Survey: Zoning continues to shape plan for Westport’s future
Updated 2:29 pm, Saturday, February 18, 2017
WESTPORT — The preservation of natural resources, open space and community character received strong support in the most recent online survey used to help guide the 2017 town Plan of Conservation and Development.
At a work session with Glenn Chalder, from Planimetrics, who also constructed the 2007 POCD, Stephens cited the 38 percent of survey respondents who want to see more open space in town and the 46 percent of respondents who said they believe Westport is doing a good job at promoting and protecting the community’s character.
“I was very pleased and proud to see the open space and conservation get such attention. Something we’ve worked very hard on in the last few years,” Planning and Zoning Commission Vice-Chairman Chip Stephens said.
There was a surge in desire from people for easier pedestrian access and walkways around town.
“Parents want their kids to be able to walk to school, walk to town or something, but now it’s just, I can’t let my kids do it,” Stephens said, suggesting they work to make the town more pedestrian friendly.
Chairwoman Cathy Walsh said the demand in town has changed from 2007. “Ten years ago, everybody was screaming for more housing diversity, and we worked so hard to deliver on that. I think we’re seeing the results of that because nobody’s screaming for it any longer because we have all that and they can see it, and I think that’s a success.”
According to the online survey, 38 percent of respondents believe the town should do more to provide affordable housing to people in need of it.
Minimizing density of the town was a focal point of the commission’s discussion, given the approval of multifamily affordable housing complexes like 1177 Post Road E. Commissioner Danielle Dobin said, given the strides the town has made, she would like to see the new POCD be more conscious of keeping the character of Westport and not transforming it into more of a city.
“I am just hesitant because I am very worried of wording that invites people proposing to turn Westport into something that looks more like Stamford,” Dobin said. “There is a lot more multifamily in the works.”
Stephens echoed Dobin’s comments, saying he would like to see language limiting density in the town.
Chalder is expected to use the commission’s direction and formulate a draft in the coming months.