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P&Z sets aside proposal to move Gunn house for now

Published 4:42 pm, Friday, July 26, 2013
  • Plans to relocate the Gunn house on Church Lane, to make way for the Bedford Square development, are on hold for now as the Planning and Zoning Commission works its way through a busy agenda. Photo: File Photo / Westport News
    Plans to relocate the Gunn house on Church Lane, to make way for the Bedford Square development, are on hold for now as the Planning and Zoning Commission works its way through a busy agenda. Photo: File Photo

 

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As the demolition deadline counts down, a town request to move the historic Gunn house on Church Lane, to make way for part of the Bedford Square redevelopment project, is on hold owing to the Planning and Zoning Commission's busy agenda.

"This commission had asked the first selectman to withdraw and resubmit in late September," P&Z Chairwoman Catherine Walsh said at Thursday night's meeting.

The town is considering moving the1890-circa house at 35 Church Lane to a site at 35 Elm St., the municipal Baldwin parking lot.

The house, now owned by Bedford Square Associates, the group that hopes to develop the Westport Weston Family Y property at 59 Post Road East along with the adjacent property at 35 Church Lane, has offered to help facilitate moving the house as a way to preserve it.

However, to force a decision on that offer, the Bedford Square team also applied April 12 for a demolition permit to raze the structure, giving the town 180 days to act on its preservation.

The Queen Anne-style house was named after the late Colin "Ben" Gunn, who until a few years ago had operated a law practice there that he had opened in 1954.

Construction for the new multi-use development is slated to start in the fall of 2014, if the P&Z grants final approval. The P&Z, which closed its public hearings on the Bedford Square application July 18, has to make a decision on the proposal 65 days from that date.

The commission, however, did not discuss of the proposal at the Thursday night meeting.