If there’s one thing I’ve learned writing “06880,” it’s that every voice deserves to be heard.
I heard Joe Feinleib’s this weekend. I wanted to learn more about his company — Coastal Construction — in light of the controversy over the home he’s building for himself on Prospect Road.
Joe and Coastal have been in Westport for 18 years. He’s got a design degree, and says that he starts every project with aesthetics in mind — not economics.
He wanted to change the look of homes being built here: “the same box Colonial, almost totally devoid of character.” He says that out of over 100 homes built in Westport, none are duplicates.
Joe is responsible too for the building at the southeast corner of Morningside North and the Post Road (First County Bank and the Coastal Point apartments). He used a combination of native grasses and, in the rear — after collaborating with neighbors — slow-growing spruces.
He’s also behind the restoration of the mill building on Richmondville Avenue. Rather than knocking it down to put up 5 or 6 new homes, he is restoring the historic structure as a condo complex, with extensive amenities.
Many of the trees have been retained, including a 150-year-old sycamore. At Oak Ridge off Imperial Avenue, Joe saved a stand of majestic white oaks.
“They posed no hazard to the family that will live there, or on the neighboring property,” he says. With more than one of the Prospect Road trees rotted in the center, and 2 of the larger trees canted more than 20%, he cites safety as the reason for cutting those down.
Joe says he looks forward to working with the Planning & Zoning Commission to review ways to preserve town trees. When that’s not possible, he advocates a sustainable plan that helps property owners move forward in an environmentally sound way.