It’s one of Westport’s best-kept secrets: a working farm a few yards from the intersection of Bayberry Lane and Cross Highway.
Since 1946, 4 generations of Beltas have worked the land. Gone are the poultry, livestock and slaughterhouse. The farm no longer supplies Stew Leonard’s with a ton of tomatoes a day, as it did in the 1970s.
But for over 70 years the Beltas have been good neighbors — and great providers of fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers to the neighborhood, plus any other Westporters savvy enough to stop at their stand.
Last week, the Planning & Zoning Commission unanimously approved a plan to subdivide Belta’s Farm into 9 building lots.
The 23-acre site will be developed as an Open Space subdivision. P&Z regulations permit a reduction in lot size, in exchange for land used as open space.
The open space set-aside totals almost 5 acres of the site. Two of the newly approved building lots will be retained by the Belta family, along with existing residential structures.
A proposed new Beltas Farm Road — without an apostrophe, at the request of emergency services — will extend nearly 1,000 feet from Bayberry Lane. It will be served by 2 fire hydrants, and landscaped with 20 shade trees.
An earlier subdivision plan was denied by P&Z in 2019. It proposed more dwelling units per acre than currently allowed, an agriculture site for farming in lieu of open space, and a seasonal farm stand.
The Belta siblings said, “As we transition to the enjoyment of our retirement years, the time has come to provide for a zoning-compliant and environmentally sensitive development of our property for single family homes.
“We could not be happier with this outcome. It will provide almost 5 acres of open space and conservation easements on over 2 additional acres of the property.
“Our family plans to retain 2 lots for our use. We are very pleased about this. It is good to know that the Beltas can remain a presence on the property and in Westport, as we have for over three-quarters of a century.”
There is no timetable yet for site development.