29 Danbury Ave. / Google Maps
29 Danbury Ave. / Google Maps

By Thane Grauel

WESTPORT — The Zoning Board of Appeals has approved construction of a new home in the Compo neighborhood.

The owner of 29 Danbury Ave. sought permission to tear down an existing house and replace it with a new, FEMA-compliant structure.

The new structure would switch street access from Bradley Street to Danbury Avenue and reduce some of the non-conformities.

The existing house on 0.1 acres has 1,780 feet of living space. The new structure will be elevated because it’s in a flood zone, with a two-car garage on the bottom level. The first floor would be at 16.5 feet, more than the required 12.

The discussion Tuesday had been continued from an earlier meeting.

Chris Russo of Russo and Rizzio LLC in Fairfield, presented for the applicant.

“We’re here for a kind of very limited issue, we had gone through the entire presentation,” he said. “We had discussed hardship, but there was a comment from commissioners regarding the safety of the proposed dwelling and asking for a second means of egress to the outside from the main first floor.”

Russo showed the latest plans at the online meeting and said a second exit stair had been to that level.

“We are making the building FEMA-compliant, which the existing building is not,” Russo said. “It’s driving the requirement for this variance.”

“Your hardship that you expressed to us is that it’s an undersize lot, there are two fronts, and you’re reducing the nonconformity,” ZBA Chairman Jim Ezzes said. “Is that correct?”

“Correct,” Russo replied. “We’re eliminating and reducing a number of nonconformities, and the fact, again that it’s in a flood zone.”

The two-story Colonial at the corner of Danbury and Bradley Street was built in 1930, the same era as many of the original homes in the neighborhood.

Plans for 29 Danbury Ave. / KA Davignon Architects
Plans for 29 Danbury Ave. / KA Davignon Architects

The application to the Zoning Board of Appeals states the owner is the Harold Homes LLC. Town land records say it was sold to Gillian Gallo on May 23 for $1.76 million.

Chris Russo
Chris Russo

The first floor would have an “open concept family room,” kitchen, dining room, living room and study.

The second floor would have a master bedroom, master bath, two more bedrooms and two full baths.

“The upper floor simply contains a walkout area to a roof deck, which is a common feature found in the neighborhood,” reads a letter in the application from Russo.

Still, the project needs variances for setbacks for non-conforming lot; setbacks in Residence A District; and coverage in Residence A District.

The ZBA’s vote was 5-0, with some conditions. One of them was a non-conversion agreement be signed, meaning the basement could never be finished as a living area.

Thane Grauel grew up in Westport and has been a journalist in Fairfield County and beyond for 36 years. Reach him at editor@westportjournal.com. Learn more about us here.