Tag Archives: The Clubhouse

Roundup: “Clubhouse” Approval, RTM Petitions, Gloria’s Woods …

The Planning & Zoning Commission voted unanimously last night to approve the indoor golf and entertainment center — “The Clubhouse” — proposed for 1608-1620 Post Road East (the current site of Redi-Cut Carpet and Pane e Bene restaurant).

The P&Z also okayed 10 townhouses, at the rear of the property. Two will be affordable, as determined by state guidelines.

That’s a much less intensive use than a previous developer’s plan, for an 8-30g housing development there:

An earlier 8-30g concept for 1608-1620 Post Road East.

Last night’s decision is the first step in the process for Westport residents Tim and Emily Zobl. Next on the agenda: a final site plan.

Proposed site of “The Clubhouse.”


Speaking of local politics: Want to run for the Representative Town Meeting?

Petitions for our legislative branch — the RTM — are available, starting today in the Town Clerk’s office at Town Hall.

Interested candidates must gather 25 signatures from residents in their district to be on the ballot November 7. The deadline is September 12.

The 36-person RTM is non-partisan; all terms are 2 years. There are 9 voting districts, with 4 members each. Click here for a district map.

RTM members vote on town appropriation requests of more than $20,000; approve town ordinances, and the town budget; serve on 2 or more committees, and review certain decisions of town boards and commissions.

For more information, contact Town Clerk Jeffrey Dunkerton: 203-341-1105; jdunkerton@westportct.gov.


“Gloria” — Alan Sterling’s beloved oyster boat, which graced Gray’s Creek for many years but deteriorated slowly after his death 9 years ago — may have found its final resting place.

(Photo/Bruce McFadden)

Perhaps it was moved into the nearby woods. Perhaps it was deposited there by a very high tide.

Whatever happened, “Gloria” is now out of the water.

To read a number of “06880” back stories on this legendary Westport craft — and its oysterman captain — click here.


The blue-wrapped house at 233 Hillspoint Road has generated a lot of controversy — and not gotten much love — over the past few years.

Another blue-wrapped construction project has not generated many comments at all.

But, many Westporters wonder: What’s going on at the corner of Main Street and Parker Harding Plaza?

(Photo/Dan Woog)

177 Main Street — the restored 1775 house that was most recently home to Local to Market, and before that Talbots and (of course) the Remarkable Book Shop — was purchased by Eleish Van Breems Home Westport.

Headquartered on Franklin Street, and with stores on Railroad Place  and Nantucket, Eleish Van Breems offers “a clean, elegant and fresh approach to interiors, all with a Scandinavian essence.”

There’s no target date for opening.

But it’s safe to say it will be a lot sooner than that very-unloved home on Hillspoint.


Want a sneak peek at Tacombi, the new Mexican restaurant replacing A&J’s Market on the Post Road between Lansdowne and Stop & Shop?

And want to support a great cause at the same time?

Realtor Judy Michaelis and Hightower Financial Group host a pre-opening party on August 4 (5:30 p.m.). There’s plenty of food and drink — and 100% of ticket sales directly support Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service.

Click here for tickets, and more information.


The recent appointment of Dr. Penny Proskinitopoulos as principal of Coleytown Middle School created a vacancy at Staples High School. She spent the past 2 years there, as assistant principal.

That post has been filled by a familiar face. Micah Lawrence returns to the place where he began his academic career — which is also his alma mater.

Lawrence worked for many years at Staples as a school counselor, administrator and coach.

Micah Lawrence


Lyman, Ukraine continues to need help.

And Felicia Catale keeps helping.

The owner of Salon Nash on Post Road West is giving free haircuts to anyone who donates to our sister city.

Her cuts and blow dries — for men, women and kids — usually go for standard rates. But anyone who contributes any amount gets one, gratis.

Click here to donate via the Ukraine Aid International website (under “Designation,” choose “Westport-Lyman” from the dropdown menu).

Then call or text Felicia (203-747-9753) to make an appointment. Bring your donation receipt to enjoy your free, generous hair session!

Felicia Catale


Everyone has a different way to enjoy Compo Beach.

Some people ride bikes, jog, walk, or walk their dogs. Some play basketball or softball. Others rollerblade, skateboard, kayak or kitesurf. A few even swim.

Then there was this group yesterday:

(Photo/Karen Como)

Yoga at the beach. Bring a mat, and head on down!


Speaking of the water: Yesterday’s “06880” Roundup included a cool shot of a handsome boat, with a red heart prominently on onoe sail.

(Photo/Elle Bowe)

We wondered who owned it.

Turns out there’s more to the back story than, um, meets the eye.

Alert “06880” reader Dave Wilson responds: “The owner is named Mike Hart (so the pun is intended). He charters the boat out of Norwalk.

“He used to be an island keeper for an island off Rowayton. It has only one house, and was owned by wealthy families over the years.”

One was Broadway’s Billy Rose. Another noted visitor — perhaps when she lived in Westport — was Marilyn Monroe.

For far more information on Tavern Island, click here. For more on Mike Hart, click here.


Twiddle lit up Westport — literally.

The Vermont-based band with a huge cult following attracted tons of out-of-towners to the Levitt Pavilion. The crowd danced for nearly the entire 5-hour set.

Just to remind everyone where they were, this was part of the scene:

(Photo/Jay Petrow)


Since the pandemic, parking at the Westport railroad station has not been a problem.

However, this takes the concept to a new level:

(Photo/JD Dworkow)

JD Dworkow reports that this train has been parked here since Thursday.

All aboard! Next stop: Willoughby!


Longtime Westporter Sanford (Sandy) Libow — one of our last World War II veterans — died last month in Stamford. Addie, his wife of 67 years, was at his side. He was 96 years old.

After graduating from Brooklyn’s James Madison High School and
serving in the Army, he earned his master’s from New York University. He was
editor-in-chief of the yearbook and the University Guidebook. Sandy then joined Fairfield Publications as a reporter.

In 1952 he founded Ideal Electrical Supply Corp. in Mt. Kisco, New York. He was president and CEO until he sold the business in 1999.

Sandy’s many community activities included president of Congregation Sons of Israel in Briarcliff Manor, New York and Birchwood Country Club. He also served on the boards of The Jewish Home for the Elderly in Fairfield, and Temple Israel.

In 1973 he was honored by the Westchester County Bond Drive, in
celebration of Israel’s 25th anniversary. He was particularly proud of his volunteer service at Boca Regional Hospital’s Infusion Lab in Florida.

Sandy took pride that from humble beginnings he became a person with broad
interests including sports, politics, art, music, theatre, movies and bridge, with a particular love for jazz.

He was an avid tennis player and golfer, and was extremely knowledgeable in all sports, particularly his beloved New York Mets.

In addition to Addie he is survived by his daughter Lindsey Weinstein and son Marc; grandchildren Scott (Caitlin), Jess, Nick, Claudia, Jordyn and Zachary, and great-granddaughter Alina, who was born just 2 days before he died, as well as his daughters-in-law Elizabeth and Elise, son-in-law Bruce and his brother Dr. Leslie Libow (Linda).His eldest child, Daryl Libow, died in 2018

Sandy Libow


Wasps make huge nests.

When they hang on tree branches, we watch them with a combination of awe and fear.

But this one is much closer to home — literally.

It’s the first wasp nest featured on “Westport … Naturally.” Let’s hope — at least at this site — it’s the last.

(Photo/Jonathan Alloy)


And finally … in honor of the scene at the Westport railroad station (story above): There are a zillion train songs I could have picked.

This one — by our next door neighbor — seems most appropriate:

(Today — and every day — the Roundup is filled with news you can use. Or not — that’s up to you. But if you appreciate all the work that goes into compiling it, please consider an “06880” donation. Just click here. Thank you!)

P&Z Hears “Clubhouse” Application


Westport’s Planning & Zoning Commission gave a generally positive reception last night to requests for text changes and a General Development Plan for 1608-1622 Post Road East — the current site of Redi-Cut Carpet and Pane e Bene restaurant, among others — to permit a family golf entertainment facility, landscaping, and 10 townhouses. Two would be below market rates. (Click here for more details.)

Current tenants at the proposed Clubhouse site.

Commissioners asked tough questions, for 2 hours. Approximately 50 attendees joined the Zoom meeting, which had been rescheduled from the previous week after a technical glitch.

The public’s primary concerns involved sound from an outdoor dining roof deck, traffic, and the environmental condition of the site. After a nearby mini-golf course and driving range closed, the area was used as an informal dump.

Both sides seemed open to next steps for project approval. Among them: further discussions, walk-throughs with neighbors, and third party environmental testing.

Most commissioners seemed excited by the possibility of adding a new concept to the town’s entertainment options. Several asked for more time to review the application.

Vice chair Paul Lebowitz noted that granting approval might protect the site from being targeted for a larger 8-30g development.

P&Z chair Danielle Dobin called the concept “a great use. It’s exactly the kind of thing we’re trying to encourage to have more of in the town of Westport. I love the concept.”

Dobin acknowledged neighbors’ concerns over potential noise from a roof deck.

Planning and Zoning Department director said that applicants Tim and Emily Zobl — she’s a 2012 Staples High School graduate and former University of Michigan field hockey player, now co-founder and president of a firm that invests in hospitality, food services, technology and multi-media publishing; he has an events planning background, and is a local realtor — are “kind of a who’s who of Westport….I think these are people you can trust. I think these are people who are going to follow through.”

The hearing continues next Monday (July 24, 7 p.m., Zoom).

Tim and Emily Zobl.

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New Clubhouse Comes To The Fore

Westport is awash in restaurants and retail.

We’re blessed with outdoor amenities like Compo Beach and Longshore.

But when it comes to indoor fun — family activities, evenings with friends, date nights — not so much.

No movies or bowling, like Norwalk. No golf simulators, like Fairfield and Stamford.

Well, not today.

But — if Emily and Tim Zobl get the approvals and permits they need — hopefully next year.

Tim and Emily Zobl.

The Westporters — she’s a 2012 Staples High School graduate and former University of Michigan field hockey player, now co-founder and president of a firm that invests in hospitality, food services, technology and multi-media publishing; he has an events planning background, and is a local realtor — go before the Planning & Zoning Commission July 10.

They’ll present a concept for The Clubhouse: a “golf simulator lounge” activity space with 6 state-of-the-art bays that have 13 interactive experiences in golf, football, soccer, hockey, dodgeball and more; private rooms for birthday parties, corporate events, karaoke and big-screen game viewings, plus a bar with craft cocktails and a pub-bites menu.

Phase 2 involves 10 homes. Two will be affordable, according to state formulas.

The site is 1608-1622 Post Road East. Redi-Cut Carpet & Rugs, with a long-term lease, will remain. The other tenants — including Pane e Bene restaurant — would move or close.

1620 Post Road East was built in 1946.

It’s a true Westport project. Emily was part of the team that saved the historic Old Mill Grocery & Deli last year, and serves on the Earthplace board. Both are experienced in the hospitality industry, and love golf.

Their goals are to offer fun, new activities that Westport lacks; improve a 1940s-era building, and add landscaping and screening; provide a bit of affordable housing — and save the property from a much larger 8-30g project, which has been proposed in the past.

The Zobls are now in the due diligence phase. The P&Z hearing next week includes a text and map amendment, and review of a general development plan.

If approved, the couple will continue with engineering and architecture plans, an application to the Architectural Review Board and more.

The Clubhouse will include not just golf simulators …

The Clubhouse would be part of a renaissance of the Post Road between Maple Avenue and Stop & Shop. Delamar has torn down the Westport Inn. It will be replaced by a boutique hotel.

Rick Redniss of the Redniss & Mead land use and engineering firm is working on both Delamar Westport, and The Clubhouse.

Just east of the Zobls’ project — at the former AJ’s Farm Stand — work proceeds on Tacombi, the first Connecticut location for the popular New York-based taqueria.

… but adaptations for football, baseball, soccer, hockey dodgeball and other sports. Participants will feel like they’re part of the action.

The acre of land behind The Clubhouse — Phase 2 of the Zobls’ project — has been zoned residential for decades.

The Lansdowne condominiums were built next door 4 decades ago, on the site of a former miniature golf course and driving range. The range became an unofficial dump. Though several proposals were made for the property behind the carpet store — including an intensive 8-30g project — nothing was ever built.

The Zobls have held several meetings with neighbors on George Street — behind the land — and nearby High Gate Road, along with the adjacent Lansdowne condos.

“We’re very sensitive to them,” Emily says. “We want to be an asset. We’re working with them to make this a success for everyone.

“We’re not developers from New York. This is our town. Tim will be on site, running the daily operation.

“He’ll oversee the simulators, the lounge, private events, karaoke — everything. This is a true local business.”

The architect is local too: Rick Hoag.

Though the couple is excited about the possibilities — for family fun, night life, and of course the housing component — they are not rushing things.

“We want to do this right,” Tim says.

It’s their Clubhouse. They look forward to welcoming the entire town to it.

PS: The Zobls first looked at 950 Post Road East — the former Men’s Wearhouse — for The Clubhouse. But there were parking issues, and it was too close to neighbors.

On July 10 — the same night the P&Z hears the text and map amendment requests from the Zobls — they’ll discuss  special permit and site plan application to permit a veterinary hospital/animal clinic at 950 Post Road East.

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Unsung Hero #235

With a few days off from Little League practice, 10-year-old Beckett O’Malley wanted to work on his hitting.

So last Saturday, his dad Ian looked for a batting cage. He found The Clubhouse in Fairfield.

The door was open. But owner Mike Porzio said, “I’m sorry. We’re closed for the Easter holiday. I’m just here teaching a couple of students.” Ian thought they were high school or college age.

Mike saw the disappointment on Beckett’s face. He quickly changed his mind, and said they could use an area next to where he was teaching — for free.

That was a super-kind gesture, Ian says.

Beckett O’Malley and Mike Porzio.

But there was more.

Mike stopped what he was doing, and began teaching Beckett the mechanics of hitting, in a way the boy easily understood.

Mike is the real deal. The Norwalk native pitched for 3 MLB seasons with the Colorado Rockies and Chicago White Sox.

Within minutes, Ian says, his son’s swing was “night and day.” Mike went back to teaching the 2 older athletes.

But there was still more.

With only a net separating the areas, Mike kept an eye on Beckett. He continued offering tips, and words of encouragement.

“Mike was a total game changer,” Ian says.

Literally and figuratively.

Congratulations to Mike Porzio, our “06880” Unsung Hero of the Week. If you know of a worthy candidate, email 06880blog@gmail.com,