It sounds like a ho-hum affair: the Planning & Zoning Commission’s Zoning Regulation Revision Subcommittee meets tomorrow (Wednesday, January 5, 12 noon, Zoom).
But their agenda is filled with interesting — and important — items.
They’ll discuss text amendments on these topics:
- A tree regulation, intended to balance the right of people to use their property as they wish, with a desire to save mature trees. This item is not about specific properties. Input has been sought from developers and preservationists.
- Amending open space regulations to permit certain organized activities in areas like Baron’s South and Riverside Avenue park. Right now, no such activities are allowed — not even (for example) an organized hike for children, followed by story time.
- Amending downtown regulations to modify current prohibitions on single-tenant occupancy exceeding 10,000 square feet. This would permit more flexibility for downtown merchants.
- Amending downtown regulations to remove remove current prohibitions on retail uses above the first floor. Current regulations allow studios and offices, for example, on 2nd and 3rd stories, but not retail. (Stores like the Gap have been grandfathered in.) This would provide more retail options, at potentially lower rents, and also allow current merchants to expand their operations.
- Exempting “art” from coverage calculations. This would have the potential to allow more sculptures and other artworks in outdoor spaces.
All of these are discussion items only.
Public comments prior to the meeting can be sent to PandZ@westportct.gov for consideration by the subcommittee, but will not be read aloud at the meeting.
State Senator Will Haskell will not seek re-election.
Just 25 years old, but already in his 2nd term representing Westport and Weston (and 6 other towns) in the 26th District, the youngest member of the General Assembly plans to attend law school. He also recently announced his engagement to former Staples High School classmate Katie Cion.
Since his election in November 2018, Haskell has served as chair of the Higher Education & Employment Advancement and Transportation Committees, and on numerous others. He cites as his proudest accomplishments the creation of Connecticut’s free community college program; passing “the most inclusive paid family and medical leave program in the country,” and a sustained focus on transportation infrastructure investments.
A small, private memorial service for Dick Berkowitz — the longtime civic volunteer who died New Year’s Eve — is set for this Sunday (January 9, 10 a.m.). Though attendance is limited, the service will be livestreamed, and available to his many friends and admirers. Click here for the link.
A Mass of Christian Burial for Nick Rossi — last year’s Memorial Day grand marshal, who died New Year’s Day at 99 — will be celebrated at St. Luke Church this Thursday (January 6,, 11 a.m.)
For those unable to attend, click here; select “Livestream Mass” and click “Watch Now,” or view later.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Friends of the Westport Center for Senior Activities. Click here for a full obituary.
139 Main Street — the former site of Jack Willis — has been sold. A California-based owner/user is redeveloping the 3,400-square foot building for Brochu Walker, an :upscale women’s apparel brand that specializes in conscious luxury retail with a European flair.” They follows a “’kinder to the environment’ initiative” that supports “sustainability efforts resulting in ethically sourced, luxurious fibers.” Brochu Walker expects to open its first boutique in the Northeast early this year.
Recent foggy weather has not deterred Compo Beach’s dogs. They’re all-weather animals — and this one’s a perfect subject for today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature.
And finally … in honor of the Planning & Zoning Commission meeting tomorrow, examining tweaks to help the retail environment on Main Street and environs: