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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Amid Landlord Objections, Kemper-Gunn Lease Okayed

By James Lomuscio

After a year-and-a-half of 13 town meetings, myriad negotiations, objections and approvals, Westport’s 1895-built Kemper-Gunn house got its final approval—a unanimous 3-0 vote—from the Board of Selectmen today on a 98-year lease, allowing it to be relocated from 35 Church Lane across the street to the town-owned Baldwin parking lot. Image
A large crowd was on hand for today’s Board of Selectmen meeting as it considered the Kemper-Gunn House lease. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

While a number of residents and preservationists praised the importance of saving an important piece of the town’s history, several residents including landlords who own swaths of commercial property downtown, objected to the loss of 22 parking spaces to accommodate the Victorian-style structure, more spaces when Kemper-Gunn parking needs are added.

Landlord-developer Drew Friedman went so far as to call the loss of parking spaces a taking that was unconstitutional.

Connie Greenfield of Save Westport Now called the meeting a historic one “because when you walk out of here, Kemper-Gunn will either be preserved or a pile of kindling.”

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