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At P&Z, Minor Tweaks for Summit Saugatuck

By James Lomuscio

For the seventh time since 2002, Summit Saugatuck was back before Westport’s Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) tonight, this time with a site plan and amendments for a five-building, 187-unit, affordable housing, rental complex on Hiawatha Lane.

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Attorney Timothy Hollister explains the Summit applications. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

And compared to past skirmishes and denials, tonight’s hearing seemed noticeably amicable as Tim Hollister, attorney for Fairfield developer — and one-time Westport P&Z commissioner — Felix Charney, spoke.

He presented a site-specific text amendment, a map amendment, a site plan and a coastal area management (CAM) site plan for the 8.8 acre Saugatuck property near Exit 17 of I-95.

Even Westport’s former Fire Chief Andrew Kingsbury, whose fire access, safety concerns have derailed other affordable housing projects, called Summit’s new designs “generally adequate” with some adjustments.

Attorney: Expect Supreme Court to Expand Gun Rights

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Westport attorney Ken Bernhard told the Y’s Men of Westport Weston today that with the appointment of more conservative justices, it is likely that Supreme Court will expand the Constitutional right to possess a gun and that the ability of individual states to regulate them will be further restricted. Bernhard, who reviewed the history of the Second Amendment, is a senior attorney with the Center For International Legal Studies and teaches the American Constitution in foreign law schools. He noted that Connecticut has more gun control legislation than any other state, much of it since the Sandy Hook school massacre in December 2012. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Comings & Goings: Last Day for Winfield Espresso & Panini Bar

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Winfield Street employee Venlich Aguilar today serves a cup of coffee to Westport resident Tom Tarrant on the final day of business for Winfield Espresso & Panini Bar, 54 Railroad Place. Winfield continues to operate Winfield Deli at 13 Post Road West. As previously reported, Romanacci Pizza Bar will expand its business in early March into the adjoining space now occupied by Winfield Espresso & Panini Bar. Aguilar said, “So many customers are saying goodbye to me, but I let them know I am staying here and will work for Romanacci when they take over.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 39 Clapboard Hill Road

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An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 39 Clapboard Hill Road, in the Greens Farms section, is in process. Built in 1934, the house has 2,294-square feet and is situated on a 1.5-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

Plastic Bag Ban Proposals Now Include New Wrinkle: Taxes

By Jan Ellen Spiegel

www.ctmirror.org

Jeff Wieser remembers how, as a newly elected member of the Westport Representative Town Meeting nearly a dozen years ago, he carried his cellphone on his daily runs so he could document the plastic bag litter strewed around his coastal town.

Wieser’s photos became part of the debate the town was having as it considered a ban on single-use plastic bags — those checkout freebies that come mainly from grocery stores.

“Plastic bag trash is very, very noticeable,” Wieser said. “The goal was to change behavior to get people to use reusable bags. It was about reducing a very reducible item out of the waste stream.”

The ban, the first in the state since a short-lived one in New Haven in the early 1990s, passed 28-to-5 in September 2008 and has been in effect for exactly 10 years.

Thursday, February 28, 2019


8:30 a.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Commission on People with Disabilities
10 a.m. – 5 p.m. – Westport Arts Center – “Fractured: Photographs by Spencer Platt”
11 a.m. – 6 p.m. – Westport Historical Society – “Liberty to Set Down: Migrants & Immigrants in Westport”
1 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Board of Education Teaching & Learning Committee (live on cable channel 79, Frontier channel 6020, & westportct.gov)
6:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Planning & Zoning Executive Session
7 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Planning & Zoning Public Hearing (live on cable channel 79, Frontier channel 6020, & westportct.gov)

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

Turf Talk: Fast Tracking Field Replacements

By Jarret Liotta

With a chance to see a new Staples High School (SHS) stadium field and surrounding track up and running by the end of September, consultants and school sports officials hope the town will move quickly off the blocks.

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Parks and Recreation Commissioner Alec Stevens and other officials examine turf samples at tonight’s meeting. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jarret Liotta for WestportNow.com

A combined Town Hall auditorium meeting tonight of the Parks and Recreation (P&R) Commission and the Board of Education (BOE) heard different turf and design options from representatives of Milone & MacBroon, a Cheshire-based consulting group, as well as a potential timeline to minimize impact to sports programs.

Actual cost estimates for three different turf options, based on outside bids, are due Friday and will be presented at a BOE meeting tentatively set in mid-March, with the P&R Commission in attendance.

Pending town approvals for funding, construction on the SHS stadium and Wakeman B Fields would begin on May 31, with work on the Ginny Parker Field in the eastern corner of SHS and the P.J. Romano Field at Saugatuck Elementary School done the summer of 2020.

U.S. House Approves ‘Sandy Hook’ Universal Background Check Bill

By Ana Radelat

www.ctmirror.org

Washington — Gun control supporters and victims of gun violence in the U.S. House gallery yelled “thank you” to the group of mostly-Democratic lawmakers who passed a bill today that would expand federal background checks for gun purchases and transfers.

The vote on the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 was 240-190, the first time in at least 25 years that the U.S. House has approved a substantial gun control measure.

The bill, which garnered only eight GOP votes today, was first introduced more than six years ago in response to the 2012 killing of 20 first graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, but failed to win enough support in the Senate and was not ever put forth for a vote in the House.

“This day has been a long time coming,” said Sen. Chris Murphy, who came over from the Senate to witness the historic vote on the House floor.

Eversource Postpones Power Outage a Week

The planned power outage for a portion of Westport Sunday from 12:01 a.m. to noon has been postponed for a week due to inclement weather, Eversource announced today.

Power company spokesman Mitch Gross said that the the move to March 10 was due to reports of a Saturday storm.

Gross said last week the shutdown is necessary as crews work on electrical upgrades to strengthen the system for Westport customers.

The outage is expected to affect residents along Main Street, Elm Street, Post Road, Riverside Avenue, even as far as Saugatuck Shores.