P&Z holds off review of modifications sought for Bedford Square plans
Published 7:12 am, Friday, January 16, 2015
The Planning and Zoning Commission has decided to continue discussion of modifications proposed to the Bedford Square project, a multi-faceted development planned on the former site of the Westport Weston Family YMCA.
"Right up front, I'm not in favor of doing this tonight," said P&Z Chairman Chip Stephens said prior to discussion of the request at Thursday's meeting. "There are too many questions and I would like to have comments from the Architectural Review Board."
Stephens said the six proposed modifications to the approved Bedford Square plan include a change in the roof design to accommodate a hydraulic elevator and the height of the building. The project at 0 Church Lane, also known as 59 Post Road East, when complete will comprise almost 60,000 square feet of retail, residential and office space. It includes renovation of the 1923 Bedford building and historic firehouse, also circa early 1920.
Stephens added there are aspects of the modifications that "should be opened to the public" for discussion. "Everything should be by the book, but I don't have the full story."
Stephens and other P&Z members were upset that they were not provided with information and documentation to back up the request. "We don't have notes," he said.
"It's no different than what we discussed prior to your decision" approving the development, said Karen Johnson, representing Bedford Square. "It's just in keeping and doesn't change any conditions."
Johnson said it's taken the developer, David Waldman and his associates, "two years to get here ... it's an old building that we are trying to tie into a new building."
The design, she added, "is very complex."
Stephens asked Larry Bradley, the town's planning and zoning administrator, to have his staff review the request. "I want a little bit of clarity," he said. "I'm not going to rush this thing through."
Commission member Alan Hodge said the request "can just be continued, then we can decide."
"If you want to open it up to public comment then you need a legal notice," said Bradley, adding that, based on the P&Z's meeting schedule, the matter most likely wouldn't be taken up again until Feb. 5 if the panel takes that route.
Stephens allowed Thomas Cody, a lawyer for the developer, to speak on the matter. Cody said the requests do comply with the regulations and added that the matter could have been dealt with administratively.
"We wouldn't have been happy with that," said Stephens.
After more discussion, P&Z members decided to continue the issue to its next meeting.