Tag Archives: 233 Hillspoint Road

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.