Tag Archives: Joe Feinleib

Coastal: Another Look At Construction And Trees

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.

Coastal’s Morningside development, with rosebud trees.

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.

Sycamore tree saved at The Mill at Richmondville.

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.

Oak Ridge 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.

Oak tree saved on Prospect Road.

Prospect Road Trees: Late Afternoon Report

As a chainsaw roared several yards away, Santa Claus sat in a swing, suspended from a tree branch.

That was the scene this afternoon on Prospect Road. A crew hired by contractor Joe Feinleib cut down the 2nd and 3rd of 5 oak trees in the setback near the property of next door neighbor Mark Donovan (aka Santa). Feinleib will build a new home on the land he’s clearing.

“I’m not going anywhere,” vowed Donovan, whose swing hangs from a branch on a near-100-year-old oak tree that hangs over his property.

“I’m not saying he’s not within his rights,” Donovan added, referring to his soon-to-be-new neighbor. “But I’m within my rights too. We’re 2 Americans, exercising our rights.”

One of the felled oak trees. According to owner Joe Feinleib, the rings show the stand of trees to be 96 years old.

Owner Joe Feinleib sent this photo to “06880.” “Turns out at least one is diseased and rotting in the middle,” he wrote..

Police were on hand earlier today. Feinleib had concerns about a news media drone flying over his property. Donovan had concerns about a bucket with tree workers over his property.

Westport police officers chat with Mark Donovan (dressed as Santa), sitting on a swing. The tree is on Joe Feinleib’s property; the branch hangs over Donovan’s.

Joe Feinleib’s property on the left, with trees being removed. Mark Donovan’s is on the right.


Prospect Trees: The Developer Responds

In preparing this morning’s story on Prospect Road trees, I asked developer Joe Feinleib of Coastal Construction for his response. He asked when I needed it by. I said Saturday night. I planned to run the story Monday morning, and wanted time to include it appropriately.

There was no response as of 9 p.m. last night. I scheduled today’s story to go live at 5 a.m., and included the line that the developer declined to comment.

This morning, as I checked email, I found his reply — sent at 11:24 p.m. Sunday night. Joe wrote:

Thank you for reaching out to me on this matter.

I always try to keep as many trees as appropriate for the homes I build and would love to be able to keep the oaks on the property. However, after reviewing the trees with several professional arborists it was determined the roots of the trees would be severely compromised and would ultimately put both homes near them at risk. I certainly will not put my neighbor or my children in danger should a large branch or one of these trees fall. I am more than willing to plant new trees somewhere appropriate in Westport with the guidance of the town.

As you know from the work I have done in other location in town over the past 18 years you can see how much I enjoy landscaping and preserving trees when safe and appropriate.  Some sites I am currently working on are 2 Oak Ridge Park where I am building a home and have saved all the oak trees on the site that are of a similar size as Prospect.

I have also saved a grand sycamore tree at the mill that is one of the most beautiful trees in Westport and there is not a week that goes by where I don’t get a compliment on the landscaping that we did on the old Geiger’s site on the post road.

Below is the Sycamore at the Mill in Westport.