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Norwalk roundup: Snail set to reach finish line

The facade at 45 Wall St. should be restored to its age-old glory within a month, according to Norwalk Chief Building Official Bill Ireland.

A flag is raised Sunday at Heritage Wall to mark Peruvian Independence Day. (Harold Cobin)

Updated, 7:50 a.m.: Copy edits

NORWALK, Conn. – Here’s some recent Norwalk news:

  • Ireland offers ETA on Duleep facade
  • Council investigating Sunday morning booze ban
  • Norwalk marks Peruvian independence

Video of Peru celebration, by Harold Cobin, at end of story

 

ETA on 45 Wall
Wall Street business owners can expect a bit of improvement: the exterior of 45 Wall St. is expected to be repaired by the end of August.

Eight years ago the prominent building was heavily damaged in a fire.  Owner Ganga Duleep for years has blamed  TD Bank from holding up renovations to the eyesore.

Duleep won a lawsuit against TD Bank in 2013. Renovations began in April 2015, after the city enacted a blight ordinance and Norwalk Chief Building Official Bill Ireland issued citations to Duleep and TD Bank.

But work has, in the eyes of the public, proceeded at a snail’s pace. Ireland initially explained that work was slow because the work was painstaking, as each joist had to be formed to fit in the existing opening in the brick walls of the historic building. Since then, delays have been attributed to the state working on the Wall Street tunnel and then a funding roadblock, then reports that TD Bank was insisting that work be done to a higher standard than had been planned, according to Ireland.

In October, Ireland said, “They are rebuilding it from the ground up new.”

Last month, real estate ads announced that commercial space was available for rent in the building. Photos showed that the interior was progressing to the point that studs were framing walls but despite evidence of the interior work nearing completion, the façade has remained an eyesore.

So when will it be done?

About a month from now, according to Ireland.

“Work is to start the latest next week, {and} take about a month according to the contractor,” Ireland said in an email last week.

Duleep in 2014 said the façade would be the last thing to be done. The State Historic Preservation Office would have final approval, she said, explaining that she thought the building was 150 years old.

Duleep needed Redevelopment Agency approval for work on the façade. Redevelopment Agency Director Tim Sheehan did not reply to an email asking about that.

“This building currently has approved state and federal preservation plans for Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits,” Norwalk Preservation Trust President Tod Bryant wrote in July.  “Whatever is being done must follow those plans.

Bryant said he was receiving regular updates on the building.

“As I understand it, she has approved applications for federal and state Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits,” he wrote last week. “Those applications include a Description of Rehabilitation, which describes in detail what every element of the rehabilitation will be, including the design and materials of the facade.”

“I am pleased that this project is finally nearing completion and that this part of Wall Street will finally have its streetscape back,” he wrote. “It’s unfortunate that we all had to suffer this eyesore for so long.”

 

 

 

No booze before noon on Sunday?

Common Council members are considering revamping an antiquated ordinance that may result in restaurant owners breaking the law.

“It came to our attention that we have this fine ordinance that was adopted in 1957, basically limiting the sale of alcoholic beverages on Sunday from 12 noon to 9 p.m.,” Ordinance Committee Chairwoman Eloisa Melendez (D-District A) said on July 17, introducing an item for consideration.

Quoting from her own experience of enjoying a Mimosa at a Sunday brunch and perhaps a glass of wine with a late dinner, she said, “This is not being enforced.”

“I think this Committee should change it so the businesses in Norwalk don’t continue to violate the law and for future businesses,” she said, expressing concern that perhaps people who are considering opening a business here will be dissuaded.

City Lawyer Darin Callahan commented that he’d gotten a phone call from a large company that had done its due diligence and was concerned about the ordinance, asking if Norwalk was for real.

“How many didn’t make that call?” he asked.

The ordinance states:

“The sale or the dispensing or consumption, or the presence in glasses or other receptacles suitable to permit the consumption of liquor by an individual, of alcoholic liquor in places operating under hotel permits, restaurant permits and club permits shall be permitted within the City on Sunday between the hours of 12:00 noon and 9:00 p.m., in accordance with the provisions of Section 4296 of the General Statutes, as amended.”

 

“Does it define, hotels, restaurants and clubs?” asked Michael Corsello (D-At Large), one of three lawyers on the Committee.

Callahan said he’d researched other municipalities and most had similar ordinances all dating from the same time period, some with as little language as Norwalk’s, none of which had been updated since the 1980s.

There are various types of liquor permits, Corsello said, speculating that typical restaurants might not come under the ordinance.

Tom Livingston (D-District E) said he thought it needs to be updated but if the existing ordinance is helping SoNo businesses and the Council changed it, the result wouldn’t be popular.

The business that made the phone inquiry was a basically a restaurant brand, with several different brands with “low-end to high-end franchise restaurants,” and had called around to find out that “no one is following” the ordinance, Callahan said.

“The bottom line is, how many people have looked at this ordinance from 1957 and read it that way and just said never mind?  So we have to do something,” Melendez said.

“I don’t want to see people out there violating the law,” Livingston said. “I mean everybody has to understand what the law is. I think we need to understand what the law is, Mike’s point, understand the definitions.”
“I just want to make sure that restaurant permit means what we think it means,” Corsello said.

Beth Siegelbaum (D-District C), who is not a lawyer, said she’d once had to wait to get a drink on a Sunday morning.

“I had gone to brunch one day and was offered an alcoholic beverage but told I had to wait till noon to have it served to me,” she said. “It wasn’t 20 years ago. It could have been five.”

 

 

Celebrating Peru

Politicians joined a select group of Norwalk immigrants Sunday at Heritage Wall for a flag raising ceremony in honor of Peru’s upcoming Independence Day.

Peru’s 1821 declaration of independence from Spain is always celebrated on July 28, the web site Office Holidays states.

Peru actually achieved independence in 1824, following a decisive victory at the Battle of Ayacucho.

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Greenwich) joined Mayor Harry Rilling and State Rep. Bruce Morris (D-140) to mark the occasion Sunday.

“We are sibling countries. We both shook off the dominance of a European empire and we both aspire to a democracy that lifts up the dignity of every individual,” said Himes, who was born in Lima, Peru, to American parents.

Morris offered congratulations on behalf of the General Assembly.

“We know that in this country right now, we have places where people from other countries are afraid to live and enjoy life,” Rilling said. “We want everyone to know that Norwalk is a welcoming, diverse community.”

10 comments

David T McCarthy July 25, 2018 at 10:26 am

Dozens of ordinances which actually impact Norwalkers need changing, and yet they spend their time on the one that doesn’t, because it isn’t enforced, and likely couldn’t be enforced, because of the state enabling statute. This ordinance’s removal didn’t merit more than a parenthetical comment and whatever mandatory process is necessary to remove it. Perhaps Nancy could do a story on how many ordinances were changed in the last three years as compared to the three before that?

Rick July 25, 2018 at 11:28 am

Ganga is making more progress than the city , say what you want at least at the end of the day she didn’t sell and leave like most are doing now. We foot the bill for the city wonder how much money she got from the city as opposed to Spinnaker Rich or GGP?

Yes Ganga is still a problem but at the end of the day we still have Rillling Duff and all those who collect a paycheck and feed the taxpayers false news for job security.

This thing with Washington village at the end of the day is going to cost taxpayers much more than what Ganga did. Norwalk has in most departments less than desirable talent that gets the city by.

Berman is making sense professional searches for professionals is long over due.

Looks like the other media just got shook up they now will focus on areas of crime, civil justice and public responsibility, you have to wonder where will they get their news like the NON . This will be interesting they will have to work for it just like Nancy tough times ahead for the 60 minute news Norwalk has to keep up with the pace of news gathering . No more spoon fed articles clearly they dont work for the city anymore.

Rick July 25, 2018 at 1:30 pm

show me a 50 story building in Norwalk, and by the way other malls like the size of the Sono collection like the one in the Bronx took half as long so whats your point?

Some complexes like the Sono collection have been built well before expected time and planned well after, steel was aa issue and a company from Mass doing work ran into an immigration issue.

Norwalk has the 50 stories from city hall, maybe Jason can do better job if that’s what your eluding too and I agree.

19 days for 57 story’s seems to be the record , there they had no favors to pay like our Norwalks RDA has to at the mall.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/30/chinese-construction-firm-erects-57-storey-skyscraper-in-19-days

makes you wonder if American made happens anymore.

Patrick Cooper July 26, 2018 at 5:00 pm

@Bob Welsh – regarding Donna “S” – maybe it’s been long enough?

I don’t know her personally, nor did I agree with all her positions – but what you could count on was a lucid, typically fact-based argument. She is/was a strong writer. If I was her editor – I would simply say “tone makes the music” as advice.

As one who has probably had a record number of “moderations” and edits – I’m sure there are many who wish you would do the same to me – especially Harry.

NoN is a nice local mosaic – relevant content and articles that shine a light on areas of this city that otherwise remain deeply shaded if not completely in “executive sessions”. A powerful component is the reader contributions of varying points of view that provide dimension and context to the story. Even the fake names, aka Nome de Plumes.

Just an opinion, and a suggestion.

Rusty Guardrail July 29, 2018 at 10:59 pm

Rick, I was comparing the time it is taking to rehabilitate this little building vs the time it would take to execute an actual large job. Norwalk’s inspectors’ apparent negligence precipitated the fire leading to the injuries and secret $$ settlement, and the city government’s incompetence allowed the wretched burned-out ruins to despoil Norwalk’s downtown for a ridiculous number of years.

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