Press: Points to record, town's need to evolve
I served on the Planning and Zoning Commission for eight years. I voted for regulations allowing:
1. Many new restaurants to open.
2. Doubling of outdoor dining.
3. Athletic field lights at Staples and Saugatuck for events for our high school kids, to support the PAL program and community.
4. Westport to solicit proposals for Baron's South senior-citizen facility.
5.Redevelopment of the downtown Historic District on the river's west side.
6. Redevelopment of Saugatuck.
7. Expanded uses for historic properties, increasing likelihood of preservation.
8. Two home offices to accommodate today's work environment.
9. Small, free-standing, hand-written commercial signs helping "mom & pops" (Everyone knows Starbucks).
10. Set excavation-and-fill standards to preserve our natural topography.
11. Every Historic District Commission request for "historic" designation of selected Westport properties.
My coalition colleagues and I would support the kinds of applications listed above.
Homeowners and other applicants need our support. Within regulations, we should help them. It further improves our already wonderful town.
It is important for commissioners to know how to get to "yes." Save Westport Now, which has endorsed our opponents, has stood against many applications I supported.
In fact, I cannot remember a single application that SWN supported in my eight years on the commission. They are good at saying, "no."
SWN endorsed the four current Republican P&Z commissioners. In this election, it is endorsing our three opponents. If they win, all seven commissioners would impose the SWN "no" philosophy on the commission.
Sometimes it is important to say "no." I opposed the proposal to allow taller buildings downtown. But I believe every building that Westport will ever need has not already been built.
Our task: Move Westport ahead in a sensible manner, balancing Westport's needs to both preserve and evolve.