P&Z holds off decision on Chabad expansion plan
Published 3:45 pm, Monday, December 7, 2015
While plans by Chabad Lubavitch of Westport to expand were well received at last week’s Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, the panel decided to hold off a decision.
The P&Z may vote on the application when it meets at 7 p.m. Thursday in Town Hall.
The religious community’s home on Newtown Turnpike, the site of the former Three Bears Restaurant, under the proposal would “expand the main building, enlarge the sanctuary, add a kitchen and add a few more classrooms,” said Mel Barr, representing the applicant.
In October, the Zoning Board of Appeals gave approval for several variances, most of which related to wetlands on the north side of the property and the feasibility of exceeding the limit on total coverage for the site.
The P&Z heard a review the project application’s facets, including a report from a traffic consultant and an expert on drainage.
“This project has been seen by everybody several times over …” Barr said. “You have the whole array of reports and approvals that are required on your application.”
But commission members said they needed more time to review all the material.
“There’s a lot of material here and I would just like to take another run through it,” said commission member Alan Hodge.
“Personally I’d like to see it considered one more meeting to give neighbors a chance to come in,” said P&Z Chairman Chip Stephens, noting that he applauded the applicants for all the work they’d done in preparing the application.
“I’m very impressed with many of the things that have been said today,” he said.
The only member of the public to speak on the application last week was Don Bergmann, who said he considered the application “a very important and serious item” because the property is in a residential zone.
“I hope you make sure that whatever is approved or isn’t approved is done with that sensitivity in mind … I’m always concerned with expansion in residential zones,” he said.