Tag Archives: Westport Planning & Zoning Commission

Seeking Westport’s Vision: The Sequel

Clarence Hayes’ “Opinion” piece — posted this morning on “06880,” urging Westport’s politicians and residents to adopt a “vision” for the future — has already generated 26 comments.

Some of them noted that Westport already has such a plan. It’s state-mandated, developed with input from a broad array of stakeholders, and updated regularly. 

Clarence asked me to add this clarification. He writes:

Numerous engaged Westport citizens have pointed out to me that I am not up to speed with work already well advanced around many of the points in my original comments. Mea culpa!

In regards to taking control of the affordable housing issue, a plan was recently adopted by the Planning & Zoning Commission under Danielle Dobin’s leadership, which hits all the points I was hoping would be addressed.  Click here to see.

Screenshot: Westport’s Affordable Housing Plan.

Additionally, as Dick Lowenstein pointed out, Westport has a “10 year Conservation and Development Plan” — in compliance with state law — the last one of which was adopted in 2017. Click here to see.

So I’m learning. Thank you.

I did nor intend to criticize good work which has been accomplished, but rather to suggest even more ambition to do even better.

I maintain my “call to action”: to have a permanent forum for town engagement which:

  • Programmatically links the town’s various volunteer associations to the relevant town board/committee
  • Is structured for input/debate to maintain a long-term plan that touches all town assets, and is regularly amended
  • Establishes concrete goals that reach to 20+ years out — generational levels of development effort
  • Allows for annual measurement of progress
  • Includes results that are visible, front and center, on Westportct.gov, providing effectively a  detailed, easily accessed, ‘who we are’ statement which is more than general aspirations.

Thanks to Mr. Woog for his tireless work providing a Westport “town square!”

Save Westport Now Drops Party Label, Expands Focus

There will soon be one less political party in Westport.

After more than 40 years as a local, non-partisan minority party, Save Westport Now is making a “structural change.”

Instead of acting as an official political party focused solely on Planning & Zoning Commission elections, they’ll operate as an “association.” They’ll expand their focus, and weigh in on other races.

Save Westport Now will not run candidates in the November election.

Save Westport Now was founded in 1980. A grassroots organization, they are “dedicated to protecting residential neighborhoods, preserving Westport’s
small-town New England appeal, ensuring smart growth, preventing over-commercialization, and preserving open space>”

That mission — which also includes protecting the town’s natural and historic resources, and quality of life — will not change, officials say.

The decision was made in part by the recognition that elections at all levels —  including local ones — are now largely driven by national party affiliation.

That makes it difficult for organizations like theirs to remain “truly non-partisan.”

In the 2021 election, 3 Democratic P&Z candidates also ran on the Save Westport Now line. All 3 won.

Danielle Dobin got 532 SWN votes; Michael Cammeyer got 503, and Neil Cohn, 440. Their totals on the Democratic line were 4838, 4571 and 4461 respectively.

Save Westport Now officials also note that “safeguarding Westport’s future requires actively planning for climate change.”

But not all of that planning falls under the P&Z umbrella. Recently, they say, efforts like advocating for keeping the Westport Community Gardens and Long Lots Preserve in their current locations have gone beyond the P&Z.

Save Westport Now has widened its focus beyond the Planning & Zoning Commission umbrella. It has begun advocating on behalf of the Westport Community Gardens. (Photo/Karen Mather)

“Widening our lens will allow us to look at other local candidates — examining their records on land use and environmental issues, and making endorsements in other races beyond P&Z,” Save Westport Now says.

“The same is true for national and statewide issues around housing affordability. While P&Z in recent years has done much to lead on this issue, there is still a great deal that town officials can do to be proactive about meeting or exceeding the affordability targets expected of Westport.

“We believe that that this new approach will give us an even stronger voice in town and improve the election process, allowing us to make recommendations in more races and endorse candidates who we believe will be most responsive to residents, instead of running candidates who are also seeking election on a national party line.

“We will also continue to identify candidates who have conflicts of interest or who might be beholden to certain special interest groups.”

Save Westport Now will not accept contributions from special interest groups, and continue their non-partisan approach.

“After 40 years of advocacy for Westport’s residents,” officials say, “we believe that the challenges the town faces today demand this more nimble and wide-ranging approach. We look forward on working with Westporters of all political affiliations on the important issues facing our town.”

Co-chairs Ian Warburg and Jerri Graham, secretary Mark Kirby, treasurer Jessie Noyes McEntee, and board members Matthew Levine, Nina Streitfeld, Carol Buffinton and Valerie Seiling Jacobs (ex-officio) invite interested Westporters to check out their website or Facebook page, or email

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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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Roundup: Marijuana, Senior Living, The Universe …

The Planning & Zoning Commission will discuss 2 interesting pre-applications at its April 24 remote meeting (7 p.m.; click here for the link).

The first is a request by Bluepoint Wellness to discuss converting their medical marijuana dispensary in the BevMax/Julian’s plaza into a “hybrid cannabis retailer.”

That’s a heavy lift. Text amendment #799, adopted in September 2021, prohibits “cannabis establishments” — except for medical marijuana facilities — throughout town.

The second request, submitted by Richard Anderson on behalf of Home Living LLC, is a discussion on a potential text amendment: “how to change the use from a single-family residence into a home for seniors offering in-home services for up to 12 unrelated residents in need of memory care.”

The request for pre-application review says: “Although senior living residences exist in Westport, this is a unique, creative and beneficial project for seniors living in Westport.

“The current senior living options in Westport consist of very large, corporate and institutional-like facilities serving 100 or more senior residents. The subject project will provide real home living and senior services in an intimate and comfortable home setting.”

No further details on the project were submitted.

The waiting area and service desk, at Bluepoint Wellness.


Reminder: The launch party for “Pick of the Pics” — the “06880” book highlighting over 100 of our blog’s best Pics of the Day — is Sunday, April 30 (2 to 4 p.m., Savvy + Grace, 146 Main Street).

Books will be available for purchase at a special price of $20 (regular Amazon price: $24.95).

I’ll sign copies; so will Lyah Muktavaram, my “06880” intern who did 99% of the work on it.

Photographers featured in the book can pick up a free book at the launch party too.

Can’t wait? Click here to order!


Looking for the universe’s missing mass?

Dr. Regina Caputo — a NASA particles researcher — can help you find it. Or at least explain what’s not there.

She’s the next featured speaker at the Westport Astronomical Society’s free online lecture series. Her “Dark Matters: The Search for the University’s Missing Mass” webinar is this Tuesday (April 18, 8 p.m.).

 Click here for the Zoom link; click here for the YouTube link.

Dr. Regina Caputo


Sign-ups end soon for the Joggers’ Club’s great Kids Running Camp, for just $125. Spots are filling up fast.

Boys and girls ages kindergarten through 8th grade learn the basics of running from local champions — and they do it with friends, having fun every step of the way.

Youngsters are divided into age groups. Workouts encourage teamwork and self-motivation.

Also included: track meets, ice cream trucks, free running gear and more.

The Running Skills program runs (ho ho) Sundays (April 23 to June 11), from 2 to 3:15 p.m. at the Staples High School track.

The Speedwork program (middle schoolers only) is Thursdays (April 27 to June 8), from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Staples.

For more information, email TheJoggersClub@gmail.com


A new exhibition at Betty Cunningham Gallery in New York includes works by Stanley Lewis.

He lives in Massachusetts. But the work chosen by ArtDaily to illustrate his work is this: of Westport’s Winslow Park. The oil on canvas was painted between 2010 and 2014.

Click here for more information. (Hat tip: Robin Jaffee Frank)

“Winslow Park, Westport” (Stanley Lewis)


Coincidentally, there was an artist at work yesterday too, at Winslow Park.

Based on a Google Images search — and the style of painting — this could very well be Stanley Lewis, back for another canvas.

(Photo/Molly Alger)


On the Saugatuck River walkway off Parker Harding Plaza, Johanna Keyser Rossi spotted 2 swan eggs.

The next time she looked, there were 7. They’re the stars of today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo.

The most she’s seen before was 4.

“I hope the eggs hatch this time,” she writes.

We all do. And to help make it happen: Stay away! Give this mom some space, and peace.

(Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)


And finally … it’s April 15.

In honor of all those who pay their taxes:

(Got a few pennies left over? Looking for something tax-deductible? “06880” is a non-profit — and we rely on reader support. Please click here to contribute. And thank you!)

8-30g Panel Offers Affordable Housing Insights

The threat of snow closed the Westport Library early yesterday, forcing the much-anticipated 8-30g panel to Zoom.

There, nearly 200 Westporters got a cold dose of reality. The innocuously named state regulation, which mandates affordable housing percentages for municipalities — and used by developers to gain approval for much larger market-rate projects — is here.

It’s not going away.

But, the panelists noted, Westport can take proactive steps to mitigate some of its most onerous effects.

The evening — organized by Representative Town Meeting member Nancy Kail, and led by RTM moderator Jeff Wieser — began with a bit of history.

The first 8-30g proposal came 25 years ago, in 1998: 10 units on Cross Street, 3 of which were deed-restricted for 40 years as affordable.

Others followed: 41 units on a small parcel at the Wilton Road/Kings Highway North corner (a rare denial in court). 81 units on Lincoln Street. 19 units at Morningside Drive North.

122 Wilton Road — site of a proposed 6-story, 48-unit apartment building — sits at the corner of Kings Highway North. The property abuts the Taylortown Salt Marsh. The Planning & Zoning Commission’s denial was eventually upheld in court.

The infamous Saugatuck Summit development, which began as 55 townhouses on 10 building lots, ballooned to 187 units, and ultimately was settled at 157.

1177 Post Road East — across from Greens Farms Elementary School — was a “friendly” 8-30 go, without battles between the developer, town officials and neighbors.

All told, Westport now has 32 affordable units, created by 8-30g legislation. When Summit Saugatuck and other projects are completed, there will be 108.

Overall — including units built before 1990, when 8-30g was enacted — there are 390 units deemed affordable.

When projects currently in the pipeline are completed, approximately 6% of Westport’s housing stock will be affordable.

State Representative Jonathan Steinberg called the 8-30g regulation “a blunt instrument.” But, he noted, Westport has done “a great job. We’ve built affordable housing, and we’ve embraced an inclusive housing plan.” He called housing “a national crisis.”

Yet the town’s 4-year moratorium on 8-30g proposals expires this Saturday (March 4). At that point, town attorney Ira Bloom said, developers can file applications.

One is already in the works, for 30 Maple Lane in Greens Farms. “The gate will open,” he predicted.

30 Maple Lane — between Greens Farms Road and New Creek Road, near the Greens Farms train station — is the site of an 8-30g application that may be filed soon.

“But Westport is not alone,” Bloom added. “There’s an intense focus by developers on Fairfield County.”

There is, he noted, a true need for affordable housing in the area. But developers also use 8-30 for their own ends.

The regulation makes it almost impossible for municipalities to prevail. Towns have lost 75% of all cases that have gone to court, Bloom said.

And “developers know it.”

Local officials who turn down an 8-30g application must prove their decision was driven by “a significant public interest.” However, traffic, even safety, are not always reasons for denial. (Wetlands can be a reason, however.)

“The process does not make it easy to negotiate once an 8-30g application is filed,” Bloom said.

A questioner asked whether the 8-30g formula includes beds in homeless shelters, like the Gillespie Center. The answer: No.

Units at The Saugatuck — the Bridge Street co-op limited to to buyers below an income threshold — also do not count for 8-30g.

Though its apartments are income-restricted, The Saugatuck co-op on Bridge Street is not included in Westport’s housing stock for 8-30g purposes. (Photo courtesy of SmartMLS Inc.)

Planning & Zoning chair Danielle Dobin believes the town can reach 10%. But, she explained, “it will take collaboration between town boards, and residents getting behind it.

“Westport believes in affordable housing. What we don’t want is density, or building on wetlands.”

The RTM can play a key role, she told the Zoom audience.

She urged the legislative body to create an affordable housing fund. Using town-owned land, developers could built low-density projects.

One example: Linxweiler House, on Post Road East between Fresh Market and McDonald’s. The historic home there could be renovated, and moved closer to the road. Cluster housing could be built behind it. Homes with Hope could provide supportive services to residents — who would have access to public transportation, almost at their door.

Linxweiler House, on Post Road East,

Another possibility, which town officials have explored for several years: the state-owned Department of Transportation maintenance facility on Post Road East by Parish Road West, just east of Walgreens.

Of course, even with funding, finding willing developers is not easy. Developers make much more money on market-rate housing than on affordable units.

It was an informative Zoom evening. Nearly all 200 attendees stayed on to the end.

They — town officials, residents, those who hope to become residents, and developers — will follow the next steps in the 8-30g saga closely.

Beginning Saturday, when Westport’s moratorium officially ends.

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Westport Loses Its Character

Westport is losing its character.

Well, at least the Planning & Zoning Commission is removing it from its regulations.

A public hearing tomorrow (Monday, February 27, 7 p.m.) will address the question of replacing or removing the word “character” through Westport’s Zoning and Subdivision Regulations.

The hearing results from the state’s Public Act 21-29. Effective October 1, 2021, it says that municipal zoning regulations must no longer be drafted with consideration as to the “character” of a district, but instead with consideration as to its “physical site characteristics.”

The act also prohibits denial of any land use application or zoning approval “on the basis of a district’s character, unless such character is expressly articulated in such regulations by clear and explicit physical standards for site work and structures.”

The Planning & Zoning Commission will no longer look at the “character” of a neighborhood like Saugatuck. Instead it will consider “physical site characteristics.”

The P&Z’s Text Amendment #813 would replace or remove “Character” throughout town where it is not accompanied by clear and explicit physical standards, while staying as close to the original meaning and intent of the Regulations as possible. Click here to see the text amendment.

Monday’s public hearing will be held virtually via Zoom, will be livestreamed on  www.westportct.gov, and accessible on Optimum channel 79 and Frontier channel 6020. Comments can be sent prior to the meeting (PandZ@westportct.gov). To access the meeting links, view the meeting agenda here.

Let’s Talk: Community Conversation Set For Affordable Housing

Nancy Kail wants affordable housing — and local control of it.

She is concerned about traffic, safety, conservation and open space.

She recognizes that there are many contradictions in those beliefs.

But she also knows that the first place to address — and untangle — them is through 8-30 g, Connecticut’s most controversial and least understood affordable housing regulation.

Nancy Kail

Kail is deeply invested in Westport. A 1980 Staples High School graduate who moved back here several years ago, she is in her first term as a Representative Town Meeting member.

But despite her long history here, and strong knowledge of local affairs, she realized during the RTM’s recent debate on the Hamlet at Saugatuck project that she did not know as much about 8-30g as she would like.

(Connecticut’s law stipulates that 10% of a municipality’s housing stock be “affordable,” under a state formula. Developers may bypass local zoning regulations if they set aside 30% of a project’s units for such housing. Towns may seek moratoriums, though only housing built after 1990 is considered in the 8-30g formula.)

The RTM’s discussion of the Hamlet proposal — sparked by a citizens’ petition, after the Planning & Zoning Commission adopted a text and map amendment that would allow a hotel/residential/retail/marina complex to be built in the area around the train station, Riverside and Railroad Place — was an eye-opener for Kail.

“I came in with an open mind, but had a definite opinion,” Kail says.

“Hearing about the implications of 8-30g on the P&Z’s decision made me do a  total 180.”

The specter of 8-30g hovered over discussions of the Hamlet at Saugatuck project.

Kail began thinking about affordable housing, and all its consequences. How did it give rise to 8-30g? What are the implications when Westport’s moratorium expires next month? What can a town do, or not do, under the 8-30g statute?

She realized she needed to know more about 8-30g, so that she could understand Westport’s approach to affordable housing.

And she realized she was not the only one needing to know more.

The result is an open forum. “The Impact of Connecticut State Statute 8-30g: What We Can Expect for 2023” is set for next Monday (February 27, 7 p.m., Westport Library).

Working with fellow RTM members Seth Braunstein, Ross Burkhardt, Jimmy Izzo, Sal Liccione, Matthew Mandell, Liz Milwe and Claudia Schaum, Kail has organized a diverse panel:

  • State Representative Jonathan Steinberg
  • Westport town attorney ira Bloom
  • Planning & Zoning Commission chair Danielle Dobin
  • Connecticut Center for Ending Homelessness CEO Evonne Klein.

The event will be led by RTM moderator Jeff Wieser, former CEO of Westport’s Homes with Hope.

The panel discussion will be followed by a Q-and-A, with audience members.

This is only the start of a town-wide exploration of affordable housing. Other sessions will be held later.

“We all can learn a lot, from good, solid, non-inflammatory conversations,” Kail says.

Roundup: Saugatuck Hamlet, Lyman Video …

The next stop for the rezoning of Saugatuck: the full RTM.

On Thursday, 2 subcommittees of the Representative Town Meeting — Planning & Zoning, and Transit — discussed a text amendment and map amendment, approved earlier by Westport’s Planning & Zoning Commission.

That decision — which would create a new district in Saugatuck, suitable for development of a retail/restaurant/hotel/residential/marina complex — was opposed by more than 30 voters.

Their petition to the RTM led to the subcommittee hearings. The votes to uphold the P&Z’s approval of the new district were 6-0 in the RTM P&Z Committee (with 1 abstention), and 5-1 in the Transit Committee.

The full RTM votes this Tuesday (January 17, 6:30 p.m.; remote). Two-thirds of the members — 24, regardless of how many are present — must vote in favor of the petition to overturn the zoning change.

The meeting will be livestreamed on www.westportct.gov, and shown on Optimum channel 79 and Frontier channel 6020.

The shaded area includes the new text and map amendment boundaries.


Several readers had difficulty accessing the link in yesterday’s Roundup to a YouTube video showing the delivery of supplies to our sister city Lyman, Ukraine, and the exchange of town flags.

Click the red arrow in the middle of the logo below to view.


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” bald eagle was spotted at the Cross Highway/Sturges intersection.

Which makes it a good candidate for “Fairfield … Naturally” too.

(Photo/David Furth)


And finally … today in 1973, Elvis Presley’s “Aloha from Hawaii” concert was broadcast live via satellite. It set a record: the most watched broadcast by an individaul entertainer in TV history.

(The King is long gone, but “06880” lives. Please click here to support your local blog. Thank you!)

Roundup: Ukraine Art Auction, Hamlet At Saugatuck, Fox News Lawsuit …

As donations for our new sister city in Lyman, Ukraine surge toward $120,000 — more than halfway to our goal of $250,000 to rebuild 150 homes, provide generators and a water filtration system — our partners in our other (and longtime) sister city of Marigny, France are pitching in.

In 1991, Roger Potier — a Marigny landscape artist — painted a scene of his Normandy town:

Our friends in Marigny have offered it as an auction item. The winning bidder will donate that price to the Lyman fund — and it will be shipped direct to you, from France. The dimensions are 16″ x 12″.

The bidding starts at $1,000, and runs until 11:59 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday, December 24). Click “Comments” below to bid. You do not have to include your real name — but be sure to fill out the email address in the Comment box, so I’ll know who you are!

Meanwhile, to make a non-auction bid: Please click here. Click the “I want to support” box; then select “Support for the City of Lyman.” Scroll down on that page for other tax-deductible donation options (mail, wire transfer and Venmo). You can also donate directly, via Stripe (click here). 

Meanwhile, we’ll add this thought from 2 noted Westporters.

David Pogue says:

When all a town wants for Christmas is plywood, generators, and drinking water, you know its citizens are in a dire situation.

Our sister city Lyman didn’t ask for this horrific invasion, attack, and devastation; this is a “there but for the grace of God go we” situation.

Let’s give them electricity, water, and tools to rebuild. Let’s show them kindness in a time of desperation. And in this Ukrainian season of devastation, destruction, and death, let’s send them a reminder that compassion and generosity are still alive.

David Pogue urges holiday donations for Lyman.

Ed Gerber adds:

I donated $500 to Ukraine Aid International, because my late father always told me that allowing Hitler to annex the Sudetenland was a horrible mistake that led to World War II.

If we do nothing against “Tsar” Vladimir’s aggression in Ukraine, where will he stop? Next it could be the Baltic States, Finland, Poland, Moldova to name a few undoubtedly on his list. If we do nothing and Putin invades “free” Ukraine, there will be a bloodbath of gargantuan proportions.

Knowing this, if I have an opportunity to help prevent it from happening, and do nothing, it will haunt me for the rest of my life. Please donate – it’s easy!

Ed Gerber


A petition to review the Hamlet at Saugatuck text and map amendments has been filed with the town clerk.

The action — following the Planning & Zoning Commission’s recent approval of the hotel/retail/and more project on Riverside Avenue and Railroad Place — sends the decision to the Representative Town Meeting.

They have 30 calendar days from yesterday to complete a review. A supermajority of the RTM — 24 members — can vote to overturn the text amendments.

They cannot modify the decision; only vote to uphold or deny.

P&Z chair Danielle Dobin says, “This process is unique to Westport, thanks to our town charter. It is another way in which Westport is special. We are truly the most democratic of towns.

“The RTM review provides another opportunity to discuss the approved text amendment in a public forum, address questions, and tell the story of how the P&Z Commission shaped this proposal to work for Westport.”

Artist’s rendering of a Hamlet at Saugatuck courtyard.


Sean Hannity was deposed in August, in Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation suit against Fox News.

But several statements that emerged Wednesday are making news.

Hannity said he did “not believe … for one second” that Dominion was part of fraud in the 2020 election. Neither did Fox News’ executive vice president, and other high-profile executives at the network.

Those details emerged in Delaware Superior Court. With a high legal standard of proof in defamation cases, Dominion must show a jury “convincing evidence that speaks to the state of mind of those who were making the decisions” at Fox, says the New York Times. (Click here for more details, from NPR.)

The company was arguing this week that they had enough evidence to make that case. Co-lead counsel for Dominion’s legal team is Stephen Shackelford, Jr.

A partner and trial lawyer at Susman Godfrey, the Harvard University and Harvard Law School graduate (first in his class) and former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is a Westport resident. He and his wife Stefanie are the parents of 4 school-age children. In his spare time, he serves on Westport’s Representative Town Meeting. (Hat tip: Tom Prince)

Stephen Shackelford, on CNN.


On Monday, the Orphenians — Staples High School’s elite vocal ensemble — entertained a large Westport Library crowd.

They’ve been part of our music scene for nearly 70 years. This week’s show included holiday selections, and several from their highly regarded fall concert.

The event was sponsored by the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston. Click below to enjoy. (Hat tip: John Brandt)


“Newsboy” — a 1954 photograph by Westport resident and Internationally known photographer Larry Silver — has been acquired by the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Silver took the now iconic photo as a scholarship student at The Art Center School in LA. Part of a photographic series of Muscle Beach in Santa Monica, it has been exhibited at the International Center of Photography, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Westport Art Center.

It’s the first work by Silver to enter the Getty, and complements the work of mid-20th century documentary photographers.

“Newsboy” (Larry Silver)


The Joggers Club invites all members — and runners who might become members, and anyone else — to their holiday party.

It’s next Thursday (December 29, 7:30 p.m., Romanacci). Members get a free drink!

The Joggers Club welcomes all levels. The number one goal is to have fun.  Everything else is a distant second.

There are fun runs at Compo Beach every Saturday at 8 p.m.; track nights at Norwalk High School on Wednesdays (6:15 p.m.), and Joggers Club Jr. (kindergarten through high school) coming this spring.

Membership ($50 per year) includes a Brooks podium racing shirt for all new members.

For more information click here; check out The Joggers Club on Facebook or Strava, or follow on Instagram (@TheJoggersClub.ct).


Alan Mande — a 1963 Staples High School graduate, and former Grateful Dead sound engineer — died suddenly at his Mount Shasta, California home last month. He was 77.

The Brooklyn native moved with his family to Westport at age 5. His mother Frances still lives here. Alan was active in Staples Players.

He majored in theater arts at Brandeis University, then spent 2 years at the Yale School of Drama.

Alan took his Players and Westport Country Playhouse stage skills to join Bill Graham’s Fillmore East sound crew as an engineer. He worked on shows like Jimi Hendrix Band of Gypsies’ New Year’s Eve show in 1970, and others by the Allman Brothers and Crosby Still Nash & Young.

In 1969 Alan’s life changed forever when, while working at the Fillmore East concert venue, he discovered the Grateful Dead. They inspired him to move to California in 1970, where he worked as a sound engineer and stage manager for the Firehouse Theater. In 1971 he met his future wife Nancy, in San Rafael.

Alan earned his master’s in marriage and family therapy from Lone Mountain College. He spent 31 years as a state-licensed MFT.

Alan was involved in many Mount Shasta activities. He assisted with numerous youth theater productions and coached Little League.

Alan’s passion for the Grateful Dead continued throughout his life. He was a prolific collector and archiver of tapes. He is cited in many articles, books and forums as one of the sound engineers who originated the tradition of “stealth taping” and distributing recordings to the larger community, assuring their posterity.

He loved music, theater, children, the Pacific Ocean, San Francisco sports teams, and chocolate

Alan is survived by his mother Frances, sister Susan, brother Jerry, and children Molly and Caton. Contributions in his name can be made to the Jerry Garcia Foundation.

Alan Mande. Yes, that is Jerry Garcia at the center of the steering wheel.


Today’s spectacular “Westport … Naturally” photo comes from Wendy Crowther.

She explains: “I was taking a photo of birds swarming my birdfeeders yesterday (perhaps sensing the big storm and deep freeze coming in). Suddenly, something big flashed by my lens causing the birds to scatter.

“I looked up to see this hawk sitting on a low branch 10 feet from the feeder. It waited, changing perches, in hopes an unsuspecting bird would return to the feeder. None did. The hawk eventually flew off.

“As best as I can tell, this is a juvenile sharp-shinned hawk, or a juvenile Cooper’s hawk. Both species prey on birds and other small animals. Like all juveniles, practice will make perfect. But hopefully not at my birdfeeder, and especially not while I’m watching.”

(Photo/Wendy Crowther)


And finally … Wendy Crowther’s photo of the hawk (above) — and today’s wind — remind me of Lou Rawls’ “Dead End Street.”

Why? Well, it begins:

I was born in a city the called the “Windy City”
And they call it the “Windy City” because of the ‘Hawk.”
All mighty Hawk,
Talking about Mr. Wind — kind of mean around winter time

It’s a great song. Give it a listen — and stay warm and dry.

(Got nothing to do today, with the rain coming down, all the Christmas presents wrapped, the tree trimmed and everything else taken care of? Please consider an “06880” donation. Just click here — and thank you!)


Roundup: Hamlet At Saugatuck; Blumenthal At Library; Menorah At Trader Joe’s …

It took 5 hours.

But 4 months after developers presented a text amendment allowing a retail/residential/hotel complex in Saugatuck, the Planning & Zoning Commission voted 5-1 to approve it.

The decision — which came after changes in height, setbacks and floor area coverage — is a key step in the redevelopment of the train station neighborhood. ROAN Ventures can now apply for a site plan approval of its Hamlet at Saugatuck project.

P&Z approval requires that 20% of the slips at any new marina be available for free public use, and that there be paddleboard and kayak tie-ups; design standards beyond those required for a typical special permit including maintaining the New England coastal village aesthetic reflected in the most recent renderings, and no extra height without significant public outdoor areas along the river.

The text amendment includes the rectangle between Riverside Avenue, Railroad Place, Franklin Street and Charles Street, plus land on Riverside Avenue, and the private parking lot above Luciano Park now used for boat storage.

ROAN envisions The Hamlet as an economic engine for residents and visitors, and a gateway to the rest of the town. The concept includes:

  • A boutique hotel with rooms, condo-type residences, pools, and underground parking.
  • New shops and restaurants, featuring local artisans.
  • A year-round gourmet market on the now-private railroad parking lot, with local vendors.
  • A marina.
  • A boardwalk along the river similar to Bartaco’s, with the goal of connecting  Saugatuck and Westport via waterway.
  • Re-skinning and beautification of the 21 Charles Street office building — often called “the ugliest” in Westport.

Part of the proposed Hamlet at Saugatuck marina.


Senator Richard Blumenthal is the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston’s guest this Friday (December 16, 10 a.m., Westport Library). The event is open to the public.

The senator will discuss a range of topics. Afterward, former 1st Selectman Jim Marpe will lead a Q-and-A.

Senator Richard, last March in Westport. (Photo/Dan Woog)


Why schlep all the way to Stew Leonard’s for a menorah lighting?

We’ve got one right here in Westport!

The 2nd night of Hanukkah will be celebrated next Monday (December 19, 7 p.m.), outside Trader Joe’s

The lighting will be led by Rabbis Levi Stone (director of the Chabad Schneerson Center) and Yehoshua Hecht (Beth Israel Chabad(.

The ceremony includes live music. Chanukah gelt and cookies, doughnuts and dreidels will be distributed to all. For more information, call 203-635-4118.


The Town of Westport posted this photo on social media:

It shows local and store officials celebrating Lux Bond & Green’s just-in-time-for-the-holidays renovation. Congratulations, of course!

But I am sure every downtown shopper — and every other merchant in Brooks Corner — joins me in asking: “Can you please get rid of those 3 valuable parking spots marked (ridiculously and archaically) ‘Reserved parking Lux Bond & Green curbside pickup’?”


Aztec Tw0-Step 2.0 — featuring Westporters Rex Fowler, Dodie Pettit and friends — headlines a December 16 (7:45 p.m.) show at Fairfield Theater.

Click here for tickets, and more information on these folk/rock legends.


From folk-rock to jazz: Harvie S. — an award-winning bassist, educator, composer, arranger, and producer — stars at this week’s Jazz at the Post (Thursday, December 15, shows at 7:30 and 8:45 p.m.; dinner at 6:30 p.m.).

He’s joined by drummer Jason Tiemann, Norwalk native and keyboardist Rob Aries, and saxophonist Greg “The Jazz Rabbi” Wall.

There’s a $15 cover. Reservations are strongly recommended: JazzattthePost@gmail.com.

Harvie S.


Tom Kretsch celebrates his birthday this Saturday (December 17, 4 to 6 p.m.) with an art opening.

Gordon Fine Arts (1701 Post Road East) hosts the talented Westport photographer and his new exhibit “The Color of Water: Capturing the Sound and Beyond.”

Tom invites everyone to see his serene images, enjoy cake, and meet interesting people. For more on his work, click here.

(Photo/Tom Kretsch)


Congratulations to  Barry Beattie. The Staples High School girls soccer coach has been named New England region Coach of the Year by United Soccer Coaches, the 30,000-member group of professional, college, high school and club coaches. He is now in contention for national Coach of the Year honors, to be announced at the organization’s annual banquet next month in Philadelphia.

This fall, Beattie led the Wreckers to their 2nd straight state championship. With a strong core of returning players, the future looks very bright for both Beattie and his team.

Coach Barry Beattie (to the right of the scoreboard, and the 2022 state champion Staples High School girls soccer team. (Photo/David G. Whitham, courtesy of The Ruden Report)


Today’s fascinating “Westport … Naturally” close-up of a working spider web comes from Matt Murray:

(Photo/Matt Murray)


And finally … in honor of the great photo above: