Tag Archives: Lincoln Street

Roundup: Bat Girl, Henry Wynne, Mental Health …

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Some things are worth waiting for.

For Gwen Goldman McLoughlin — the Westporter who waited 60 years to be a New York Yankees bat girl — last night was a long-deferred dream come true.

The festivities began even before the game. Tina Cervasio, Channel 5 sportscaster, tweeted this photo of a delighted Gwen, ready to play ball. (Hat tip: Fred Cantor)

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After a 5-hour delay Sunday night — caused by 111-degree heat in Eugene, Oregon — Henry Wynne battled for a spot on the US Olympic track and field team.

The Staples High School Class of 2013 graduate had to finish 3rd in the 1500-meter finals.

Running outside for much of the race, he surged to a 3:37.70 finish. But that was good only for 5th.

Since 2016, Wynne — one of the greatest runners in Connecticut history — has s suffered a knee injury, pneumonia, and surgery on his small intestine. He’s persevered through it all — and COVID — yet came up just short Sunday night.

Henry Wynne, in an indoor race for Staples High. (Photo courtesy of MSG Varsity)

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Tomorrow (Wednesday, June 30, 7 p.m., Westport Library), Silver Hill Hospital’s president and medical director Dr. Andrew Gerber and other experts will present a workshop to help parents learn how to talk with and support children as they try to understand tragedies.

The program is a joint effort of Westport’s Department of Human Services, the Westport Public Schools, Westport Together, and the Westport Prevention Coalition, in partnership with the Library. Click here to register to attend in person. Click here for the livestream link.

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Connecticut’s Superior Court holds remote hearings o 2 proposed settlements, between Westport’s Planning & Zoning Commission and developers. These could be the final steps on the road toward construction.

The 157-unit Hiawatha Lane settlement will be discussed on July 19 (10:30 a.m.). The 68-unit Lincoln Street settlement is set for the same day, at 2:30 p.m.

Anyone interested in listening to or participating in the hearing should email abby.bowker@jud.ct.gov, or call 860-548-2851 for instructions.

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Wondering about electrical vehicle incentives and free charging opportunities?

The EV Club of Connecticut has the answers. They’ll provide them during a free virtual webinar: (July 27, 7 p.m.).

The program is co-sponsored by the Town of Westport, and Sustainable Westport. Click here to register, and for more information.

Electric vehicles lined up by the Staples charging stations (from left): Chevy Bolt, Tesla S, VW, Tesla X, Nissan Leafes,

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo is black-and-white — in color:

(Photo/Jamie Walsh)

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And finally … today in 2007, Apple released its first iPhone. The world has never been the same.

 

Cross Street, Hiawatha Projects Settlements Near

Two of Westport’s longest-running — and thorniest — housing issues may soon come to conclusions.

RTM member and Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce executive director Matthew Mandell has been following the sagas of Lincoln/Cross Streets and Hiawatha Lane Extension for years. He writes:

Two major projects, both 8-30g*, have come to a negotiated resolution: Lincoln / Cross Street as well as Hiawatha.

Both will be presented to the public by the Planning & Zoning Commission this  Wednesday (May 12, 7 p.m., Zoom). There will be an outline of what each will be, and the public will be allowed to comment. It is anticipated that P&Z will then vote on each.

How did we get here? 

P&Z denied the Lincoln multi-story 80+ unit project, and was then sued by the developer. The judge ruled in favor of the developer. 8-30g cases are exceedingly hard to defend. Even though there were severe safety issues, the judge said the need for affordable housing essentially outweighed them.

The P&Z then worked with the neighbors and the developer to make the project more palatable. I was not in any of the meetings, so I too am waiting to see what has come out of it.

The settlement may lessens the impact on Lincoln Street, just south of Cross Street.

As for Hiawatha: P&Z, the Board of Selectmen, the Department of Housing and everyone else who ever said boo about this project was sued over this one. There were actually 7 lawsuits still pending after this 16-year battle.

With this negotiated settlement, all of them go away. Their ancillary issues, some of which could have been detrimental long-term to the entire town, will be gone as well.

While some of the suits might have been won, I am not sure all 7 would have. This was always an egregious project of 5 buildings with 187 units, where 10 naturally occurring affordable homes exist in the middle of an affordable neighborhood.

Homes on Hiawatha Lane.

This one is going to hurt. I can’t say more on the issue, but we will all see it when it comes public. I am very sad about this outcome, and really feel for the neighborhood. We all fought for 16 years against a developer and lawyer who only saw opportunity and not people.

In the end, it is the town that gets sued. It’s the town that negotiates for itself, and they make the call in these cases. A silver lining may be, with both of these projects the town would probably get another 4 year moratorium from 8-30g projects.

The Planning & Zoning Commission welcomes public comment at Wednesday’s 7 p.m. meeting. Click here for the Zoom link. The meeting ID is 816 5841 6015. The passcode is 221876.

*8-30 g is a Connecticut statute. It says that that unless 10 percent of a town’s housing stock is “affordable” — according to state definition — a developer planning to include affordable units can challenge a town’s denial of a proposal.

Judge Rules In Favor Of Cross Street Development

In October 2018, the Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously rejected a plan to build a 6-story, 81-unit apartment complex between Lincoln and Cross Streets, off Post Road West.

The 7-0 vote was based on fire, traffic and other safety concerns, as well as historic preservation.

The developer — Cross Street LLC — appealed.

Last week, state Superior Court Judge Andrew Roraback sustained the appeal. He noted that despite evidence supporting fire and traffic safety issues, and historic preservation, none of those reasons “clearly outweighed” the need for affordable housing.

The proposal had been brought under Connecticut’s 8-30g statute. It allows a developer to override local zoning regulations if at least 10% of a town’s housing stock is not “affordable.” Westport’s is not — although affordable housing built before 1990 is not considered under the formula.

However, the judge added that the developer must ask the town’s Traffic Authority — which, in Westport, is the Board of Selectmen — to remove some existing on-street parking spaces, to accommodate the sight lines needed.

A number of neighborhood residents rely on street parking. Driveways are small and narrow; some lack garages, and some homes have multiple tenants.

The town has 20 days from the issuance of the decision to appeal.

Friday Flashback #90

Earlier this week, the Westport Historic District Commission voted unanimously to recommend that 13 homes on Lincoln Street, and 4 more on nearby Riverside Avenue, comprise a new Historic District.

The houses were all built between the 1850s and 1930s.

Seth Schachter quickly sent “06880” this postcard, from his collection. It shows Lincoln Street from Post Road West — then called State Street — looking east, toward Riverside Avenue and the Saugatuck River.

Seth guesses the photo is from the early 1900s.

The road does not look much different today.

Which is the best possible reason I know that it should indeed be called a Historic District.

Lincoln Street Nears Historic District Designation

Last night, Westport’s Historic District Commission unanimously supported the creation of a new historic district. Comprising 13 houses on Lincoln Street and 4 on Riverside Avenue — all built between the 1850s and 1930s — the designation could help the town in court, should it oppose a plan for an 81-unit housing development proposed for the area.

Lincoln Street connects Post Road West and Riverside. It is near Kings Highway and Saugatuck Elementary Schools, and Assumption Church.

Here — thanks to alert “06880” reader Tina Torraco — is a glimpse of that historic neighborhood.

81 Housing Units On The Horizon

If Westporters have traffic and density concerns about 9 homes proposed for the 2.2-acre Daybreak property, I wonder how they’ll react to this news.

Next Tuesday (April 10, 7:30 p.m., Town Hall Room 309), the Architectural Review Board hears a proposal for an 81-unit residential development near one of our town’s most congested intersections.

The application — submitted for property owned by Cross Street, LLC — is for the property bordered by Post Road West, Lincoln Street and Cross Street.

That’s just beyond Kings Highway Elementary School and Westport Rehabilitation Complex (formerly Mediplex), on the crest of the hill leading to Riverside Avenue, Wilton Road and downtown Westport.

Post Road West, where 81 units of housing are proposed.

A couple of years ago, several blighted homes were bulldozed there. The lot has been vacant since — except for one house.

The development will consist of 27 1-bedroom homes, and 54 2-bedroom houses.

Oh, yeah: It’s an affordable housing proposal, under the state’s 8-30g statute.

Comments offered at the ARB meeting will be considered by the Planning & Zoning Commission, when they review the application.

(Hat tip: Matt Murray)

Breaking News: Lincoln Street Rezoning Application Withdrawn

As noted in the “Comments” section of this morning’s “06880” story on the proposed application to rezone part of Lincoln Road, for a Westport Health Care Center parking lot:

Per:
Laurence Bradley, AICP
Planning & Zoning Director
Town of Westport

The rezoning application at 14 and 20 Lincoln Street has been withdrawn.

Lincoln Street will continue to look like this — at least for a while.

Lincoln Street Lot

After 2 months, the strike at the Westport Health Care Center continues. The chants and noise-making have died down, but dozens of nursing home caregivers still protest what they call unfair labor practices at the Burr Road facility.

Meanwhile, the nursing home’s owner — New Jersey-based HealthBridge/Care One — is gearing up for another battle. This Thursday (September 6, 7 p.m., Town Hall auditorium), the Planning & Zoning Commission holds a public hearing. Item 1 on the agenda is an application to rezone 2 properties on Lincoln Street — off Post Road West, parallel to Burr Road — from “Zone A Residential” to “Restricted Office Retail District.”

Healthbridge hopes to buy and tear down the 2 homes, and replace them with a 26-car parking lot. Neighbors fear it will be “lit and used around the clock, 7 days a week.”

Nearly 2 dozen residents of the area oppose the application. A few neighbors favor it.

Lincoln Street today.

Last month — with both houses listed on the town’s Historic Resources Inventory — the Historic District Commission heard testimony and received letters from neighbors. A majority opposed the zoning change. The commission then voted unanimously to oppose the request for a change. Their memo cited “a serious intrusion, and irreparable damage to the existing residential character of this distinctive historic neighborhood.”

The 2 homes are multi-family, moderate-incoming housing. Including a cottage, 6 housing units would be lost.

Opponents of the application cite a Connecticut Historical Commission description from 1988:

Lincoln Street is the only known, turn-of-the-century speculative development on the west side of the river, and it is very important because it is a complete, intact, period streetscape.

Lincoln Street, around the turn of the 20th century.

(Lincoln Street) retains its early-20th century character, and should be preserved as a record of the residential development.

Lincoln Street may not be paradise. But it’s handsome, and home to many longtime Westporters.

Will Healthbridge demolish those homes, pave them, and put up a parking lot?