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Norwalk Zoning Task Force set to get going

Mayor Harry Rilling and

Mayor Harry Rilling and Zoning Commission Vice Chairman Adam Blank, right, announce the Zoning Task Force in October. (File photo)

NORWALK, Conn. – The previously stalled, recently created Norwalk Zoning Task Force has its first meeting scheduled for this week.

“We are finally starting to move forward and hopefully we’ll get into a good groove and start pumping some stuff out,” Zoning Task Force Chairman Adam Blank said.

Mayor Harry Rilling announced the task force in October, along with an effort to create an Economic Development Action Plan. Rilling said in a Sunday email that there is now a final draft of an action plan, which is in the process of review.

Blank, an attorney, has said that his need to tend to a trial is one of the reasons the task force hadn’t gotten off the ground. Another problem was a potential conflict of interest among task force members, some of whom have business before the city.

The trial is over. Corporation Counsel hasn’t yet offered an opinion about the potential conflicts but, “We do think that that’s coming so we have scheduled an initial meeting in my office,” Blank said.

Future meetings will likely be in City Hall. They will all be noticed on the city’s website, he said.

Planning Commission Chairman Torgny Astrom was expected to be on the task force, but his schedule does not currently allow that. Planning Commissioner Joel Zaremby is on the task force instead, Blank said. Redevelopment Agency Chairman Felix Serrano is also on the task force.

Richard Redniss of Redniss and Mead,  a Stamford-based design and consulting firm, Attorney William Hennessey of Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessey LLP in Stamford and Attorney Jim Murphy of Wilton, whose practice includes land use, are on the task force, Blank said.

“They are people who know a whole lot about this stuff and know how it works in other municipalities – and they’re willing to do it for free,” Blank said.

Hennessey is currently representing General Growth Partners (GGP) in its attempt to build a mall on the 95/7 site.

Also on the task force are Julie Burton of the Rowayton Advocates for Zoning (RAZ) and the Coalition of Norwalk Neighborhood Associations (CNNA) and Leigh Grant of the Norwalk Association of Silvermine Homeowners (NASH) and CNNA.

Blank said, “We did try to make a good mix of development-side people, neighborhood-side people, Republicans and Democrats so that it hopefully will be viewed as being certainly not a perfect process, but a fair process.”

6 comments

Mike Mushak January 26, 2015 at 9:44 am

Hooray! Perhaps 20 years overdue but better late than never. We could have actually avoided the huge public uproar of both the mosque and BJ’s debacles (both followed our existing code to a T).

Here’s hoping for the best!

Bruce Kimmel January 26, 2015 at 10:19 am

Very very pleased. And long overdue. Of course, I assume the the goals of the new Economic Action Plan will be factored into the deliberations regarding our zoning regulations.

EveT January 26, 2015 at 9:26 pm

Very glad to see zoning overhaul happening, it is long overdue. Just hope this effort won’t end up like the blight ordinance, which got watered down to being so weak that it does a lot less good than it could have.

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