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With P&Z Vote, Tesla On Track for Westport

By James Lomuscio

UPDATE Tesla tonight moved closer to opening up a service center and perhaps eventually a dealership at 176 Post Road West, the site of the former the former Dragone Classic Car showroom.

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The property at 176 Post Road West that was home most recently to Dragone Classic Cars.. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Westport’s Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) by a 5-2 vote approved a text amendment that would facilitate a special permit-site plan application that would allow the Tesla facility. Chip Stephens and Al Gratrix dissented. State legislators have yet to allow Tesla to have dealerships in Connecticut.

Once the text amendment is legally effective, the P&Z will vote on the site plan, a vote which is expected at its December meeting.

In discussing the text amendment, Eric D. Bernheim, attorney for property owner applicant 176 Post Road West LLC, did not say Tesla by name, referring to it only as an electric vehicle (EV) automobile dealership, which does not include hybrids.

Lamont Intends to Tap Network of Business, Nonprofit Contacts

By Mark Pazniokas

www.ctmirror.org

Connecticut’s governor-elect, Ned Lamont, is a Democrat who became a liberal anti-war icon during a U.S. Senate campaign a dozen years ago, but he made clear today he also is a well-connected Greenwich businessman intent on using a network of high-level business contacts to help populate his administration.

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Gov. Dannel P. Malloy (l) talks with Connecticut’s new governor-elect Ned Lamont at the Executive Residence. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jessica Hill/AP/pool

The four co-chairs of his transition team include two close friends: Attorney General George Jepsen, one of the few establishment Democrats to back his run against U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman in 2006; and Garrett Moran of Greenwich, the former chief operating officer of the world’s largest alternative finance firm, The Blackstone Group.

The two others reflect his interest in higher education and workforce development, plus an acknowledgment of limited experience with legislative players: Elsa Nuñez, the president of Eastern Connecticut State University; and Rep. Toni Walker of New Haven, the co-chair of the Appropriations Committee and passionate advocate of juvenile justice reform.

The executive director of the team is Ryan Drajewicz, a former congressional staffer who has taken a leave of absence from Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund. He had been an aide to former U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, who filmed a commercial endorsing Lamont after he defeated Lieberman in the Democratic primary.

Black Duck Not Closing After All

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The Black Duck announced it is not closing on Facebook. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Facebook photo

Owners of Westport’s Black Duck Cafe said today the 40-year-old restaurant won’t close after all.

In a Facebook posting, the Black Duck said funding had been secured to keep the restaurant in business.

“We are beyond pleased to announce that after many days of discussions with our creditors, landlord, and investors, the Duck has been able to secure a financial package which will allow us to continue operations (hopefully for the next 40 years!!),” the posting said.

“The outpouring of support from our loyal patrons over the past few days has been deeply moving and gratifying and we sincerely thank you. Like Phoenix, the Duck has risen from the ashes! To celebrate, please join us on Sunday, 11/4, for all day happy hour prices.”

Black Duck GoFundMe Page Taken Down

UPDATE A GoFundMe page posted to raise funds from the soon-to-be-closed Black Duck Cafe has been taken down and the donated $5,170 will be returned, said a person knowledgeable about the matter today.

“The employee who started it meant well, but it was not sanctioned,” said the source. The page, which attributed the closing to financial problems, sought to raise $100,000.

Since Tuesday’s announcement that the restaurant will close Sunday after 40 years serving up drinks and food to generations of Westporters, there has been tremendous interest in keeping it open, the source said.

Whether these discussion will go anywhere remains to be seen. While the closing announcement said the restaurant will be closed today and Friday before reopening on Saturday and Sunday for the last time, in fact it is open today and Friday as well.

Comings & Goings: Artistex Salon to Post Road East

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Artistex Salon and Spa opens in early November at 260 Post Road East, Colonial Green, opposite the Saugatuck Congregational Church, according to owner Odete DaSilva. The business is relocating from 190 Main St., the strip of shops anchored by Joe’s Pizza and Faye Kim Designs. The new space, according to DaSilva, will be three times the size of the space her business currently occupies and will employ 24 operators compared to eight at her present location. The new shop offers services for hair styling, nails, skin, massage and waxing. The new space was previously occupied by Joseph A. Bank Clothiers, Inc. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Comings & Goings: Peloton Opens on Main Stree

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Peloton, a home fitness equipment and “athleisure” apparel business, has opened at 58 Main St. Store manager Marc Sternemann said Peloton’s fitness equipment offers built-in monitors that offers live or on-demand instructor training so the fitness enthusiast has the opportunity to experience his or her own home fitness center. The Westport store is the second in the state, the other located in West Hartford.The space was previously occupied by Sperry, which closed in December 2016 after less than three years at that location. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

P&Z to Hear Electric Vehicle Text Amendment

With Tesla eyeing the former Dragone Classic Car showroom on Post Road West, a text amendment and a site plan application for an electric vehicle (EV) dealership are set to be heard by Westport’s Planning & Zoning Commission (P&Z) Thursday, officials announced.

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The former Dragone Classic Motors property at 176 Post Road West. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

“The application to locate an EV automobile dealership to 176 Post Road West is contingent upon approval of the text amendment,” said Planning and Zoning Director Mary Young, adding that the P&Z will hear both applications simultaneously.

Attorney Eric Bernheim of Halloran and Sage submitted text amendment 755 to modify zoning regulations to facilitate an EV dealership locating in Westport.

A companion special permit and site plan application submitted by Peter Romano of LandTech asks to locate the EV business to 176 Post Road West.

Comings & Goings: Bird Salon Opens

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Bird, a hair salon for women as well as men and children, has opened at 1320 Post Road East, next door to the Kohler store. Co-owned by Norwalk residents Kimberly Melanson and Vasili Giasimakis (above), the salon is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The co-owners invite the public to a grand opening celebration on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 6 to 9 p.m. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Comings & Goings: Wafu Noodle Opening in Bedford Square

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WaFu Noodle and Korean Barbecue opens in Westport’s downtown Bedford Square on Monday, according to owner Elaine Chu (r) who also operates Wafu Asian Bistro, 3671 Post Road, Southport. Chu said she is conducting a “soft opening” this week for invited guests. She said the Westport location specializes in Korean barbecue such as beef with side dishes, prepared at each table. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com