Pear Tree Point Beach makeover progresses with changes; RFP approved

DARIEN — Pear Tree Point neighbors will no longer have to worry about a restaurant on the beach in the near future.

The Parks and Recreation Commission unanimously decided at its Nov. 28 meeting to remove a year-round restaurant from the list of potential changes to the beach. Commission Chairman Mary Flynn said after discussion with Planning and Zoning Director Jeremy Ginsberg, it was determined the idea was not feasible.

“We’ve heard loud and clear that it’s something that may not even be approved,” she said.

Commission member Susan Daly said the idea of the restaurant was never concrete and was on the list of objectives to give the committee flexibility.

“I was on Weed Beach’s committee and the restaurant came up then,” she said. “As you know, there’s not a year-around restaurant at Weed Beach.”

The decision was met with a round of applause from the packed room of Pear Tree neighbors. The commission also unanimously voted to remove two multipurpose rooms that were originally planned for any new structure on the beach. The commission then voted to add a flexible space for community use to the list of potential upgrades.

“This will scale it back and help the committee,” Flynn said.

The request for proposal (RFP) for professional design services for the Pear Tree Beach Park improvement project was also approved Nov. 28.

“The bid opening for that is Jan. 7,” Parks and Recreation Director Pam Gery said. “I sat with Ed (Gentile) from Public Works. ... He thought that would give the firms enough time.”

Residents voiced their concerns about the upgrades during a special Parks and Recreation meeting held prior to the regular meeting that night, conducted by First Selectman Jayme Stevenson.

Resident Jim Arrington said his biggest problem was with the request for proposal stating it would fix the drainage issue. He said the RFP was a waste of the town’s money and does nothing to mitigate the biggest risk faced: flooding.

“We do not have a drainage issue,” Arrington said. “We have a sea rising issue.”

Over the years the flooding has gotten worse, he said.

“We don’t need storms to get the flooding any longer,” Arrington said. “It’s starting to creep away from the beach and into Pear Tree Point Road, and it’s happening a lot and the intensity is increasing.”

Tom Igoe, a 40-year Darien resident, said it is mportant that people are able to enjoy the space throughout the year, adding the structure changes could greatly impair the natural characteristics of the beach.

“I believe that any steps taken to rehabilitate and upgrade the facilities in the park should be fashioned as such so they don’t destroy or mar the unique characteristics of this beautiful place,” Igoe said.

Neighbors to the beach also asked that they were represented on the committee. However, Stevenson said the Board of Selectmen said they already solicited for volunteers on the Pear Tree Building Committee.

“Government has a process to it, and we’re following the process as it should be,” she said. “The commitee is closed.”, 203-842-2568