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Friday, March 14, 2014

P&Z Clears Way for Bridgewater Improvements

By James Lomuscio

With modifications, Westport’s Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) tonight unanimously approved a zoning text amendment that would allow the town’s six design development districts (DDD) to make building, parking and environmental improvements, including the one owned by multibillion dollar hedge fund Bridgewater Associates.

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A Bridgewater Associates parking lot at its Glendenning headquarters flooded in a March 2011 storm. The text amendment would allow relocation of parking lots away from the Saugatuck River. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Neil Engler for WestportNow.com

Land use attorney Lawrence Weisman proposed amendment No. 668 to specifically allow his client, Bridgewater Associates to improve its Glendenning property in a DDD district on Weston Road.

Weisman said Bridgewater Associates, Westport’s largest employer and third top taxpayer, among other things wants to move its parking lots away from the Saugatuck River and make buildings compliant with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) by installing elevators.

He also said the amendment would allow construction of a dedicated meditation area on the 16-acre Bridgewater campus, a subject already discussed with town building officials, according to a source familiar with the discussions. Bridgewater’s billionaire boss Ray Dalio is strong believer in the power of meditation and offers transcendental meditation (TM) to his employees.

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