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Another Westport P&Z Rule Draws Fire

First it was affordable housing . Now, it's big houses. Yes, another amendment recently passed by the Westport Planning & Zoning Commission is being challenged by Westport voters who have petitioned the RTM to overturn the measure. Leading the pack of unhappy citizens this time is Valerie Seiling Jacobs .

"There were 64 signatures," Jacobs said. Only 20 signatures are required for a petition to be considered before the Representative Town Meeting. "Like I told another reporter, I stopped at 64, but I could have kept going: A ton of people are angry about [the regulation]."

The amendment in question? That would be amendment 621, which deals with residential building coverage, or house size.

Under the amendment, passed Dec. 9 during a P&Z work session, building coverage for homes in the town's AA and AAA zones shall not exceed 15 percent of the net lot area.

"This is a problem. A tremendous number of homes on smaller lots will become nonconforming -- 305 houses in the AA zone alone," said Jacobs, who lives in an AA zone on Compo Parkway. "When you have 305 homes that will become nonconforming because of the 15 percent rule, I think there's a problem with that provision."

And if your home is classified as nonconforming, it's worth less money if and when you go to sell it, Jacobs explained.

But that's not the only problem she and the other petitioners see with amendment 621. Also under the amendment, patios, decks and terraces will become part of total coverage when they exceed 2 percent of the gross lot area. Jacobs said she believes this provision will cause about 300 more homes to become nonconforming.

Now that a petition has been filed, the RTM Planning & Zoning Committee will meet on Jan. 5 to hear Jacobs and a P&Z representative present their cases. After the RTM committee comes to a decision, it will go before the full RTM on Jan. 18.

Do you think amendment 621 should be overturned? Or do you think the RTM Planning & Zoning Committee should uphold it? Tell us below or e-mail .

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