Laurence Bradley, Westport Planning & Zoning Director announced that on April 26 the Planning & Zoning Commission is scheduled to review two text amendments - Amendment No. 649 and Amendment No. 650 to the Westport zoning regulations. A third text amendment, Amendment No. 648, will be heard on May 3.
Amendment No. 649, Application No.12-013, was submitted by Attorney Kenneth Bernard on behalf of the to modify the outdoor dining regulations that were last amended by the Planning & Zoning Commission in April 2011. The latest proposal would permit tents, canopies and fixed awnings to be exempted from building coverage provided that they have a storm water drainage plan approved by the Town Engineer.
“The proposed text achieves both the objectives of recently enacted zoning amendments and the concerns of the engineering department [about drainage],” said Bernard in his kexplanatory statement for the amendment.
Amendment No. 650, Application No. 12-014, submitted by the Planning & Zoning Commission Process Subcommittee will make a number of changes to the zoning regulations regarding how applications are processed. The changes focus on the handling of small scale projects. Many of these projects were processed by the Administrative Review Committee (ARC). ARC meetings added to the time and cost of processing less complex applications. Many of these projects will now be simple zoning permits or have the ability to have site plan approval waived by the Planning & Zoning Director.
“These changes will reduce the burden on applicants, the commission and staff by allowing more small scale applications to be processed more quickly and efficiently,” said Bradley.
“Often the simplest of projects could require three public hearings to receive approval. It is our hope that by creating a more cost-effective permit process that everyone will benefit,” he said.
A third amendment, Amendment No. 648, Application No.12-012, submitted by Attorney Lawrence Weisman on behalf of his client the Whitney Glen Condominium will be opened on April 26 but will not be heard until May 3. Amendment No. 648 seeks to add a new definition to the Westport Zoning Regulations for a new term called “Age Restricted Senior Housing.” This new definition would allow age restricted senior dwelling units that are only accessed by stairs to have their minimum age requirements reduced from age 62 to age 55.
“..There is a significant need in Westport to provide additional housing options targeting the needs of Westportresidents in the 55-65 years of age range,” said Weisman in his explanatory statement.
Weisman went onto say “..by lowering the age limit for Senior Housing in a limited number of circumstances, we will address the needs of those older residents who are unable or may become unable to climb stairs or who are concerned about their safety while at the same time addressing the problems associated with sales and rentals at Whitney Glen.”
All those interested in these amendments are encouraged to attend the Planning & Zoning Commission’s public hearings on April 24 and May 3 at 7 p.m. in the Westport Town Hall auditorium.
Copies of the amendments are available for viewing in Town Hall both in the P&Z Office and in the office of the Town Clerk.
The commission can receive written comments from the public in advance of the hearing. Once the hearing is closed, no more information or comments will be accepted.