Saturday, March 02, 2024


CT House Schedules, Then Postpones Debate on Tolls

By Mark Pazniokas

With passage far from certain, the House of Representatives postponed a debate promised for tonight on a bill authorizing the state Department of Transportation to install a system of electronic tolls on major highways in Connecticut.

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, said Democrats were considering changes that would give the legislature more control over the final process, a change that might pick up votes in the closely divided House.

Planning and installation of overhead toll gantries, which would record either the signal of an EZ Pass transponder or photograph a license plate, could take two years — meaning no revenue that could help balance next year’s budget.

But Aresimowciz said the passage of a law authorizing tolls would establish a reliable revenue stream in future years, allowing the state to reduce payments now into the Special Transportation Fund — essentially a temporary loan from that fund’s shrinking reserves.

Paving Thursday on Greens Farms Road May Disrupt Traffic

The Westport Police Department tonight advised resident that the Public Works Department will be paving Greens Farms Road from the Sherwood Island Connector to New Creek Road on Thursday and warned of possible delays.

The work is scheduled to take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., an advisory said.

Although the road will remain open to traffic during the work, motorists should anticipate associated delays, especially during the morning and afternoon commuter rush hours, police said.

Tornado Warning for Northern Fairfield Causes Some Anxiety

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for northern Fairfield County tonight, but it expired a half hour later without any weather-related incidents.

Some media outlets did not specify the warning was for well north of Westport, prompting some anxiety among Westport residents who watched sunny skies into evening.

Taking Aim at Wasteful AC

Open doors to air-conditioned Main Street stores on steamy hot days, a cool way to bait potential customers, are once again getting the cold shoulder from town officials. Image
Lululemon athletica, 91 Main St., kept its doors open last July in 90-degree heat. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

David Mann, chairman of Westport’s Green Task Force, today urged Westport business owners and managers to keep the doors shut while the premises are being cooled on hot days, as well as being heated on cold ones. This is the second year of the initiative.

Mann’s letter to local merchants also won support from First Selectman Jim Marpe, the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, and the Downtown Merchants Association in an effort to conserve resources for Westport to become a more sustainable community.

Mann added that Earth Guardians, a Toquet Hall-based environmental activist youth group, will help by visiting businesses that leave doors open and remind them of the initiative.

Foggy Cloud Bank Prompts Fire Call Image
UPDATE A thick fog bank moved along the Long Island Sound shore late today, prompting a call to the Westport Fire Department of a possible fire somewhere in Saugatuck Shores. A Westport police marine unit went out to check and reported zero visibility along the shore. This view is off of Compo Beach. The National Weather Service later issued a dense fog advisory for Westport and area until 4 a.m. Thursday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Brett Doonan for

House Passes Deficit Closure Plan Despite Sweep of Firearm Permit Fees

By Keith M. Phaneuf

The House of Representatives gave final approval today to a plan to cover the $317 million state budget deficit in the current fiscal year.

The House voted 75-74 to approve the plan, but only after Republican legislators narrowly failed to modify it to prevent the use of $300,000 in firearm and ammunition permit-related fees to help close the shortfall.

The bill, which the Senate passed unanimously Tuesday night, now heads to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who is expected to sign it.

The mitigation plan does avert several controversial proposals from the governor, including cuts to a municipal grant, hospitals and state parks.

Proposed Ordinance Targets Yellow Page Directories

By James Lomuscio

The directories, be they Yellow Book, Yellow Pages or Frontier Yellow Pages, arrive unsolicited annually in driveways. Many residents welcome them, but others in the internet age see them as a bulky, hard copy versions of spam. Image

The latter group has prompted a proposed an Unsolicited Bulky Mail Ordinance scheduled to have its first reading at the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) on Tuesday.

Cosponsored by RTM members Jeff Wieser, Liz Milwe and Matthew Mandell, the proposed ordinance says its purpose is “to establish standards for the placement of unsolicited, bulky printed material on private property in order to protect the public health, safety and welfare of residents of Westport and to protect and promote the environmental quality of the town.”

While aimed at business directories, the proposal targets any document of more than 100 pages not delivered through the U.S. Postal Service. That could include free community newspapers, such as the Minuteman if it swelled to 100 pages during the holiday season.

PAL Fireworks Set for Monday, July 3 Image
The Westport Police Athletic League (PAL )today announced that Melissa & Doug, LLC will once again sponsor its annual fireworks display on Monday, July 3, with a rain date of Wednesday, July 5,. Fireworks by Grucci, a sixth-generation, family-owned and operated company known as “America’s First Family of Fireworks,” will provide the fireworks for the PAL’s 61st fireworks show. Tickets will go on sale Thursday and can be purchased at the Westport Police Department, 50 Jesup Road, and the Westport Parks and Recreation Office, 260 Compo Road South. Ticket sales are limited and are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Tickets are $35 per car and once tickets are sold out, shuttle passes from Longshore will be available for purchase.  Pictured aboard Marine 1 off the coast of Compo Beach are (l-r) Nate Bernstein; Esther Bernstein; Doug Bernstein; Melissa Bernstein; Howie Friedman, PAL trustee, and Ned Batlin, PAL president. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Real Estate Report: Median Price vs. Average Price Explained

By Judy Szablak

Special to WestportNow

The median price of homes sold in Westport has remained fairly constant at about $1.7 million over the last few years, while the average price has consistently been over $2.1 million. Image
Featured Home: This home at 40 Sturges Commons is listed at $1,699,000. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo courtesy of Halstead Property — Westport

The disparity comes with average pricing that includes market anomalies, such as entry level homes that are on the lower side of the spectrum, as well as the increasing amount of upper end luxury properties, which effectively tilts the townwide averages on the higher side.

The median price is considered a “central tendency,” and identifies the middle of any given range, where there are equal amounts of higher and lower priced properties.

While median and average can be very close to one another, the higher “average” price that is so common in Westport is in fact influenced by a growing number of luxury properties.

Westport Real Estate Price Changes

Westport real estate price changes over the past week:

71 Whitney Glen           $499,000->$485,000
13 Poplar Plains Road     $750,000->$699,000
17 High Gate Road         $752,000->$729,000
14 Catamount Road         $739,000->$735,000
6 Berkeley Hill             $820,000->$800,000
282 Saugatuck Ave.      $889,000->$870,000
15 Birch St.                $999,000->$959,000
27 Drumlin Road         $1,100,000->$998,000
5 Viking Green         $1,299,000->$1,199,000
58 Weston Road       $1,225,000->$1,199,000
21 Punch Bowl Drive   $1,599,000->$1,499,000
7 Tranquility Lane       $1,895,000->$1,549,000
6 Weathervane Hill     $1,599,000->$1,549,000
22 Pumpkin Hill       $1,899,000->$1,850,000
196 Long Lots Road   $1,999,000->$1,899,000
46 Wright St.          $2,150,000->$1,975,000
61 Old Road           $2,249,000->$2,049,000
12 Sandhopper Trail   $2,299,000->$2,100,000
104 Easton Road       $2,492,000->$2,399,000
10 Yankee Hill Road   $2,699,000->$2,499,000
6 Twin Circle Drive     $3,345,000->$3,295,000
4 Sandpiper Road       $3,850,000->$3,650,000
—Judy Szablak