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Westport's Downtown Steering Committee Receives Draft Master Plan

First Selectman Jim Marpe commented on the draft presented by the RBA group.
First Selectman Jim Marpe commented on the draft presented by the RBA group. Photo Credit: File

WESTPORT, Conn. -- At a special work session held Thursday, the RBA Group, consultants hired by the town of Westport to prepare a Downtown Master Plan, presented a draft of the plan to the Downtown Steering Committee (DSC) for formal review.

The DSC had a chance to ask initial questions and submit comments to RBA. According to DSC Chair Melissa Kane, “The document the DSC reviewed today is clearly the result of RBA’s having listened carefully to what Westporters had to say about our downtown. While it is still in draft form, it is comprehensive, creative and worthy of thoughtful consideration, support and, ultimately, action. I believe the strength of this Plan is its integration of many various improvement ideas -- over 40 recommendations in all, covering everything from streetscape to traffic and mobility, from parking to flood management. As such, it is best evaluated in its totality.”

The draft will be presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission for its comment in a work session scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 15.

Public comment on the draft is encouraged and will be possible through the website, where it will be posted, and at a Public Open House which is scheduled for Wednesday ,Jan. 28, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Town Hall Auditorium. The Open House will include exhibits, multiple Power Point presentations of the draft at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and opportunities to comment and ask questions. The presentation sessions will be televised on public access Channel 79 (Cablevision) and Channel 99 (ATT). Following review by the DSC, the Planning & Zoning Commission, and the public, RBA will prepare and present a final draft of the Downtown Master Plan to the DSC.

First Selectman Jim Marpe attended the meeting and had the following words of support, “The development of a Master Plan for Downtown has been a long time goal of the Town and is called for in our Town Plan of Conservation and Development. Having read the draft report, I find it to be both visionary and practical. It reflects and incorporates the values which Westporters told us were important to them: to maintain the 'Small Town Character' of Westport; to make Downtown more of a place for Westporters to enjoy; and to complete and improve Downtown where needed, rather than growing it.”

The DSC is providing guidance and technical assistance to the consultant team, led by the RBA Group, in developing a Master Plan for Downtown Westport. The full membership of the DSC can be viewed on the town’s project website www.downtownwestportct.com .

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