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Friday, April 06, 2007

P&Z Finalizes Partrick Wetlands Transfer

By Jennifer Connic

The Partrick Wetlands Preservation Fund will be able to move forward in transferring the wetlands—which are located along Partrick Road in Westport—to Earthplace.

The Westport Planning and Zoning Commission approved the transfer, which was required by a court settlement, during its work session Thursday night.

The preservation fund announced last week that it would transfer the 22 acres of land in northwest Westport to Earthplace and hoped to make the transfer by the end of the month (See WestportNow March 30).

P&Z Director Laurence Bradley said under the court stipulation, the preservation fund needed to find someone to take over the property.

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Committee Moving Quickly To Historic Property Regulations

By Jennifer Connic

A committee analyzing zoning regulations to protect historic properties is working to complete a proposal before the end of the month.

The Westport Planning and Zoning Commission formed a subcommittee that also includes Historic District Commission members to analyze potential regulations. It was in response to the situation at 113 Cross Highway, which is a historic property that was the town’s first gas station (See WestportNow March 8).

“The committee would like to grant relief for people with historic structures,” P&Z Direcot Laurence Bradley said. “To what extent and how much is what is up for discussion.”

The committee, however, would like to complete regulations quickly, he said.

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04/06/07 09:58 AM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Red Sky Morning

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It was cold and there was a red cast to Westport’s Old Mill Pond at dawn on Thursday with temperatures reaching only into the 40s during the day. More below normal temperatures are forecast through the weekend. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Matt Murray for WestportNow.com

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Friday, April 6, 2007


8 p.m. - Town Hall - Westport Community Theatre: “Born Yesterday”

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Christie’s Customers Oppose Change of Use Application

By Jennifer Connic

The Westport Planning and Zoning Commission tonight faced a large number of residents who do not want to see Christie’s Garage on Cross Highway transformed into a home decor store.WestportNow.com Image
Neighbors turned out in large numbers tonight to ask that Christie’s Country Store keep its auto repair business. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

The owner of the site and the tenant is asking for a “transformation,” which allows the property owner to change a use of a building that does not conform to zoning regulations to another nonconforming use. The property is in a residential zone. The new use, however, needs to be similar to the old one. The commission took no action on the proposal tonight.

Amabel Stanley, who would run the home decor business, said her application satisfies all of the requirements for a “transformation” except that is not generally the same use, but her store would be an upgrade.

“I believe it’s an improvement to the neighborhood,” she said of her store.

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04/06/07 03:25 AM Comments (2) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Commission Considers Salaries in Housing Regulation

By Jennifer Connic

The Westport Planning and Zoning Commission tonight discussed what median income should be used for workforce housing in a proposed zoning regulation change.

The commission is considering a proposal from Woodland Group, and the zone would be applied to a property in the Indian Hill and Bradley Lane area. It started the hearing a week ago (See WestportNow March 29).

Under the changes, 20 percent of the units would have to be for those who make 80 percent of the state median income, and 10 percent would have to be those who earn 80 percent of the local median income.

The state median income is $81,000 for a family of four, and 80 percent of it would be $64,800. The median income of Westport is almost $159,000, and 80 percent of it would be about $127,000.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Joseloff Seeks Restoration, BOE to Meet on Budget

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Gordon Joseloff: Seeking almost $206,000 in budget restoration. WN File Photo
By Jennifer Connic

Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff said today he has sent a letter to the Board of Finance seeking almost $206,000 in restoration of budget cuts. Meanwhile, the Board of Education scheduled a meeting for Monday night to discuss whether it should seek restoration of its budget cut.

During a budget hearing in March, the Board of Finance cut $876,000 from the selectman’s proposed 2007-08 budget and $500,000 from the proposed 2007-08 school budget. The Board of Finance meets Wednesday at 8 p.m. to consider restoration requests.

With the cuts, the selectman’s proposed budget is $56.6 million, which is a 4.3 percent increase over the current budget.  Joseloff had originally proposed a $57.5 million budget, which is a 5.9 percent increase over the current budget.

The $500,000 cut brings the school proposal to $88.7 million, which is a 7.8 percent increase over the current budget. The Board of Education had proposed a $89.2 million 2007-08 operating budget, which is a 8.4 percent increase over the current budget.

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Draft Town Plan Arrives

By Jennifer Connic

The draft Town Plan of Conservation and Development arrived in Westport this week, and the Westport Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled to discuss it next week.

Because the document is in draft form, it is not yet available to the public, P&Z Director Laurence Bradley said.

The commission needs to decide when it will be available, he said, and it could be available after the April 12 work session to discuss the draft.

The first draft does not include the results of a telephone survey, which was supposed to start this week, Bradley said.

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Christie’s Owner Plans Tenant Change

By Jennifer Connic

The auto repair center at Christie’s Country Store could be replaced by a home decor store if the Westport Planning and Zoning Commission approves the application.WestportNow.com Image
Christie’s Garage on Cross Highway would become a home decor store under an application before the Planning and Zoning Commission. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

The commission meets tonight at 7:30 in Town Hall, and the item is on its agenda. Christie’s Country Store is located on Cross Highway between North Avenue and Bayberry Lane.

P&Z Director Laurence Bradley said the request is for a “transformation,” which allows the property owner to change a use of a building that does not conform to zoning regulations to another nonconforming use. The property is in a residential zone.

According to the zoning regulations, however, the new use needs to be similar to the old use, Bradley said.

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04/05/07 06:39 PM Comments (1) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Westporter to Receive State Advocate Award

A Westporter will be honored during the 2007 Governor’s Conference on Culture & Tourism in May.

Warren Rossell will receive one of six Distinguished Advocated Awards for his work at the Darien Welcome Center.

Rossell will receive the award in a ceremony in New Haven on May 2.

Recipients of the Distinguished Advocate Awards are Connecticut residents who volunteer to strengthen, preserve or promote the arts, history, film and tourism in the state and made a significant impact on one or more organizations, or have made important contributions to their communities, regions or the state.

04/05/07 04:22 PM Comments (0) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Westporters Honored for Service

WestportNow.com Image
The Voluntary Action Center of Mid-Fairfield County today honored Westporters Ann Sheffer and Bill Scheffler with its Distinguished Service Award during a breakfast ceremony in Norwalk. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (r) presented the award to the couple long involved in volunteer and philanthropic activities in the area. In her acceptance remarks, Sheffer said she was pleased to carry on a family tradition of giving and noted that her children also have taken up volunteerism in their communities. “Maybe it’s the DNA or Westport water,” she said. Northrop-Grumman Norden Systems, which is located in Norwalk on the Westport border, received the 2007 Corporate Leadership Award. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

04/05/07 03:17 PM Comments (1) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Rain, Rain Go Away

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Almost one inch of rain fell in Westport on Wednesday, keeping most people indoors and away from the benches outside the Westport Public Library near the Saugatuck River. Today’s forecast calls for sunny weather and temperatures in the 40s. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

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Thursday, April 5, 2007


7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Green Energy Task Force
7 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Planning & Zoning Commission Public Hearing (live coverage cable channel 79 and westportct.gov)
8 p.m. – Town Hall Room 102 – RTM Education Committee
8 p.m. - Town Hall - Westport Community Theatre: “Born Yesterday”

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Conservation Commission Begins Y Deliberations

By Jennifer Connic

The Westport Conservation Commission tonight began its deliberations on the Westport Weston YMCA’s controversial application to move its facility from downtown to Camp Mahackeno. Members expressed concerns over the application, including the proposed septic system.

The commission closed the public portion of the hearing last week and now will spend several work sessions reviewing the application and deciding whether to render an approval. There were few members of the public present for tonight’s session, which was broadcast on the town’s cable channel.

Westport Weston Family Y officials are planning to move their facility from the corner of Main Street and Post Road East in the downtown area to Camp Mahackeno adjacent to the Merritt Parkway. The plans include a septic system—called FAST—that would handle 34,000 gallons of sewage and water per day.

During preliminary comments tonight, the commission expressed concerns about the septic system and the need for conditions of approval.

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Germany’s Consul General in NY Visits Staples

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Hans-Jürgen Heimsoeth, Germany’s consul general in New York, visited Westport’s Staples High School today to discuss Germany’s role in the European Union with students. Students from social studies and German classes attended the session, and he answered their questions. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Y’s Men Change Scheduled Speaker for Thursday

State Sen. John McKinney will speak at the Y’s Men on Thursday as a replacement on the speaker schedule.

U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays was originally scheduled to speak, but he had to cancel due to a last-minute change in his schedule.

The Y’s Men meet at 10 a.m. at Saugatuck Congregational Church on Post Road East.

McKinney, a Fairfield resident, is the minority leader pro tempore of the state Senate. He represents Weston, Fairfield, Newtown and Easton.

04/04/07 11:23 PM Comments (1) • Permalink Digg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

P&Z To Review White Barn Plans

By Jennifer Connic

The Westport Planning and Zoning Commission will review and comment on the plans to convert the White Barn Theatre’s property into a school for the Connecticut Friends during an upcoming session.

P&Z Director Laurence Bradley said the plan for the property—which sits on the border of Norwalk and Westport—was referred to the commission by the Norwalk Zoning Board, which will hold a public hearing on the plans on May 16.

The commission needs to review the information and send back comments before then, he said, and the item is on Thursday’s agenda. The item is last, however, on a lengthy agenda, he said, and may be pushed off to a future session.

According to a memorandum sent to the commission on the project, the plans call to redevelop the site to construct a school for kindergarten through eighth grade that would have a maximum enrollment of 125 students.

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HazMat Team to Receive New Vehicles

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Fire chiefs from the region met today to discuss Fairfield County HazMat Team funding. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
By Dave Matlow

The Mid-Fairfield County Hazardous Materials Team will be purchasing a command, control and communications vehicle partly with federal funding.

The HazMat Team—which covers 15 communities from Stratford to Greenwich—is based in Westport, and the unit chiefs met at Westport Fire Headquarters today to finalize approval of a $150,000 supplement from the unit’s funds to cover the cost of the vehicle.

The team has already received $270,00 from the U.S. Homeland Security Department to purchase the vehicle.

The vehicle would be available in early 2008 and would serve as a mobile headquarters that responds to the 15 communities if there is a large emergency or incident.

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Going Down: 152 North Ave.

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The house at 152 North Ave. in Westport’s Coleytown area came today. Featured as the WestportNow Teardown of the Day on March 13, the 1,596-square-foot home on one acre sold in February for $742,000. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 39 Sturges Highway

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Westport building officials are reviewing an application to demolish the house at 39 Sturges Highway. The 1982 house, which is 2,478 square feet on one acre, sold in August 2005 for $980,000. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Save the Children Aids Solomon Island Tsunami Victims

Westport-based agency Save the Children is working to provide relief to families and children left homeless by a deadly tsunami that struck the Solomon Islands Monday morning.

The agency — which has extensive health, education and child protection programs in the affected area — has sent a team to the island along with urgently needed supplies. The Save the Children team will assess the status of families and work to ensure that children are protected as the region recovers from the tsunami.

Save the Children has been working in the Solomon Islands for more than 20 years and reports that its 45 staff members there are safe.

A magnitude-8.1 earthquake, with its epicenter 25 miles from the western island of Gizo, triggered a large tsunami early Monday that killed at least 28 people — among them children — and left widespread destruction on the island, including in the large town of Gizo. Numerous aftershocks continue to rock the area.

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Stopping Traffic

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A family of ducks stopped traffic on Saugatuck Avenue for about five minutes on Tuesday. They appeared near the VFW Post before heading in the direction of the Saugatuck Rowing Club. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

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Wednesday, April 4, 2007


10:30 a.m. – Town Hall Room 102 – International Hospitality Committee
Noon - Toquet Hall - “Play With Your Food”
4 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Beautification Committee
5:30 p.m. – Westport Fire Headquarters – Public Site and Building Commission Levitt Pavilion Committee
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – TEAM Westport Committee
7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Conservation Commission work session (live coverage cable channel 79 and westportct.gov)
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201/201A – Flood and Erosion Control Board

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Jack Kelly Named Finalist for USOC Coach of Year Honor

USA Field Hockey 2006 Volunteer Coach of the Year Jack Kelly of Westport has been named a finalist for the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Volunteer Coach of the Year honor.WestportNow.com Image
Jack Kelly: named finalist. Contributed photo


An 82-year-old assistant coach at Staples High School, Kelly will be one of five finalists for the volunteer honor when the USOC presents its annual National, Development and Volunteer Coach of the Year awards during the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Award luncheon May 3 in Washington, D.C.

As part of the USOC program, USA Field Hockey and other U.S. Olympic and Pan American sports organizations selected their 2006 Coaches of the Year with finalists in each category selected by a panel of former coaches and officials.

Joining Kelly in the Volunteer Coach of the Year category are fellow finalists Tom Barker (Victoria, Texas/USA Archery), Patrick Barry (Las Vegas, Nev./USA Boxing), Chuck Slaughter (Amarillo, Texas/U.S. Fencing) and Booker Woods (USA Track & Field).

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Playhouse Gives Sneak Peek of “All About Us”

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The Westport Country Playhouse offered a sneak peek of its new production “All About Us” today, including Eartha Kitt singing “Rain.” The production will open April 14 at the playhouse and runs for two weeks. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

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