in Westport, it was developed in the 1950s.

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Was there a mini-golf course where Lansdowne is now located? I was also told that it previously was the dump. (Antonia Zegras)

Fore! The 33-acre Lansdowne condos — located on Post Road East, just west of Stop & Shop — were once the site of mini-golf, and a driving range. For a while, a Bedford Junior High phys. ed. teacher had a trampoline business — “Ed Hall’s Jumpin’ Gyminy,” or something like that — out in front too.

Plus a skating rink, which eventually morphed into the short-lived Nines Club discotheque, courtesy of orchestra leader Lester Lanin. (You can’t make this stuff up.)

That rink/disco lives on, as the Westport Tennis Club.

As for a dump: I recall stuff being dumped in the back of the driving range after the mini-golf complex closed, but I can’t swear to it. Readers: If you remember: Click “Comments” below.

Once a mini-golf course and driving range; now well-established condos.

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I drive up and down Long Lots Road several times a day. Almost always, I see a flock of hawks circling, always between Turkey Hill Road and Hyde Lane. Can any readers explain why? (Lawrence Weisman)

Hawk-lovers: What’s up (ho ho)? Click “Comments” below.

Not Larry Weisman’s hawk — but very cool nonetheless. (Photo/Lou Rolla)

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I know that Alcoholics Anonymous meets at the St. Luke Church stables on Long Lots Road. Were there actual stables there at some point? (Arthur Hayes)

I don’t know the answer. I’m sure some of our alert readers do. But I’m guessing there were. It doesn’t seem like a name that came from thin air.

The St. Luke Church stables. Were there once horses there?

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Is there anything new concerning the incomplete structure on Hillspoint Road diagonally across from Joey’s by the Shore, where a series of restaurants used to be located? (Paul Rohan)

Nope! Negotiations continue, following a cease-and-desist order for violations on the residence that was slated to replace (most recently) Positano’s.

Construction has been halted at 233 Hillspoint Road. (Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)

Do you have a question for the Question Box? Email dwoog@optonline.net. When it’s full, I’ll answer them.

233 Hillspoint: The Saga Continues

For over a year, construction has been halted on the Hillspoint Road residence meant to replace the old Positano restaurant. Multiple zoning permit violations led to the stop-work order.

The half-finished structure has become a neighborhood eyesore. Blue sheets wrap the exterior. A construction fence keeps out intruders. Weeds grow in the driveway and sand.

The homeowner hopes to move forward with new plans. Nearly 20 Hillspoint Road residents joined a phone call Wednesday night with the architect.

They were not pleased.

Representative Town Meeting Andrew Colabella says there was “very robust discussion,” with opposition from neighbors.

Michael Calise adds, “All of the neighbors were against the proposal. Some even said they were offended and appalled by the proposed design.”

Construction has been halted at 233 Hillspoint Road. (Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)

The plan — presented by Vita Design Group — includes a new rooftop, and elevator with cupola. It adds bulk, makes the entire roof line higher, and blocks views from Compo Hill even more than before.

Hal Kravitz — who owns the Joey’s by the Shore property, diagonally across the street — says that cupolas are allowed only for light. They are not supposed to be functional.

The height would be 47 feet — even higher than the original plan. Mechanicals would be relocated to the roof deck.

Calise says that for him, the most significant change from the first plan was the conversion to a gambrel roof. It reaches down to the top of the first floor, with the lower section parallel to the side walls of the second floor.

Details from the new proposal.

“Under the current method of measuring gambrel roofs, they were able to lower the midpoint of the roof so significantly that they actually raised the ridge of the roof 10 feet,” Calise says.

“This proposed design and the resultant ridge height was above the existing elevator shaft, and required a higher chimney to comply with building codes.

“When I pointed out that this actually created a third floor and a higher building, they argued that it did not because the roof design had openings which meant it was simply a cover for an outdoor deck, and therefore not a roof.”

This is not the first new construction in that area of Hillspoint Road. Recent new homes, however, have been low-slung, in keeping with the scale of the land.

Colabella says of 233 Hillspoint, “What is there now is a bullet wound. What is proposed, dumps salt into the wound.”

The new proposal is subject to approval by the Zoning Board of Appeals.’

For many years, 233 Hillspoint Road was a restaurant. The most recent tenant was Positano. (Photo/Fred Cantor)

The View From Hillspoint

Last week’s story about the new house rising on the site of the old Positano restaurant drew many comments. The site — kitty corner from Elvira Mae’s — is one of the most cherished in Westport.

One reader complained that the new structure blocks views of the public water. She implied that it ruined “a half mile of a walk along the beach on a sidewalk.”

Artists’ rendering of the house going up at 233 Hillspoint Road.

In fact, that ship sailed long ago.

What once was a lovely view — from Schlaet’s Point at the end of Soundview (where Hillspoint Road turns into South Compo), along the gentle curve and on toward Old Mill — has been privatized.

A large home at 261 Hillspoint replaced an open-air boathouse. One of Westport’s first mammoth faux stone walls sealed the house — and the view — off from passersby. (It’s now on the market. If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.)

The stone wall at 261 Hillspoint Road.

More recently, a wooden fence and high hedge have hidden all of Old Mill Beach, and that part of the Sound, from nearly everyone’s eyes.

A small section of beach — owned by Hillspoint residents across the street — has always been private. But until the last few years — 10, maybe? — it was bordered only by an unobtrusive chain link fence. Now there’s a green equivalent of the Berlin Wall.

There are a few breaks in the obstructed view from #261 to Old Mill, of course. A small public access road provides relief; so does the clear view from #254 across the street.

The unobstructed view across from 254 Hillspoint.

A break for a beach view.

But that’s it, until you get to the public Old Mill Beach.

Last week’s “06880” story also generated comments about the sidewalk. Readers worried that it will be removed from the new house, forcing walkers into the street.

The property owner assures Westporters there will be a sidewalk in front.

Sidewalks have concerned residents and visitors for years.

A couple of years ago, Robin Tauck — who owns the beautiful new beach house directly across from Elvira Mae’s — paid for a sidewalk survey. She worried about people walking in the road, right past her driveway.

The roadway opposite Elvira Mae’s.

A sidewalk extension from 233 Hillspoint Road to Old Mill Beach is in the works. Plans are done. The town is waiting for a state grant.

Hundreds of folks walk in that area daily. With the opening of Elvira Mae’s ice cream window, foot traffic has increased dramatically. When — er, if — a sidewalk is built there, it will be an important safety addition.

Meanwhile, folks will continue to stroll from there to Compo Beach. They can say what they want about the view — when Positano was there, and now during residential construction.

But they can’t say it’s the only thing blocking their view.

New Construction At Old Mill

Neighbors and beach lovers have watched warily, as a new home rises on the site of the old Positano — and before that — Cafe de la Plage restaurants.

It’s not yet finished.

But the house at 233 Hillspoint Road has just come on the market.

Artists’ rendering of the house going up at 233 Hillspoint Road.

The 4,200-square foot residence — on a 5,663-square foot lot — will includes 4 bedrooms, and 4 1/2 bathrooms.

The listing price: $7.5 million.

(Hat tip: Dave Dellinger)

End Of An Old Mill Era

Emma Morano died on Saturday, in Italy. The world’s oldest woman — and the last person on earth known to have lived in the 1800s — she was 117 years old.

Here in Westport, a demolition permit has been issued for 233 Hillspoint Road. The notice affixed to the side of the building puts its age at 117 years.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

It too has a link to Italy: Most recently, it was the site of Positano. That restaurant closed at the end of 2014. It reopened several months later at its present location, next to the Westport Country Playhouse.

Positano restaurant.

Positano was the last in a storied line of restaurants at 233 Hillspoint. Perhaps its most popular predecessor was Cafe de la Plage.

In between, it was (briefly) the Beach House:

“Beach House,” by Tony Marino.

In the mid-1900s, Westporters knew it as Leo Williams’ Old Mill Restaurant:

Leo Williams’ Old Mill Restaurant, in 1954. (Photo/Bridgeport Post)

Before that, it was both the Beach Food Mart, and Joe’s:

In its 117 years, #233 Hillspoint has seen a lot. The neighborhood has changed — many times. Old Mill Beach has thrived, eroded, and come back to life.

Of course, there were floods, like Hurricane Carol in 1954 …

… and SuperStorm Sandy 59 years later:

(Photo/Matt Murray)

From these photos, it’s likely the property started out as a private home.

Once demolition as complete, that’s probably what it will become again.

But this is 2017. Not 1899.

Odds are good it will not look the same.