Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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500 Main St. Complex Construction Begins Next Month

By James Lomuscio

With a recent Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) 5 to 2 victory after four years of setbacks and denials, the developer of a 55 age-restricted complex at 500 Main St., site of the former Daybreak Nurseries, said today construction will begin next month.

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The former Daybreak Nurseries property will become residential. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

“Basically we’re starting to finalize all the plans to get started within the next three to four weeks,” said Peter Greenberg, principal of Norwalk-based Able Construction. “We’re meeting with all the departments to make sure we start off on the right foot.”

He and business partner Johnny Schwartz plan to construct nine condominium units, scaled down from an original proposal for 12, on the 2.2-acre property.

The project includes two duplexes and five single-unit structures set on a cul du sac accessible via Weston Road. Each unit is expected to sell for about $1.2 million.

The project had been the subject of much neighborhood opposition, with neighbors arguing it would add traffic to an already troubled Main Street and Weston Road intersection.

With its approval, the P&Z placed a number of conditions on the development. They included the Planning and Zoning Department’s approval of the condominium bylaws, which must stipulate that at least one owner or occupant be 55 or older.

Another condition is that the Engineering Department approve the complex’s sidewalk.

Meanwhile, Greenberg said his company is soliciting work from all of its contractors, and he said that soon he will have an office trailer on site and a that the area will be surrounded by a cloth-covered fence.

“We’re ready to go; we’re gearing up,” he said. “I feel relieved and optimistic.” 

Greenberg purchased the property for $1,350,000 as the highest bidder in a foreclosure settlement in February 2014. Daybreak Nurseries had been on the site for almost 73 years.

The property, located near Exit 42 off the Merritt Parkway in a half-acre residential zone could have accommodated four large houses under the town’s regulations. Able has already constructed about 100, mostly large homes in town.

At previous P&Z meetings since November, area residents have spoken against the project at 500 Main St., arguing it would only exacerbate traffic at the troubled intersection of Main Street and Weston Road.

At previous P&Z meeting it was stated that traffic studies have found that the intersection handles about 3,000 cars during rush hour. Greenberg had countered that his complex, even with 12 units, would add only three cars to the mix.

“I’m sorry the neighbors were upset, but I’m sure when it’s done, they’ll be happy,” Greenberg said, adding that it will give a good first impression of Westport for those arriving via Exit 42.

“It will be an asset to the community, and it will improve property values,” he added.
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This story has been updated to remove a reference that no occupants shall be under 18. While that was discussed, it did not end up in the final approval.

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