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.”
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.)
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.
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.
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.