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Westport Denies Church Lane Zone Change

WESTPORT, Conn. – The property at 35 Church Lane in Westport will remain as is—for now. In a 5-2 vote Thursday night, the Planning and Zoning Commission denied a proposal to rezone the property from its current zone to one that would allow for larger, denser buildings on the site.

Submitted by the development group Bedford Square Associates, which owns the property, the proposal sought to have the site rezoned from Restricted Office-Retail District 2 to Business Center District. The change would have tripled the maximum allowable building coverage to 14,894 square-feet.

During two public hearings on the proposal, Tom Cody, a lawyer representing Bedford Square, said the change would allow the group to move ahead with plans for a mixed-use development on the site that it hoped to join with its redevelopment of the Westport Weston Family Y, which it also owns.

The commission denied the requested zone change on the grounds that the applicants did not present sufficient evidence that the map amendment would result in develop consistent with the 2007 Town Plan of Conservation and Development.

"I felt the presentation didn't give me rationalization for changing the map,' said commission Secretary David Press, who voted to deny the proposal. "I didn't get the connection that if we do 'X' we'll get 'Y.' I felt that if we do 'X,' one day [the developers] will come back with something."

Commissioner Howard Lathrop and Chairman Ron Corwin were the two votes in favor of supporting the proposal.

Check back with The Daily Westport later today to read more about what the commission had to say.

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