Thursday, April 23, 2015
By James Lomuscio
Westport’s Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) tonight approved designating 11.4 town-owned acres on Woodside Lane and adjacent to Earthplace, The Nature Discovery Center as passive open space effective in 30 days.
The request was made by First Selectman Jim Marpe, who called the parcel “an attractive asset for the Woodside Lane neighborhood and the entire town.”
Currently existing as a AA residential district tract, the change would zone it a designated open space recreational district (DOSRD) in the most restrictive sense since only passive recreation would be approved, according to Mary Young, deputy planning and zoning director.
“There are hopes to have an arboretum there in the future,” Young said. “This seems very prudent and very timely.”
The new designation allows for four parking spaces on site, though current access is via Earthplace, Young said.
According to Bruce Lindsey, town tree warden who called the parcel “a unique property,” Earthplace has agreed with the town to perform maintenance on the property replete with walking paths.
Prior to the vote, Selectwoman Helen Garten, speaking as an Earthplace trustee, spoke in favor of declaring it open space.
“Hopefully this will encourage more people to walk on Earthplace’s property as well,” Garten said.
Westporter Don Bergmann also lauded the open space designation.
“This is a terrific outcome, and I completely support it,” he said.
Posted 04/23/15 at 09:51 PM Permalink
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The proposal to rezone this town-owned parcel to Dedicated Open Space actually came from the P&Z Commission’s own Open Space Sub-Committee chaired by Cathy Walsh; this is the third parcel to be recommended for such dedicated open space rezoning by this subcommittee. Of course, I am happy to give full credit to First Selectman Jim Marpe for his enthusiastic support for this proposal as it came before the P&Z Commissions last night.