Westport Planning & Zoning Commission Chair Cathy Walsh announced that the Planning & Zoning Commission has formed a new subcommittee to review the zoning regulations and to work quickly to make changes to that will possibly allow property owners in flood zones to elevate their houses without requiring ZBA variances.
“This past Thursday we opened our work session to the public and based upon the feedback we received decided that we need to move quickly to address this issue of people who want to raise their houses to get above the 100-year flood but they often need variances,” Walsh said.
“The commission hopes to have a draft regulation ready as soon as possible so that we can get it through the public hearing process,” she said. “We plan to have it in place before the rebuilding process begins so that property owners will have the shortest path possible when they want to repair and elevate their buildings.”
“The Planning & Zoning Commission is willing to schedule extra meetings if needed to review Flood Regulations or Coastal Site Plan applications. However, scheduling of such meetings is subject to statutory legal notice requirements which are at least two week prior to a public hearing.”
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The process will involve looking at building coverage and setback in flood prone areas, and allow property owners enough flexibility to raise their houses above the flood level and out of harms way even if they are non-conforming, Walsh said. The more properties that are elevated in the future will help insure reduced damage in the years to come.
The commission welcomes any ideas on either regulation changes or modifications to existing processes and procedures that will help streamline and simplify the rebuilding process, said Walsh.
Residents wanting to share ideas or participate in the process should contact Laurence Bradley, Westport Planning & Zoning Director, at 203-341-1078 or firstname.lastname@example.org.