By John Schwing
WESTPORT — Developers of a 68-unit Post Road West apartment complex — initially proposed under the state’s 8-30g affordable housing law — are seeking to change its stripes.
Not its affordability status, but its color scheme — from orange and yellow to white and gray.
But other changes proposed for the building’s facade prompted far more questions than its color from members of the Architectural Review Board during their Tuesday meeting.
The structure at 85 Post Road West, bracketed by Cross and Lincoln streets, will be built under a 2021 court-brokered settlement of litigation over the 8-30g application that lasted three years.
The new color scheme would reflect a more monotone palette since the originally proposed “orange, yellow and slightly bluish tint” might be “a bit too bold,” said Aaron Dweck, of the property’s owner, Lighthouse Westport LLC.
Similar colors proposed for a project at 793 Post Road East — The Westporter — were not well received, he said.
Other proposed revisions to the structure’s facade would include adding inset balconies and larger bays with windows, Dweck told the board.
The development’s footprint, number of units and parking spaces, and overall site plan would remain the same, he said.
Board members, however, had questions about apparent discrepancies in the appearance of the structure as portrayed in renderings compared to architectural drawings submitted for the panel’s review.
At one point, board Chairman Ward French told Dweck the proposed revisions would make the structure “a very different project” from the plan previously approved.
The application, he noted, as illustrated in the new architectural drawings versus the earlier version, make the building appear “completely different” from what was approved. The revisions, he added, would involve “significantly” more than color changes.
Dweck, in response, conceded that with the proposed addition of balconies and larger bays, “I’m certainly not saying it’s the same and I apologize if I gave that impression,” and that the new facade would be “obviously different from the old.”
French reiterated his concern about discrepancies between the renderings and architectural drawings, saying there should have been “better coordination” for the application.
Dweck explained the differences by saying the developers wanted to get the board’s feedback on a “straight color change” versus the plan to add inset balconies and change other facade features.
Architect Alex Merlucci added the developers wanted to start an “open dialogue” on potential changes to the building’s appearance, and were not seeking the panel’s approval Tuesday night.
That assurance appeared to address board members’ immediate concerns.
French, saying that he liked the new color scheme, suggested the applicants return to the board with a “coordinated” set of renderings and architectural drawings for further review.
Board member Vesna Herman found the new colors “more calming,” and liked the larger windows and more segmented design of the facade, which she said would make the “very long” structure look more appealing.
John Schwing, the Westport Journal consulting editor, has held senior editorial and writing posts at southwestern Connecticut media outlets for four decades. Learn more about us here.