Protect the Partrick Wetlands
The P&Z is currently deliberating a text change to the Open Space Residential District (OSRD), the zone governing the Partrick Wetlands which has been proposed for a clustered sub-division.
The community surrounding this wonderful natural resource and two regional planning agencies are firmly behind the amendment which seeks a low density, "no cluster buffer" along the perimeter to keep the character of the neighborhood intact, while still allowing high density within.
We ask the P&Z commission to stand tall and protect our community and not be influenced by threats of law suits. Their decision should be based solely on the merits of the issue before them. Anything less would play into the bluster of the overly litigious and arrogant. Three other lawyers said they were clear to make their decision, we see no reason why they shouldn't.
The "no cluster buffer" will achieve its goal if adopted, and will not turn the land into a multi-family housing development. The buffer concept was carefully crafted and the multi-family alternative was taken into account. The proximity of the wetlands and the greater setbacks required for their construction removes them from the picture. It is hard enough for single family houses to fit constrained by a 35' wetland setback, a multi-family requires 65' and is not achievable.
The suggestion of creating screening for these multiple 4000 plus square foot monsters is not an option. A few extra trees will not diminish the impact that 8000 to 12000 square feet of housing tightly clustered and near current residents will present. They will still be there and they will be totally out of character and harm property values.
The OSRD was created as a unique zone with the idea of protecting not just the wetlands, but that of open space as well. No other zone has this important responsibility. It is not a Planned Residential District, it is supposed to be more, much more. It should be allowed to achieve its mandate and further protect its goal.
Now is the time to be making this decision, waiting until after the houses are built is not an option. Maybe prior commissions should have taken this up, but that is no reason not to do it now.
We trust the P&Z to make the right decision. The citizens of Westport have put their faith in this commission, don't let us down. It's not too late.