Tag Archives: Regency Centers

A Happy Osprey Update

Yesterday, “06880” reader James McDonald said he had not seen Westport’s ospreys at their Post Road East nest in a week. He wrote that sparrows had taken up residence there, and accused Regency Centers — the owner of the Fresh Market osprey pole — with “effectively murdering” the raptor family.

Put down your pitchforks!

A few minutes ago, alert “06880” reader Chip Stephens spotted this sight in the trees behind Terrain:

(Photo/Chip Stephens)

Chip reports that the male is in branches above the nest, looking down at what he assumes is the mother.

He hears noises, and thinks she may be laying eggs.

Just in time for Easter!

Regency Apologizes; Vows To Do Better

Last night, Regency Centers went before the Westport Planning & Zoning Commission, seeking permission for work on the facade and parking lot at Fresh Market — the shopping plaza they own.

“06880” readers remember that last weekend, prior to to approval, Regency had an osprey nest on their property removed. An uproar ensued, before the owners placed the platform back on its pole.

Alert “06880” reader Carolyn Doan was at Town Hall last night. She reports that Jack deVilliers, Regency Vice President, began with an apology. He thanked Westporters — and “06880” — for their concern, and noted that Regency appreciates having its regional office here in Westport. He said that the company “got it wrong” with respect to their removal of the nest, adding that the company did consult with the Audubon Society and Department of Energy and Environmental Protection prior to its actions.

The ospreys are back in their nest, after Regency replaced the platform they removed last weekend. (Photo/Carolyn McPhee)

DeVilliers acknowledged that Regency’s apologies might not be enough for some Westporters.

He promised the company would do better in the future, then presented plans for the property that included a rain garden (water holding pond) and restaurant.

Several speakers talked about parking issues, asked about the restaurant — and expressed concern about Regency going forward, with regard to its properties and the ospreys.

No vote was taken. Regency will return April 25, to address issues like fencing and the neighbors.

But the P&Z did approve the new Westport Weston YMCA building expansion and Camp Mahackeno project. It includes a water slide, splash pad, new heated pool and archery range.

Osprey Nest Is Back!

After an anguished weekend, Westport’s favorite ospreys once again have a home.

True to its word, Regency Centers — the owners of the Fresh Market shopping plaza, who directed the removal of the nest on Saturday — worked through the night to replace it.

Several “06880” readers gleefully — even giddily — reported the good news this morning.

Richard Webb got a great photo.

(Photo/Richard Webb)

He writes: “I saw them fishing in the Saugatuck River this morning.  I also saw them flying about. They are working hard!”

Also working hard: hundreds of Westporters, all weekend long, to help make this happen. The ospreys thank you.

Osprey Odyssey: Regency Responds

Jack deVilliers — Regency Centers vice president — just responded on 06880+ to the controversy raging after yesterday’s osprey nest removal. Regency owns the Fresh Market shopping center where the event took place. He writes:

To our neighbors,

As many of you are aware there was a removal of a nesting platform at The Village Center that served as a breeding ground and home for two ospreys. Before any work was done on this we consulted a variety of environmental and wildlife sources to find the best way to avoid having our upcoming construction disturb a nesting environment. We were informed that if the nest was not present before the breeding season then the ospreys would be able to make a new nest somewhere else. There never was any removal of existing eggs or birds at any point.

For those who might be unaware, the upcoming construction work is intended to redo the facade, upgrade the parking, a substantial tree installation, sustainable LED lighting, and a rain garden. However, although our intentions were to mitigate any disturbance to our avian neighbors, we may have missed the mark with seeing the whole picture.

Thanks in part to the community feedback that we have received, we have decided to reinstall the platform as soon as possible. Not only that, but we will modify our construction schedule for the breeding season, and will be providing a buffer area that cannot be disturbed until we can determine the fledglings have safely vacated the area. At which point, we will resume our efforts without any negative effect to the ospreys.

It is extremely important to us that we are good and responsible neighbors, and that includes our feathered friends as well as our human ones. We can’t thank everyone enough for their concern and interest on the topic, and a special thank you to those who reached out to us.

Jack deVilliers – Vice President at Regency Centers
203-635-5562

Osprey on a pole, this afternoon. (Photo/Richard Hyman)

Ospreys and Regency Centers: VERY Interesting Sunday Afternoon Report

It appears now that Regency Centers — the owner of both the Fresh Terrain shopping plaza and Terrain — is the bad actor in yesterday’s removal of an osprey nest on a pole between the two properties.

Regency’s management company — or a sub-contractor — took down the nest. When confronted by Terrain employees, they claimed to be Audubon Society workers. They also did not have a permit from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. A permit is mandated by the Federal Migratory Bird Act of 1918.

But here’s where the story gets really interesting.

This Thursday, April 4 (7 p.m., Town Hall), Westport’s Planning & Zoning Commission has a regularly scheduled meeting.

Agenda item #3 is a request by Regency Centers for “Westport Village Center” — aka the Fresh Market plaza — for “a Site Plan approval for proposed exterior alteration to the building façade and modifications to the parking lot for property located in RBD and Residence A zones, PID# E09068000.”

In other words: The illegal osprey nest removal in preparation for parking lot work was done prior to P&Z approval.

Regency Centers — owner of the Fresh Market plaza — will ask the P&Z on Thursday for permission to make changes to the facade and parking lot.

And here’s where the story gets even more interesting.

Thursday’s meeting is a public hearing. Westporters are welcome to attend — and speak.

(You can also make your feelings known by email before the meeting: pandz@westportct.gov.)

Regency is well known to Westport — and the P&Z. When Regency bought the Fresh Market plaza, they promised to plant trees in front, and install a sidewalk. That has not yet been done.

Regency also owns Compo Acres Shopping Center (anchored by Trader Joe’s). Westporters — particularly those living behind the back parking lot — have not forgotten the work-first-ask-questions-later job done on the retaining wall there.

A similar incident occurred in the back of yet another property owned by Regency: the shopping center across the street from Fresh Market.

Thursday’s P&Z meeting should be very interesting indeed.

—————————————

Meanwhile, back to the ospreys. Someone involved in the utility industry — who asked for anonymity based on the nature of his work — examined this morning’s photo of the removal of the nest. He writes:

The photo taken by the high school freshman of the bucket truck yesterday tells this old utility veteran several things.

This is a “streetlight” pole, set exclusively for mounting the 2 streetlights clearly shown in the photo, whose lights provide security lighting for Fresh Market’s parking lot.

12-year-old James Doan took this photo today, of an osprey at its old nest pole. His mother Carolyn says, “The male is flying around the female with sticks and possibly food. The cry is tough to hear.”

All streetlights are supplied by secondary wires, energized 100% of the time. So this pole has active power supplied to it — a safety hazard for anyone choosing to work on this pole top.

The utility always works with safety most paramount. If this contractor wanted to take this action they should have contacted the utility well in advance to get approval.

Since the utility erected the platform originally. I assume they would never have granted approval for this action. They also would never allow this contractor to work on their pole without authorization, and proof that the contractor is “qualified” to work on energized equipment.

Looks pretty clear that regardless of what DEEP or Audubon said to this contractor, they were also violating various rules and regulations of the utility and perhaps should be treated accordingly. License revocation? Fines? Local Westport electrical inspector might also be someone to get involved with this in that regard.