Tag Archives: Post Road West

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.

Pic Of The Day #1106

Intriguing lines, at the Post Road West/Wilton Road intersection (Photo/John Videler for Videler Photography)

Photo Challenge #269

Last week’s pre-Presidents Day Photo Challenge featured Anne Bernier’s shot of a plaque, honoring George Washington’s November 11, 1789 visit to Westport. (His 4th time here, though his only one as president.)

So where was the old Marvin Tavern — and where is the plaque today? (Click here for the photo.)

As Morley Boyd, Peter Barlow and Amy Schneider quickly noted, it stood on what we now call Post Road West, near Kings Highway South. Specifically, the plaque is at #290. That’s the United Food & Commercial Workers building, next to the empty UBS headquarters. Probably the only people who see the plaque are in the parking lot. Not a lot of foot traffic there.

According to Woody Klein’s history of Westport, President Washington spent the night of November 11, 1789 at the inn of Captain Ozias Marvin. His wife Sarah and her daughters cooked up a mammoth meal: “loaves of brown bread, pies, the finest vegetables from their farm, huge roasts hanging from an open fire.”

However, President Washington asked only for a bowl of bread, and milk. (The rest of his party enjoyed the feast.) In his diary, Washington called it “not a good house, though the people of it were disposed to do all they could to accommodate me.”

Today’s Photo Challenge seems pretty easy.

(Photo/Peter Tulupman)

Obviously, it’s 157 Riverside Avenue.

So here’s the question: Why is this a Photo Challenge?

If you know, click “Comments” below.

If You Thought All That Construction At The Post Road And Riverside Was About A Turning Lane …

… think again.

A new utility pole just went up at what has been called “the worst intersection in the state.”

(Photo/Jeff Manchester)

I’m going waaaay out on a limb here with a prediction for 2020:

Traffic will continue to suck there.

Post Road Real Estate: Tenants Needed!

In June of 2017, alert “06880” reader/Westport Museum of History and Culture house historian Bob Weingarten drove the entire Westport stretch of the Post Road. He counted the number of commercial buildings with either a “For Rent” or “For Sale” sign.

There were 50.

He shared the information on “06880.” It generated 57 comments.

Two years later he did it again. This time there were 65 commercial properties  looking for tenants — 15 more. Many — including 2 former banks, a gas station and several large retail storefronts — were still vacant from 2 years earlier.

The Mobil Self-Serve property next to Barnes & Noble remains vacant.

Once again, Bob’s story touched a nerve. Fifty readers commented.

The 3rd time — a couple of weeks ago — showed another increase. Now, 72 commercial buildings are available for rent or purchase.

Bob says that one bank building was added to the already empty two. Large retail storefronts still not occupied include the old Pier 1,  and XL Clothing building.

The Mobil gas station near Barnes & Noble, and the large garden center near Stop & Shop are still vacant.

Additionally, 2 new commercial buildings near the new Ignazio’s Pizza (just west of Sherwood Diner), with townhouses in the rear, are unoccupied.

Newly constructed — and not yet rented — space at the foot of Long Lots and the Post Road.

Bob is “alarmed” by the number of empty stores adjacent to Fresh Market.

A renovated large office building on Post Road West will start renting in January, for use as co-working and shared offices.

Empty space on Post Road West, just up the hill from Wright Street.

“I don’t understand how we can be told the economy is getting better and better, with the increasing number of available, empty commercial units,” Bob says.

And, he adds, his figures do not include the apartments that may be available across from Greens Farms Elementary School, or the new townhouses near the diner.

“Several empty available commercial spaces are now occupied — but they are relocations from other spaces on the Post Road, filling one spot but leaving another unoccupied,” he notes. These include Sam Slots Coins, Millie Rae’s and Earth Animal.

“What is going on in the Westport commercial economy?” he asks.

Tons of available space near Fresh Market. (Photos/Bob Weingarten)

Tracking The Trolley

Last night, alert “06880” reader/EMS deputy director Marc Hartog was working another job: traffic agent.

He assisted a construction crew installing water service to a building at the corner of Route 1 and Riverside Avenue.

Digging for the main, they uncovered old trolley tracks in the middle of Post Road West.

(Photo/Marc Hartog)

Treating them like dinosaur relics, the crew worked around the tracks, rather than removing them.

When the service is connected to the main, they’ll back fill and cover them with asphalt.

Once again, an important bit of Westport history will lie forgotten and undisturbed — until another 21st-century project digs deep, again.

(NOTE: In the 19th and early 20th centuries, trolleys rolled up and down the Post Road, connecting towns and cities all along the coast. A spur took riders to Compo Beach. Tracks remained through the 1950s, though service had been discontinued.)

Post Road Real Estate: 2 Years Later

Alert “06880” reader Bob Weingarten writes:

In June 2017 I drove along the Post Road from the eastern border, near Bulkley Avenue, to the western end, near Whole Foods. I counted the number of buildings — including individual offices or retail space — for lease or sale. I spotted 50 signs, just on the Post Road.

These figures were the basis of an “06880” story: “This Space For Lease.” It drew 57 comments.

Because we have been told that the economy is “so strong,” I decided to drive the same route, and again count how many buildings or individual offices were for lease or sale.

This time I spotted over 65 for lease or sale. That does not include all the new residential construction on the Post Road, such as the 94 apartments at 1177 Post Road East, or the 2 mixed-use buildings with a total of 28 apartments (some in townhouses) at 793 Post Road East.

The former A&J’s Market on Post Road East is available …

While counting, I realized that this mix of for lease or sale buildings and offices was extremely different from 2017.

This time I spotted 2 bank buildings, a gas station, a farm market, a classic car dealer, and several large commercial buildings and retail outlets for lease or sale.

… as is the old Mobil Self-Serve near Barnes & Noble …

During the past 2 years many of the former for-lease buildings have been occupied. But it appears to me there is a larger inventory of space available now, with larger properties.

I have my own opinion as to the reasons — for example, higher rental rates or the economy — but other readers may have better knowledge.

… and the nearby bank, at the corner of Morningside Drive.

The 2017 Post Road story noted that there were “10 or so others on Main Street.” I just drove from the Post Road to Avery Place on Main Street, and counted 10 buildings or retail spaces for lease.

From Avery Place to Kings Highway North I saw an additional 3 more “for lease signs.”

The same questions posed in 2017 are still relevant today: “Is something wrong with Westport’s commercial real estate market? If so, are there solutions?”

Click “Comments” below to offer answers.

Or more questions.

Pic Of The Day #712

Art and architecture on Post Road West (Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

Photo Challenge #193

There are many ways to describe the location of last week’s Photo Challenge.

Post Road West, right over the bridge. The 2nd floor apartments over Arezzo restaurant, Winfield Street Deli, Stephen Kempson and Age of Reason. The Hunt & Downs Building. Across from National Hall.

All are correct. It’s a familiar sight, even if the angle was different. Click here for the photo.

Congratulations to Tom Ryan, Elaine Marino, Rich Stein, Fred Cantor, Seth Goltzer, Bruce Salvo, Linda Amos, Rosalie Kaye, Bobbie Herman, Martha Witte, Joelle Malec, Yvonne Ferris, Joyce Bottone and Michael Calise. No matter how they identified it, they nailed the challenge.

Here’s this week’s photo:

(Photo/Mark Mathias)

We’ve all walked by it — often. But how many of us actually notice it?

If you have, click “Comments” below.

81-Unit Housing Application Withdrawn; Aquarion Meeting Still On

You know that controversial plan to build 81 units of housing on the small parcel of land between Post Road West, Lincoln Street and Cross Street? The one that was going to draw a huge crowd to tonight’s Planning and Zoning Commission meeting?

It’s off the table — for now.

Cross Street LLC has withdrawn its site plan application. P&Z director Mary Young said it will be resubmitted. Public hearings will begin again September 6.

But there’s still plenty of action at Town Hall tonight. The P&Z meeting has been switched to Room 201/201A.

Moving into the auditorium — also at 7 p.m. — is a Public Utilities Regulatory Authority public hearing.

The topic: Aquarion’s proposal to build 2 large water tanks on North Avenue.