Westport P&Z chairman 'hypocritical' on lot coverage rules
Published 7:31 am, Thursday, January 6, 2011
I sent this letter to all RTM members in Westport on Wednesday, Jan. 5, before their meeting to address the new P&Z regulations.
I guess you can call it "Only in my Backyard." Text amendment 621 modifies how building and total coverage is calculated by modifying the definition of gross lot area to effectively exclude tidal wetlands. This significantly impacts Westport homeowners.
P&Z Chairman Corwin and his wife own a 0.77-acre lot fronting Long Island Sound in the residential zone A (1/2 acre zone). Roughly 28 percent of their lot is on very environmentally sensitive tidal wetlands. This is an area text amendment 621 specifically addresses. What I find quite ironic and want to point out is Chairman Corwin and his wife recently applied for and received a variance for building coverage claiming wetlands as their hardship in order to increase the size of their home.
Mr. Corwin's home is one of the larger homes on his street and is already non-confirming. I question his leadership in driving the new regulations to stop larger homes, when he himself snuck in his new construction variance to enlarge his big home before the new regulations go into effect. I wonder how his neighbors or any Westport resident would feel about this.
Isn't it the spirit and intent of the so-called new regulations to stop the over building of larger homes in environmentally sensitive areas? It appears Chairman Corwin snuck in the door to get his variance before the new regulations he wants to impose on all residents of Westport take effect. It appears Chairman Corwin does not believe in the new regulations, or should be applied to his own property, as he applied and received his variance right before the passing of these new regulations.
Although Chairman Corwin's home addition could be seen as modest, his actions are clearly hypocritical. This is the same person who is pushing legislation and this text amendment to protect the environment and also control the continued expansion of big houses. Is there a leadership or character issue?
The RTM should look carefully at the motivations of Chairman Corwin and the legislative changes he champions. His variance before the new regulations go into effect clearly benefit himself, while others in town will suffer when the new regulations begin. His own actions demonstrate the new regulations are not good for Westport.
I believe Chairman Corwin's personal actions are proof that the public's fear of the text amendment is valid. This is why I ask you to overturn this amendment.