A view of the lighting at the 1480 Post Road East apartment complex from a Cottage Lane yard. / Contributed photo.

By Thane Grauel

WESTPORT — The owner of a recently occupied apartment complex at 1480 Post Road East is seeking approval of its lighting system, which already has been installed — and is upsetting a nearby neighborhood.

The complex — being marketed as “1480 Post” — received approval to open in late summer, even though a lighting plan was not included in the site plan.

Apartment owner seeks retroactive approval without public comment

Architect William Achilles of Bridgeport on Feb. 24 requested a site plan modification to include a lighting plan to correct the error.

He later withdrew that request with a hand-delivered memo.

“I understand that the request for a site plan modification for the site lighting can be done via a work session as opposed to a public hearing,” Achilles wrote about the Planning and Zoning Commission review process.

“Therefore, I would like to resubmit my request of Feb. 24, 2022, for a modification.”

A public hearing would allow the public to speak before the P&Z votes on an application; a work session does not.

Cottage Lane neighbors: Lighting “looks like prison”

“1480 Post” apartments as seen from Post Road East. / Photo by Thane Grauel

But some people with homes on adjacent Cottage Lane object to that tactic, and are sending emails and photographs to the Planning and Zoning Department.

They oppose the lighting system as installed and want changes, said Chris Grimm, president of the Cottage Lane Homeowners Association.

The apartment complex has three two-story housing structures and a health center. Bright lights mounted outside high on the second floor are bathing parts of Cottage Lane in light.

“Looks like a prison yard next door,” Grimm said neighbors often characterize the lighting. 

He also noted that when ballfield lighting has been proposed in other neighborhoods, people often raise a ruckus. Unlike a ballfield, he said, the 1480 Post lights are on all night, every night.

Lighting said to violate town regulations

He said zoning regulations don’t allow residential lighting to be installed that high, and that lighting above a certain height needs to be shaded and angled down.

“You couldn’t try to find more non-compliance in more different ways than how theirs is installed,” Grimm said. “It boggles my mind.”

The back of a Cottage Lane home, bathed in light from the neighboring apartments at 1480 Post Road East. / Contributed photo.

The Feb. 24 letter from the architect to the Planning and Zoning Commission has a different opinion.

“The original applicant and property owner, 1480 PRW Associates, LLC, in an effort to demonstrate compliance, retained an electrical engineer/lighting specialist to review the lighting as installed,” Achilles wrote. 

“The engineers created a lighting plan of the existing conditions along with calculations of the foot candles distributed on the property. It was determined that the lighting as installed conformed to the Westport zoning regulations and the foot candles at the lines were within the regulations,” he wrote.

Grimm said the Planning and Zoning Commission is expected to take up the matter at its March 28 meeting. The agenda for that meeting has not yet been posted.

Grimm said he thinks the commission will “do the right thing.”

“We want a compliant light plan that does not disrupt our neighborhood,” he said.