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Friday, June 10, 2005

Resident Clear on Opinion of Her Changing Neighborhood

By Dave Matlow

Joan Raymond: “What are they thinking?” Dave Matlow for
Joan Raymond has lived in Westport’s Saugatuck Shores area for 45 years and is so unhappy with the way the neighborhood is changing that she has erected a new lawn sign outside her house: “Slow: Pre-McMansion Historic District.”

And she has offered to give visitors guided tours of her “vintage house of the Fifties,” no appointment needed, before it becomes a teardown like others around her.

“Westport has changed but you have to expect change,” says the retired dietician whose sign has drawn so much attention, not to mention admiration, from neighbors that she is going back to the printer for more.

“This is happening all over. My son lives in New Jersey and it’s happening there. But it’s not happening on small lots. Is this a fad or will it continue? Will these oversized houses become white elephants?”

Raymond said she is not opposed to McMansions per se. “It’s the small size of the lot that they built on that is the issue,” she said. “We fear that the neighborhood will be become wall-to-wall houses.”

Raymond said recent visitors to her Covlee Drive home wondered about a big house under construction on neighboring Duck Pond Road, asking her, “Are they building condos, a motel?”duckpondhouse06100501.jpg
Visitors ask: “Is it a condo or motel?” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

“If only these houses were on 2-, 5- or 10-acre lots it would be magnificent,” she said. “But now these houses are falling into the street. What are they thinking?”

Raymond said it frustrates her that while all the gigantic home construction meets Planning and Zoning guidelines, those who want to make changes to their existing homes have to go through a lot of red tape.

“I feel sorry for the poor soul in my neighborhood who wants to make a small modification of his entryway,” she said. “He ends up getting the run-around.”

She said neighbors no longer want to make improvements to their houses because they feel it will be a teardown anyway and that the improvements will not increase the value.joanraymondnote06100501260.jpg
Invitation to guided tour: No appointment needed. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Not only has Raymond publicly displayed her feelings through a lawn sign but she has taped a sign to her window offering guided tours of her disappearing lifestyle. It reads:

“Covlee-On-the-Sound Historic Area
“Vintage Houses of the Fifties.
“See them before they all go.
“Guided tours are available. No appointment needed. Meet some original residents.
“See the exhibit of life before tear-downs.
“Don’t delay. They are going, going, going.”


Posted 06/10/05 at 06:41 PM  Permalink