Westport’s Planning & Zoning Commission gave thumb’s-up last night to 2 hotly debated proposals.
By a 5-2 vote, the board approved 9 housing units at 500 Main Street (the old Daybreak Nurseries 2.18-acre site near Merritt Parkway Exit 42).
In a scaled-down version of its original plan, Able Construction will be able to build 2 2-family homes, and 5 1-family homes. All will be restricted to owners 55 and over.
The Planning & Zoning Commission approved 9 housing units for this site.
Late in the evening, the P&Z voted 4-2 (1 abstention) to allow a medical marijuana dispensary at 1460 Post Road East. The spot — around the shopping center corner from the old Pier 1 Imports — was most recently occupied by Coco Spa.
The applicant — Bluepoint Wellness — must still be approved by Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection.
If approved by the state, this will be the site of Westport’s only medical marijuana dispensary.
The P&Z denied 4 other medical marijuana proposals, all on the Post Road: the former Bertucci’s restaurant; a site near the Southport border (Stanton Miles/Jennifer Furniture); the old DXL menswear/Blockbuster store, and the Academy of Dance building.
Reasons for those denials included safety, traffic, lack of parking and location relative to zoning regulations.
Westport’s Planning & Zoning Commission took action last night on one contentious issue, and heard from a herd of residents on another.
By a vote of 4-2, the board denied a proposal by Able Construction to build 11 homes at the former Daybreak Nurseries site on Main Street, near Weston Road. The units would have been restricted to people age 55 and older.
Neighborhood opposition, traffic concerns and possible soil contamination were among the major objections raised, before the vote.
Able Construction hoped to build 11 units of housing.off Main Street and Weston Road.
Residents also voiced strong opposition to proposals for 2 medical marijuana dispensaries on the Post Road. One is for the now-shuttered Bertucci’s restaurant, near the Sherwood Island Connector; the other is at the former Blockbuster video rental store near North Maple Avenue.
Among the opponents: 1st Selectman Jim Marpe.
No vote was taken. The P&Z will hear more from the public on April 5.
The former Bertucci’s — site of one of the proposed medical marijuana dispensaries.
I don’t usually draw attention to comments posted on “0688o” stories. If people want to read ’em, they do. If not, no problem.
But readers who didn’t follow the comments for “Deserted Island” — last weekend’s piece about the traffic island near Exit 42, now that its clean-up sponsor, Daybreak Nurseries, has closed — missed some great news. It’s worth telling, in a story of its own.
Shortly after the post appeared, alert “06880” reader Brad French commented:
No problem. I’ll have my crew mow it. I saw [former Daybreak owner] Dave Harding on Redding Road with the new SchoolHouse Nurseries! I’ll check and see if he is going to continue maintaining the garden. Looks like spring is finally here.
Almost immediately, fellow alert reader Tom Kashetta added:
Brad, if you mow it, I’ll have my tree crew go in and prune all the ornamental trees and shrubs at the proper time. If there are any insect problems we will also take care of that. I’m sure David will send his workers over to weed and edge the gardens. I stopped by his new nursery yesterday on Redding Road and was very impressed with what he has done there. The plant material is beautiful. I wish him the best of luck.
By yesterday afternoon — 2 days after the “06880” story — the island had been mowed (and all the signs put back in place).
Both Brad and Tom are longtime Westporters. Growing up here, they learned 2 important lessons:
How to love their town.
And how important it is to give back to it.
The traffic island at the Weston Road/Easton Road/Main Street intersection will soon look a lot less shabby, thanks to Brad French and Tom Kashetta.
Most of the time, the Planning and Zoning Commission deals with big issues: the heights of buildings. Setbacks. Wetlands. Those are important, very visible tasks; it’s not easy balancing the economic interests of landowners with the quality-of- life interests of residents (who may or may not be the same people).
Some times though, the P&Z deals with lesser issues that — in the end — are just as important.
Right now, elected officials are discussing regulations regarding free-standing business signs. You know — the ones advertising Michele’s pie tastings, or 20% off a pedicure in honor of Martin Luther King Day. (I’m making that up. I think).
Signs like these may be legalized -- though in smaller, more "homemade" form -- by the P&Z.
Rules — they must be small, hand-written on erasable boards or chalkboards, placed in an unobstructing spot or hung on the building, stuff like that — go into effect February 17.
For Saugatuck and the downtown area only.
Talks are underway to extend the regulations to the entire commercial district of Westport — up and down the Post Road.
Right now, those signs are illegal. The P&Z wants to bring order to the process — allowing merchants to advertise in a friendly, local way, without letting large, garish signs sprout willy-nilly.
But what about businesses outside the zone? Christie’s needs signs to draw attention to its Sunday farmers’ market. Daybreak Nursery announces items like firewood and holiday wreaths that way. Positano could highlight daily specials.
And what about Wakeman Town Farm, which could use signs to publicize upcoming workshops and its Community Supported Agriculture program?
What, then, about lawyers, chiropractors, marketing consultants — anyone who operates a home business outside of current business zones? Could they set up small, hand-written, free-standing signs too?
Right now the P&Z has no formal requests from any of those businesses. If there are, they will be addressed.
Signs are not a big deal like office buildings or movie theaters. But we do notice them; they do affect our quality of life. Just think of all the political signs we see for months leading up to elections, or the ones announcing upcoming concerts, road races and charity events that cover the little gardens at road intersections.
“06880” invites comments on this sign issue. Please be civil — and try to stay on topic.
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