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WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 1 Melwood Lane

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An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 1 Melwood Lane, off Sturges Commons, is in process. Built in 1953, the one-story ranch has 2,802 square feet and is situated on a 1.1-acre property.  Because the house was built more than 50 years ago, the application will be reviewed by the Westport Historic District Commission. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Online Voter Registration Available

Westport Registrars of Voters Marla Cowden and Kevin White today announced that online voter registration is now available in Westport.

To demonstrate the ease of online registration, First Selectman Jim Marpe and the registrars will stage a demonstration next week, registering two Staples High School students, an announcement said.

It will take place on Thursday, March 6, at 4 p.m. in Westport Town Hall Room 309.

The link to the online registration system is https://voterregistration.ct.gov.

Police Top Town Wage Earners

UPDATE (adds clarification regarding overtime) Once again, police dominate the town-released list of Westport’s top 10 municipal wage earners with Field Training Officer Howard Simpson earning $189,930 for 2013, including $79,172 overtime and $14,105 for outside jobs, and Officer Anthony Falbo a close second with $174,774, $4,713 in overtime and $78,565 in outside work.

An updated list provided by the town broke down the payments, including base salaries. For example, Simpson and Falbo earned $79,302 and $76,392 respectively in base salaries. Outside jobs are paid by contractors who hire the officers but are billed through the town.

Aside from Fire Chief Andrew Kingsbury, who is also the town’s director of emergency operations, coming in tenth place with a salary of $147,996, no firefighters made the the top 10 list.

Gary Conrad, the town’s finance director, was the only non-first responder cited, ranking sixth with a salary of $158,926.

Former P&Z Chair Seeks $15M in NY Bike Accident

UPDATE Ron Corwin, former chair of the Westport Planning and Zoning Commission, has filed suit against New York City for a bike accident that he says left him unable to taste and smell.

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Ron Corwin: lost sense of taste and smell. Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

The suit against the city and Citi Bike’s private operator seeks $15 million, according to New York press reports. Corwin told WestportNow he could not comment on the advice of his attorney.

“This has turned my life inside out,” Corwin, 73, told the New York Daily News. “I do nothing now but go from one (medical) specialist to another trying to find some relief.”

Corwin, who served on the P&Z from 2005 to last November, including five years as chair, said he rented a Citi Bike last Oct. 25 at E. 56th St. and Madison Avenue. As he was leaving the docking station, his front wheel struck a low barrier near the station.

Westport Property Transfers Feb. 10 – 14, 2014

Westport property transfers as reported by the Town Clerk’s office for the period Feb. 10 - 14, 2013:

Cecile Brody to Jill Brody, 18 Edgewater Commons Lane, $441,000WNproperty.jpg

Thomas and Akiko Ikeda Trusts to Brendan E. and Samantha S. Kelley, 16 Pin Oak Court, $695,000

Peter G. and Gloria Garcia to Jeffrey R. and Marsha E. Gray, 4 Charcoal Hill Common, $995,000

Celie G. and John M. Rosenau Trusts to CCO IV Cavalry LLC, Cavalry Road Lot 1A, $900,000

Waldman: Proposed Space Limit Threatens Free Market

By James Lomuscio

A Westport Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) text amendment that would limit tenant space to 10,000 square feet downtown has local developer David Waldman seeing red.

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Developer David Waldman (pictured at an earlier meeting): “an infringement on individuals’ property rights.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

“I lost my cool toward the end of the discussion,” Waldman said about Thursday night’s public hearing on Amendment 672. “But my opinion hasn’t changed.

“I can’t not believe our town is trying to limit the size of a retail stores downtown, which in my mind is an infringement on individuals’ property rights and a free marketplace,” he added.

Waldman, a principal of Bedford Square Associates, which is redeveloping the Westport-Weston Family Y property on Church Lane into a combination retail, restaurant and residential center, said such an amendment, if approved, would hinder his ability to get tenants.

Friday,  February 28, 2014


10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Westport Historical Society – “Cover Story: The New Yorker in Westport” & “Can’t Tell a Book by its Cover … “
10 a.m. – Westport Library – Maker-in-Residence Gar Waterman: Designing & Building a Mobile Office
Noon – Westport Historical Society – Friday Film Series: “A Gathering of Glory”
3 p.m. – 5 p.m. – Westport Library – Drop-in Tech Help
3 p.m. – Westport Library – Teen Lego Robotics Club
6 p.m. – Westport Library – Documentary Film: “Miss You Can Do It!”
7 p.m. – Westport Country Playhouse – Greens Farms Academy Middle School: “Once on This Island”
8 p.m. – Toquet Hall Teen Center – Staples Players: “Don’t Drink the Water”

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

P&Z Hears Keeping Bridgewater, Saving Kemper-Gunn

By James Lomuscio

A proposed text amendment that attorney Lawrence Weisman said would free up the town’s five design development districts (DDD) to make building, parking and environmental improvements received a ringing endorsement from Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe at tonight’s Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) meeting. 

The reason’s for Marpe’s support—it would encourage an owner of one of the districts—Bridgewater Associates, an international, multi-billion-dollar hedge fund, Westport’s largest employer and third top taxpayer—to remain in town.

“I believe they deserve to improve this property and that their intent is long-term occupancy of that property,” said Marpe about Bridgewater’s headquarters on the Glendenning property on Weston Road.

“We know that they are being lured to Stamford, and yet in the conversations I’ve had with their senior executives they have a real interest in maintaining a significant commitment in Westport.

P&Z Okays Library Expansion on Jesup Green

Westport’s Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) voted unanimously tonight to issue a positive report on the Westport Library’s application to use town-owned Jesup Green for its planned 20,500-foot expansion project.

But commission members made clear they had concerns about the application, formally known as an 8-24 and submitted on behalf of the library by First Selectman Jim Marpe.

The commission said it was troubled by a planned 35-foot expansion into Jesup Green and included a finding in its approval saying that it expected the library to make enhancements to the remaining part of the Green “in a way that will be of greatest benefit to the town of Westport.”

“I think taking away any more green space from downtown is going to be a detriment, and it’s going to be totally contrary to what we’re trying to achieve,” said member Catherine Walsh.