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Norwalk Zoning Commission stymied in effort to correct ‘constant violations’

Lajoie’s in April, as seen from a Lawrence Street backyard. (Rick Reardon)

Updated, 7:06 a.m.: Copy edits

NORWALK, Conn. – The Zoning Commission is considering revoking a permit for a South Norwalk contractor’s yard after a major zoning violation.  Land use attorney Liz Suchy said the move is unprecedented, and not allowed.

F&G Contractors has violated its permit to do business at LaJoie’s 46 Meadow St. property, Assistant Planning and Zoning Director Mike Wrinn explained Thursday at a Zoning public hearing on the possible permit revocation.

Suchy, representing F&G, said the Commission doesn’t have the power to revoke a permit. As a result, the hearing was continued until the Commission can get an opinion from the City legal department.

Video by Harold Cobin at end of story Continue reading Norwalk Zoning Commission stymied in effort to correct ‘constant violations’

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Kleppin: charges of selective enforcement are ‘false allegations’

Planning and Zoning Director Steven Kleppin.

Updated, 6:48 a.m.: Copy edits, new headline

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk Planning and Zoning is completely redoing its enforcement, from top to bottom, Planning and Zoning Director Steven Kleppin said Friday.

“Follow-up on complaints is one of our weakest areas,” Kleppin wrote in an email. “I expect to change in the near-term.  That happens for a multitude of reasons, chiefly being that due to the volume of activity, staff time often gets monopolized by the issues (on which) we actually get (a) response from the property owners and that require a lot of attention.”

Kleppin was responding to a NancyOnNorwalk inquiry regarding allegations by Jason Milligan, owner of many Wall Street-area properties. Continue reading Kleppin: charges of selective enforcement are ‘false allegations’

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Opinion: Shout out to Norwalk mentors

Anthony Allison

Anthony Allison is the executive director of Norwalk ACTs. 

Shout Out to the Norwalk Mentor Program, which is about to embark on its 32nd year of encouraging the social, academic and mental growth of Norwalk’s youth through a one-on-one mentoring relationship, in which a caring adult serves as a role model to a student who is going through a difficult period or faces new challenges.

The Mentor Program is a program of the Human Services Council and is in partnership with Norwalk Public Schools. The program, established in 1986, was founded by Dr. Susan G. Weinberger and is recognized as the first school-based mentor program in the country. Continue reading Opinion: Shout out to Norwalk mentors

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Norwalk Oyster Festival 2018: Schedule and Scenes

A scene from opening night of the 2018 Oyster Festival, produced by the Norwalk Seaport Association. (Bob Welsh)

NORWALK, Conn. — Oyster Festival 2018 began Friday evening at Veterans Park with food, rides, games, live music, and children’s activities.  Comfortable temperatures and overcast skies greeted festival-goers.  Saturday’s forecast calls for partly sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-70s.  The festival, produced by the Norwalk Seaport Association, continues through Sunday.

See schedule below, followed by scenes from opening night.  For more information, visit www.seaport.org.  NancyOnNorwalk is a media sponsor of the event. Continue reading Norwalk Oyster Festival 2018: Schedule and Scenes

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Opinion: It’s time to publicly discuss use of $3.5 million from GGP

Send signed letters to [email protected]

It was with great interest that I read Mayor Rilling’s letter titled “Building purchase will lead to a community center for all,” where the Mayor discussed the role the GGP money has played in the purchase of half of 98 South Main Street, formerly also home to NEON.

While there is still some controversy about whether GGP should have been allowed to remove the mixed use requirement for the mall project, decisions were made resulting in a $3.5 million dollar payment to Norwalk.

Continue reading Opinion: It’s time to publicly discuss use of $3.5 million from GGP

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Norwalk officials reject Milligan claim of unfair treatment

A shop at the end of Isaac Street, said by the Norwalk Planning and Zoning office to violate Zoning regulations. The property is owned by Jason Milligan’s Wall Street Opportunity Fund, and was slated to be part of the “POKO” project to redevelop Wall Street.

Updated, 5:56 a.m.: Copy edits

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk officials rejected Thursday a real estate broker’s claim that he has been singled out for Zoning enforcement.

Jason Milligan, who is being sued by the City of Norwalk for purchasing properties in the Wall Street area without required approvals, made the charge of unfair treatment on Thursday.

“The city of Norwalk is treating me differently than everyone else. They are going out of their way to block my progress,” Milligan wrote Thursday afternoon.  Milligan received a Zoning citation from Deputy Zoning Inspector John Hayducky, stating that one of the properties purchased will be subject to a $150 a day fine if the issues continue.
Continue reading Norwalk officials reject Milligan claim of unfair treatment

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Norwalk RTC leader alleges perception of ‘pay to play’

Norwalk Republican Town Committee Chairman Mark Suda speaks to Common Council members and citizens attending the Ordinance Committee public hearing Monday in City Hall.

Updated 10:30 p.m.: Comment from Mayor Harry Rilling; 5:35 a.m.: Copy edits, information added

NORWALK, Conn. — There’s a feeling that in Norwalk, you have to “pay to play,” Republican Town Committee Chairman Mark Suda said Monday at a public hearing in City Hall.

Suda, a Norwalk Police officer, made the allegation when speaking to Common Council members at the Ordinance Committee’s public hearing on the proposed Innovation District in the Council chambers, with about 50 people in attendance.

Continue reading Norwalk RTC leader alleges perception of ‘pay to play’

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Norwalk BoE reflects on its practices in drive for ‘turnaround’

Norwalk Board of Education member Julie Corbett on July 26 leads a BoE self assessment during the retreat in the Cranbury Park bunkhouse.

Updated, 7:10 a.m.: Copy edits

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk Board of Education members on Tuesday looked to New Haven and Wichita as an inspiration for possible improvements.

“It is interesting to see (New Haven) as a microcosm of Connecticut, in terms of haves and have-nots, and also what that does to the school district. Because you have a lot of parents who are involved with Yale in some way who wring their hands about the school system and don’t participate,” Board member Sarah LeMieux said.

The discussion about turnaround efforts in similar districts was a follow-up to the Board’s self-assessment in July at its annual retreat, in which an anonymous written survey of Board members asked questions regarding Board effectiveness, functionality, and cohesiveness.  The survey showed, among other things, that four of nine members disagreed that there’s a high level of trust among its members. Continue reading Norwalk BoE reflects on its practices in drive for ‘turnaround’

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Norwalk Council amends, tables Innovation District; more changes possible

Former Norwalk Mayor Bill Collins speaks Tuesday at a Common Council Ordinance Committee public hearing on the proposed Innovation District.

Common Council member Tom Livingston (D-District E) proposes amendments to the proposal Innovation District ordinance Tuesday in City Hall.

Updated, 6:54 a.m.: Copy edits

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk Common Council members on Tuesday voted to amend their Innovation District proposal and tabled the matter for a month to consider more changes.

This followed about an hour’s worth of colorful testimony in the Ordinance Committee’s public hearing on the tax incentive plan intended to spur development in Central Norwalk, with maximum tax breaks totaling $15 million over a 5-year period.  The proposal was devised by the Redevelopment Agency and the Council Planning Committee through a year-long discussion said to have been initiated by Mayor Harry Rilling. Continue reading Norwalk Council amends, tables Innovation District; more changes possible

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Norwalk reorg moves forward; Chief of Staff set for vote

Common Council member Doug Hempstead (R-District D), at Tuesday’s hearing in City Hall.

Ordinance Committee Chairwoman Eloisa Melendez (D-District A) listens to the public Tuesday in City Hall.

Updated, 5:50 a.m.: Copy edits

NORWALK, Conn. – Parts of Mayor Harry Rilling’s administrative reorganization are headed to the full Common Council next week for a vote.

The Common Council’s Ordinance Committee Tuesday moved ahead plans to create a Chief of Staff, a Chief of Economic and Community Development, and a Chief of Public Works and Operations, along with changes to the Recreations and Parks Department and the Department of Public Works.

The vote was 4-2-1 after a brief public hearing.  Continue reading Norwalk reorg moves forward; Chief of Staff set for vote

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NPD: Hamden man threatened to use AK-47 at Norwalk High School

Norwalk Police say they found this rifle in Leslie Delaney’s trunk. (Norwalk Police)

Leslie Delaney, 69, of Hamden. (Norwalk Police)

Updated, 5:35 a.m.: Copy edits

NORWALK, Conn. – A Norwalk High School cafeteria worker threatened to come to the school with an AK-47 “to finish everything and then ‘off’ himself,” Norwalk Police say.

Leslie Delaney, 69, of Hamden was arrested Tuesday and charged with possession of a weapon, threatening second degree and breach of peace second degree, after officers found an unloaded 22 caliber Mossberg rifle in Delaney’s vehicle, Norwalk Police Lt. Terry Blake said in a press release. Bond was $75,000. Continue reading NPD: Hamden man threatened to use AK-47 at Norwalk High School

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Opinion: Building purchase will lead to a community center for all

Send signed letters to [email protected]

Our community took a huge loss when the Norwalk YMCA closed its doors at the end of 2012. Since that time, Norwalk has lacked a true place where residents could meet, receive programming, and participate in recreation. What the city has been missing is a bonafide community center, and I am determined to see that changed.

To that end, the city is purchasing half of the building located at 98 South Main Street. Doing so gives full ownership of the property to the city. Having complete ownership allows us to do three things. Continue reading Opinion: Building purchase will lead to a community center for all

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Himes, Arora talk issues in Norwalk town hall

Discussing issues last week in Norwalk Concert Hall are Republican U.S. Congress candidate Harry Arora (left) and incumbent U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Greenwich). (Harold Cobin)

Updated, 7:37 a.m.: Copy edits

NORWALK, Conn. — Two Congressional candidates discussed a wide array of hot-button issues at a town hall meeting Wednesday.

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Greenwich) and Republican challenger Harry Arora each answered moderator and audience questions during separate sessions at Norwalk Concert Hall.  Issues included abortion, gun violence, Social Security, prescription drugs, education, immigration, and President Donald Trump.

Norwalk’s NAACP organized the forum together with The Divine Nine, a group of historically black Greek letter organizations.

Video by Harold Cobin at end of story Continue reading Himes, Arora talk issues in Norwalk town hall

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