The nonpartisan Coalition for Westport was created this year to counter the unwillingness of the Planning and Zoning Commission to confront planning issues. We believe in a town-created, coordinated plan for the future, not one dictated by developers' haphazard projects.
Our candidates wish to recapture the downtown waterfront, beautify the Post Road, improve accessibility to open space, improve town facilities such as Longshore Park and Burying Hill Beach, take a positive approach to senior housing options, support rational reuse of residential and commercial historic structures without burdensome regulations, and help provide residents with the facilities and commercial offerings they desire. All this and more can be done while respecting Westport's past.
Our opponents' position is to preserve Westport's small-town charm. But that's not a platform. Everyone wants that. Saying "no" to everything except "preservation" is not a constructive approach to planning and zoning. Their supporters have a long history of resisting change, including lights at athletic fields, a small movie theater downtown, the initial application to develop the west side river historic district, and funding for the Downtown 2020 Committee.
Vote for Payne, Press and Torve. They are committed to the character and charm of Westport, but are better prepared and eager to deal with the future and ensure that Westport remains a thriving, vital community. Our opponents merely wish to cling to the past. Vote for careful, positive change, and against a seven-member Save Westport Now-backed P&Z dedicated to avoiding progress.
Michael Nayor is chairman of the Coalition for Westport.