39 Sherwood Drive.
39 Sherwood Drive / Photo by Thane Grauel

By Thane Grauel

WESTPORT — Some Sherwood Drive neighbors are concerned about plans to demolish the house at No. 39 and replace it with a multi-story structure.

A demolition notice has been placed on the 2,302-square-foot home bought by Janusz Chomik in October 2022 for $1.5 million.

The new house halfway up Compo Hill, according to architectural plans filed with the Zoning Board of Appeals, would have a below-grade basement, two floors and an attic.

The plan is before the ZBA because it needs variances for new construction, non-conforming lots, setbacks and building and total coverage. The owner is represented by Gloria Gouveia of Land Use Consultants.

Several neighbors have written to the ZBA expressing concerns.

Plans for 39 Sherwood Drive.
Plans for 39 Sherwood Drive.

“The house is not up to the neighborhood’s aesthetics,” wrote Frank and Mary-Lisa Bergonzi of Sherwood Drive.

“The bulk of the façade is not in keeping with the architectural aesthetic of our neighborhood. It has a mass that is completely disproportionate to the land, very unlike the current dwelling.”

(If Mary-Lisa Begonzi’s name sounds familiar, she’s the owner of another house a stone’s throw away, 246 Hillspoint Road, also slated to be demolished and replaced with a larger construction.)

An abutting neighbor, Malcolm Appelbaum, said the plans appeared to mix “many different architectural styles which look confusing and ugly.”

“The roof lines and placement and types of windows do not mix well and look unbalanced and unappealing,” he wrote. “The façade is not in keeping with the aesthetic of our block and will cause this ugly new house to ‘stick out like a sore thumb.’ “

Four other neighbors wrote about similar concerns.

Gouveia wrote to the ZBA that the application would mitigate some non-conformities on the lot that predate zoning regulations.

“The public safety improvement provided by replacing a perilous parking area within the road right-of-way with on site parking that meets and exceeds the current regulated standards, is worth and also a compelling consideration,” she wrote.

“Finally, the reduction and/or elimination of numerous non-conformities proposed in the application conforms to the Plan of Conservation and Development, which recommends doing so wherever and whenever possible,” Gouveia concluded.

The matter was on the Jan. 9 agenda for the Historic District Commission to decide whether to oppose the demolition and require a 180-day delay, but the item was removed.

Gouveia told the Westport Journal on Sunday that’s because a demolition permit, in fact, had been issued for the property about 20 years ago, and going through the process again is not required.

The ZBA will meet online at 6 p.m. Feb. 13. An agenda is not yet posted.

Thane Grauel grew up in Westport and has been a journalist in Fairfield County and beyond for 35 years. Reach him at editor@westportjournal.com. Learn more about us here.