Thursday, July 07, 2022

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Report: Court Action May Let

A recent Connecticut court decision may cause chaos to zoning regulations in the states municipalities, including Westport.

ThatҒs the gist of a report in The Advocate of Stamford which said the action could also affect efforts of the communities to limit “McMansions.” It quoted land use attorneys and officials.

The newspaper said the legal issue began with a Wilton couple’s quest to add a garage and breezeway to their home.


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Westport Suburbia No More

It didnt attract a whole lot of attention, but the U.S. Census Bureau, in its wisdom, has declared Westport an urban area. And here we were blissfully thinking of Westport as suburbia.

It occurred in the spring/summer of 2002. There’s a lengthy explanation on the U.S. Census Bureau Web page of how urban (and rural) areas are defined.

Basically, the Census Bureau classifies as “urban” all territory, population, and housing units located within an urbanized area (UA) or an urban cluster (UC). It delineates UA and UC boundaries to encompass densely settled territory.

This is defined as those core census block groups or blocks that have a population density of at least 1,000 people per square mile and surrounding census blocks that have an overall density of at least 500 people per square mile.

The South Western Regional Planning Agency (SWRPA) has a map of our area on its Web page—the “Bridgeport – Stamford, CT – NY Urbanized Area.”

If you’re not an urban area, according to the Census Bureau, you’re a rural area. And by modifying its definitions between 1990 and 2000, the agency considers Westport officially as urban. So I guess you can say now we’re not a “‘burb,” but a full-fledged “urb.” Thanks, Washington.

Main Street’s Battle of the Sexes

Westport continues to be the testing ground for national retailers pushing into new gender territory.

First it was button-down Brooks Brothers which chose Westport five years ago for one of its first freestanding women’s stores. It continues to operate at the end of Main Street opposite its men’s counterpart in Brooks Corner. Now Talbots, which took over the old Remarkable Book Shop for its women’s and children’s lines, is putting the final touches on its first men’s store a stone’s throw down the street.

The store, opening next month, is in space formerly occupied by The Limited. Westporters with long memories will remember it as the site of a one-time Mobil gas station.

While Brooks Brothers and Talbots battle it out with separate his and hers stores on Main Street, Mitchell’s continues to woo the same customers in its all-in-one location, also undergoing renovations, a couple miles up the road on Post Road East.

Mitchell’s, of course, may have an advantage in that it has the ability to host school car washes as well as the DMV license renewal bus. Try those on Main Street.

Update: Talbots Mens (that’s the way they spell it) is having a grand opening Thursday evening, April 3. The champagne benefit will feature informal modeling by members of the Westport Police Department and friends of the Junior League of Eastern Fairfield County. At least that’s what the invitation says.

A portion of the evening sales will benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Connecticut and the Westport Country Playhouse.

Arnold B. Zetcher, chairman, president and CEO of Talbots, is hosting the event.


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Brookstone Does Westport Westport’s Main

Westport’s Main Street welcomes another national retailer—Brookstone.

The store opened March 1 in the long vacant site at the end of the street leased but never occupied by Ralph Lauren. Handsome store. Those knowledgeable about Westport commercial real estate say with the signing, Westport’s Main Street hangs out the “no vacancy” sign.

The nation’s slowed economy has taken its toll on Westport like many other places, but local retailers say the town’s upscale residents have softened the impact.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be howls aplenty when a double-digit tax increase goes into effect July 1.


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