The "What": This Week in Southwest Connecticut

A look at what's happening around southwest Connecticut for the week of February 7.

The "What": This Week in Southwest Connecticut
Photo by Kelly Prinz.

February 7

Happy Monday!

This week we’re adding something new to “The What.” We’re including a series of reports highlighting the key events of the previous week to try and help keep you informed about what’s happening in your communities and why it matters to you.

What’s happening around Coastal Connecticut:

  • The Stamford Board of Representatives is hoping to get the ball rolling on potential replacements for the West Main Street Bridge and will be voting on a new resolution this week that calls for in-depth information about four potential options.
  • The Westport RTM approved two American Rescue Plan Act projects—one for the arts, one for infrastructure.
  • Fairfield’s Board of Selectmen reviewed the Racial Equity and Justice Task Force Blueprint, and First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick said she wants to dive in and “dissect” the plan with her department heads to see what actions could be implemented.
  • Stamford’s Board of Education heard the proposed 10-year master facilities plan for its schools, which calls for, among other things, building a new South Stamford elementary school, converting three K-5 schools to K-8 schools, rebuilding Westhill High School, and improving Stamford High School.
  • Darien’s Board of Education voted 5-4 against participating in the Open Choice program, which would have allowed 16 kindergarteners from Norwalk to attend the school district. Though the superintendent voiced support for the program, BOE members who voted against it feared introducing new programs would further complicate learning disruptions caused by the pandemic, among other reasons.

It’s also a busy week for meetings, so let’s dive in.


The Board of Representatives will meet on Monday, Feb. 7 at 8 p.m. The future of the West Main Street Bridge tops the agenda as the new resolution calls for the administration to consider four main options for the bridge’s replacement, calls for more community, and asks for detailed information on traffic, cost, time, and public safety impacts. (Read our story about the proposed resolution.)

The Affordable Housing Trust will hear an update on the city’s housing affordability study and three potential projects that the trust could fund on Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 6 p.m.

Both the Planning Board (on Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 6:30 p.m.) and the Board of Finance (on Thursday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m.) will be reviewing requests from the school district for “district-wide renovation assessments.” (Read our story on the proposed 10-year facilities master plan.) The school district has two $150,000 requests that would go toward preparing plans for new school construction.

Other meetings this week include:


Both the Board of Estimate and Taxation (on Monday, Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m.) and the Common Council (at a special meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 6:30 p.m.) will receive a presentation on the proposed operating budget from the Mayor and city officials this week. The Common Council’s Finance and Claims Committee will also receive a detailed presentation on the budget from the city’s Chief Financial Officer on Thursday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. (Read our previous story on the possibility of using ARPA funds in this year’s budget.)

The Traffic Authority will hear a presentation and discuss possibly speeding up the closure of East Avenue—under the Metro North bridge—as a part of the state’s utility work for the Walk Bridge program. The Walk Bridge program includes multiple rail and infrastructure projects in and around Norwalk, with the largest piece being the replacement of the 125-year-old “Walk Bridge” across the Norwalk River.

Other meetings this week include:


The Affordable Housing Committee will get a status report on its affordable housing plan for the town from the town’s consultant on the project, Planimetrics, on Wednesday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m.

The Board of Selectmen will hear a status update on action items from the regional hazard mitigation plan based on FEMA’s Community Rating System at its meeting on Monday, Feb. 7 at 4 p.m. The Community Rating System is a “voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management practices” through discounting flood insurance premiums for residents in communities that employ these strategies.

The Plan and Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 6:30 p.m. on Sacred Heart University’s proposal to add more student housing. The university purchased the former Jewish Home for the Elderly property, which is right next to the campus, and has already renovated the existing building into a residence hall. The school is proposing to construct an additional residence hall— a new three-story building with a two-story parking deck on the site’s existing parking lot.

Other meetings this week include:


The town’s Affordable Housing Plan Drafting Committee of the Planning and Zoning Board will meet on Monday, Feb. 7 at 5 p.m. to begin working on its affordable housing plan. The group will assign data collection areas and start drafting portions of the plan.

Other meetings this week include:


The Board of Education will meet Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m to discuss and vote on changes to the superintendent’s proposed budget. Last week, many board members said that they would not support a fellow member’s proposed cuts to department heads and other staff positions, but Superintendent Alan Addley expressed concerns that these cuts—and their implications—hadn’t been publicly discussed. (Read more about the board’s budget discussions and its vote against Open Choice.) The school district’s budget will also be discussed on Monday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. with the Education Committee of the Representative Town Meeting.

After weeks of presentations, public comments, and deliberations, the Planning and Zoning Commission will once again discuss the 3 Parklands Drive plan, and potentially vote on it on Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m.. The proposal calls for demolishing the office building and building about 60 apartments. There’s been multiple meetings featuring public hearings on this project, where residents have voiced their concerns about the project’s size, impact, and location.

Other meetings this week include:


The town will host a public information meeting about a proposed cell tower on Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. Representatives on behalf of Tarpon Towers II, LLC, which is proposing the project, will discuss its plans for the construction, maintenance, and operation of a telecommunications facility located at 92 Greens Farms Road. The tower would provide telecommunications providers, particularly Verizon and AT&T, with “opportunities to enhance wireless coverage in the area.”

Still, officials, such as First Selectwoman Jen Tooker, said that they have questions about proposing to put the tower in a residential neighborhood.

“I continue to have concerns about locating a public utility on residential lots such as 92 Greens Farms Road,” she said in a statement. “Tuesday’s statutory public meeting will provide an opportunity for neighbors and the entire Westport community to communicate their opinions and gain insight on this important public issue.”

Previously, the tower had been proposed for either 92 Greens Farms Road or 55 Greens Farms Road, but Tooker said that the applicant no longer is considering 55 Greens Farms Road.

On Monday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m., the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission will review proposals to opt-out of multi-family parking requirements and accessory apartment requirements that the state adopted in 2021.

The Board of Finance will review a proposal to use $150,000 of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to support “predevelopment activities for affordable housing at West Parish Road” on Wednesday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. (Read our story about the town’s ARPA proposals so far.)

Other meetings this week include:

Thanks for reading. A special thank you to those of you who have filled out our survey about your news habits. We’ll be in touch with those of you who said you’d like to be involved with future projects soon. If you haven’t, please fill out this short survey, which will help inform our work. Let us know how you like the new additions!

Have a great week,

Kelly Prinz

Founder, Reporter at Coastal Connecticut Times