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Opinion: Facts of development show many positives for Norwalk

The new sidewalk along Mill Hill, installed by the City of Norwalk in connection with the Head of the Harbor South waterfront development, left.  Norwalk’s tax revenue from the property increased by $289,000 after the development, Alan Webber said.

Michael DiScala, President and Chief Executive Officer of Norwalk developer M.F. DiScala & Company, submitted the below text to NancyOnNorwalk and described it as “our company’s vision” regarding the past, present, and future of Wall Street development.  “Unfortunately we were not allowed to speak at the recent Coalition of Norwalk Neighborhood Associations (CNNA) meeting on September 24, 2018,” DiScala wrote.  A CNNA Executive Board member speaking not for attribution on Friday afternoon said the request to speak was made “minutes before the event began,” and a DiScala representative would have been welcomed on the panel with more advance notice. 

 

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Hello, my name is Alan Webber, Chief Financial Officer of M.F. DiScala & Company.  I’m here tonight on behalf of our company, as well as our development partners EDG Properties, to voice our position regarding the current and future development of the Wall Street area.

First, let me provide a brief history of our company as it pertains to the Wall Street area.  M.F. DiScala & Company has always been committed to the growth and redevelopment of the Wall Street area, starting back in 1963 when we first purchased the Trolley Barn and continuing through 1986 when we were asked by the Redevelopment Agency to renovate the Trolley Barn as the anchor of redevelopment for the Wall Street area.  We were pleased that the redevelopment of the Trolley Barn preserved the integrity and historic nature of the property while resulting in a first class building containing offices (which we occupied up until earlier this year when we moved into Head of the Harbor South), apartments, and a restaurant.

The building has been a success since the day we redeveloped it and provided an impetus and hope for Wall Street to follow. Unfortunately the City of Norwalk did not follow through with the redevelopment of the Wall Street area, but instead focused all of their resources and finances to revitalize South Norwalk.  For two decades Wall Street essentially sat idle, further deteriorated and became the least desirable census tract in Norwalk.  More and more stores became vacant and blight became rampant.  But the Trolley Barn, along with a few other properties, were able to thrive because of dedicated owners that believed in the area.

The City of Norwalk, through the offices of Mayor Alex Knopp and the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency, finally introduced a new focus and designated several redevelopment zones.  These zones were within the West Avenue/Wall Street area and the Reed-Putnam area. Although it has taken much energy and fortitude, the zones have resulted in several distinct redevelopment projects; the Waypointe project on West Avenue, the SoNo Collection at Reed-Putnam, Wall Street Place on Wall Street and Head of the Harbor North and South also at Wall Street.

After a thorough and expensive process, M.F. DiScala was fortunate to be chosen as the designated developer for Head of the Harbor North and South.  We looked forward to real energy, collaboration and change for the Wall Street area.

Unfortunately, it took 12 pain-staking years to finally obtain permits and build the recently completed Head of the Harbor South project.  The project, though, has been a great success from a redevelopment point of view and we hope you all have come down and enjoyed the public access to the new piazza, waterfront and amenities.   It is a beautiful building and has helped immensely to revitalize the east end of Wall Street.  As an example, the LeDuc building on the corner of Smith Street and Wall Street was vacant for many, many years with little prospect of attracting tenants.  It is now leased to some excellent tenants – Troupe 429, Yoga203, and Soto Art Gallery.  Along with Peaches and Fat Cat, this has brightened a once essentially vacant intersection.  We believe that Head Of The Harbor South has significantly contributed to the reactivation of life at that end of Wall Street.  The few existing businesses, all previously essentially operating as destination businesses, have also benefited from having new residents able to walk in and frequent their businesses. This is what redevelopment is all about.  Bringing people back to the City at no cost to the citizens.

There has been discussion and debate in the local media about real estate tax incentives being used to incentivize developers and that this negatively impacts the residents of Norwalk.  Every redevelopment or new development project in Norwalk has a financial benefit to the City, whether it be immediate or over time.   For example, the City has significantly benefited from the development of the Head of the Harbor South project we recently completed.  The real estate taxes that we paid prior to the development of the project were $16,000 per year.  Our new real estate taxes are currently $305,000 per year.  The City is on the receiving end of an additional $289,000 per year.  The next question commonly thrown out there is, what does a project like this cost the City in terms of additional services it may need to provide?  The answer to that question is, next to nothing.

  • Trash is private and paid for by the developer.
  • Snow plowing and maintenance of Smith Street is private and paid for by the developer.  This includes cleaning, sweeping, striping and all upkeep.
  • Lighting of Smith Street and all repair and replacement provided by the developer.
  • In support of Historical Mill Hill, Head of the Harbor South built the stairway connecting the site to the new public spaces and amenities Head of the Harbor constructed on our property.
  • Additional parking for Mill Hill was provided on our land and Head of the Harbor paid to construct and keep available 15 parking spaces for the use of Mill Hill.
  • There are many that claim new multifamily construction burdens the schools and this is patently false.  The overwhelming majority of the rental demographic of these projects are people without children.  At Head of the Harbor South we have two school-aged children out of 60 apartments and one of those children was already enrolled in the Norwalk school system prior to relocating to Head of the Harbor.

Consequently, we have provided almost 100% of our $289,000 tax increase as a net positive to the City.  This net increase helps reduce the tax burden on residential homes and the residents of Norwalk.  Furthermore, we have provided public amenities such as a 400-foot landscaped park-like boardwalk along the riverfront, a large piazza connecting to the waterfront, benches, a large gazebo and reflective spaces–and all are deeded public open access spaces for all residents of Norwalk to enjoy.

We are committed to the continued growth of the Wall Street area through smart development that will ensure that a lively and walkable urban area will result.  To make that happen, you need people living in the area and supporting a healthy business community.  We support the railroad station, but recognize the need for more density to make that a successful endeavor.

We support the successful completion of Wall Street Place and support all projects that create more people sensibly living in the Wall Street area.  This will lead to all of the empty storefronts being occupied by businesses that can thrive.  This will lead to revitalization of the Wall Street urban core.   The past has proven over and over again that in order for Wall Street to become the vibrant place we all want it to be, people are required.

It has been stated by stakeholders, the media and some concerned residents of Norwalk that there is a perception of inadequate parking in the Wall Street area.  As longtime occupants of office space on Wall Street, we have observed firsthand the under-utilization of the existing lots and garages in the Wall Street area and encourage a more robust dialogue regarding the needs, present and future, of parking in the area.   We believe the actual versus potential utilization of the assets in place are largely misconceived.

We are not in favor of politicizing anyone’s efforts to help the Wall Street area or advancing anyone’s personal agenda.  We believe in frankly dealing with only the facts of the past and current situation of the Wall Street area to create a vibrant area for everyone.

We are committed to cleaning up of the head of Norwalk River in conjunction with the Norwalk Boat Club.  We will soon be detailing our thoughts on how that can be achieved and would appreciate the support of the CNNA.

Lastly, we are a proud contributing stakeholder, neighbor and business resident of the Wall Street area and the City of Norwalk.  We plan to continue that support for years to come through our investment in the community, businesses and people of Norwalk. If you have any questions about our intentions or our plans, please feel free to reach out to us.  You can contact Michael DiScala at 203-854-5046, [email protected] or through our webpage at www.discala.com.  Thank you.

 

 

37 comments

Dave McCarthy September 29, 2018 at 6:46 am

I wonder why he finds it necessary to repeat the Rilling Campaign lie that it took 12 years to get permits? Nancy, please investigate. There are time limits, after which a permit is automatically approved…I believe it’s like 60days. At the time, I recall HOTH was approved/issued in 47 days.

Piberman September 29, 2018 at 8:37 am

Stagnant Grand List for nearly a decade, falling property values, exodus of long time homeownes, shabbiest Downtown in Fairfield County, and continued reluctance of major employers to set up business reflect the consequences of electing City officials lacking business experience and basic skills. Norwalk continue to have the smallest proportional business sector of any major City in CT. Just 5% of our Grand List reflects private business; another 5% reflects public utilities.

Hiring an Economic Director w/o major City experience from tiny Newtown reflects how City Hall thinks about encouraging business development in Norwalk. Cities across America successfully increase their business sectors offering good jobs to City inhabitants. Norwalk’s leadership precludes that result. As is evident to anyone traveling through our shabby Downtown.

Jason E. September 29, 2018 at 9:41 am

The 12 years referred to is for the entire entitlement process. Not just “pulling permits”. Pulling actual permits is the simplest/easiest part of a development project in Norwalk. It is getting to that point (the entitlement process) that breaks many a back.

Debora Goldstein September 29, 2018 at 10:41 am

Yeah, a project can take a while if you need a zone change, a special permit and a street abandonment. Most of those improvements were negotiated in return for getting a portion of Smith Street for $1. It IS ONLY FAIR that you clear the snow, maintain the lights on a street you own after all.

https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/2014/12/head-of-the-harbor-plan-includes-public-plaza/

https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/2014/08/long-awaited-norwalk-head-of-the-harbor-development-moving-forward-redevelopment-chief-says/

Patrick Cooper September 29, 2018 at 11:34 am

@Michael DiScala & Alan Webber – such a gift. What a pure example of a symbiotic business relationship between our “Friends of the Mayor” City Hall and a campaign contributing insider developer. Surely your take is straight down the middle, no?

How about this? IF we are playing transparency nice, why not list every Norwalk parcel and building owned by your company, and show valuation, assessment, taxes paid, and any/all tax credit or abatements (and for how many years).

It might also be nice to see the details of any recent sales/transactions – what the building/parcel sold for versus what the city assessed as the value?

Then let the public decide if these “positives” you decree accrue to Norwalk – or simply to you. I’m guessing all we’ll get is the sound of crickets. But let’s see how committed to the “truth” you are?

Sid Welker September 29, 2018 at 11:56 am

Here you go again. @Debra, your a smart woman. Can I assume that? Just like you assume that the developer received Smith St for $1. Now go to City Hall and do your research and you will see that the developer paid over $600,000 for Smith St. Its common and public knowledge. That rumour was brought up by a known pot stirrer and quickly put to rest once the facts were shown. I’m not good with copy and paste but Nancy had an article awhile back that I remember in the comment section the link showed the purchase agreement.

Jason E. September 29, 2018 at 12:38 pm

Ms. Goldstein It was actually $660,000, not $600,000. And the amount that we paid was based on an appraisal done for the City. That it is a lot more than zero Debora. And there was no zone change and a “special permit” is merely a site plan review that is required in many different zones when a project is mixed use.

So, we paid for land, gave it back to the City, maintain it, built and deeded 15 parking spaces for the City, built the stairs and permanently deeded public access to 15,000 Sq ft of public park/amenities that we built for the City. And by the way, we pay taxes on all of it. Not exactly sure where your grudge lies, but a factually based grudge would at least lead to better/fair exchanges on an important topic.

Troupe429 September 29, 2018 at 1:17 pm

We stated this publicly at last week’s CNNA Meeting at the Wall Street Theater and would like to reiterate.

M.F. DiScala & Co. did not bring Troupe429 to Wall Street, nor can they take the credit for filling our building with tenants. Troupe429 attracts LGBTQ+ people (& our straight allies) from all over CT and the Northeast. Our monthly LBTQ+ women’s night, which is the largest in the state, attracts people from MA, RI, NJ, NY, & CT regularly. We took a risk on a long vacant building and the development of Head of the Harbor South in no way influenced our decision. Troupe429 saw value in Wall Street. We saw value in Norwalk! We polished the facade of our building and crafted our interior to maximize the bones that existed in our beautiful historic building. Several months after Troupe429 signed a lease in May 2017, we welcomed two new neighbors in our building: Yoga203 and Rene Soto Gallery. It is simply untrue to think Head of the Harbor South was the reason 1-5 Wall Street is now fully occupied.

Furthermore, Wall Street and its current businesses need adequate parking to survive and prosper. This includes keeping the Wall Street Parking Lot, which provides 95 spots for patrons of Wall Street. Our Change.org online petition currently has 1,800+ signatures and we implore all who want to help preserve the historic downtown Wall Street to sign it: http://www.downtownnorwalk.com

Rick September 29, 2018 at 1:53 pm

Great article Nancy , I agree with the comments but there is so much more not talked about. If you focus on what was said by Michael DiScala, President and Chief Executive Officer of Norwalk developer and Alan it does fit in with plans.

I’m not hearing the unwritten.

The mall impact sits with Stantec great friends of the new Mall owners.They both grew up in Canada together and have close ties. Who else knows Norwalk like Stantec?

enrolled in the Norwalk school system? I keep asking why when this comes up we don’t consider outside of Norwalk we had four that went out of town for 4 years of high school there are options if anything has changed like they did for others they ended up back in Norwalk.

We have five bus pick ups at the end of our street two are from out of town schools.

This new bridge we have coming , does it feed water rights up the river, as it is navigation says the river has a ferry turnaround that’s a big ship along with Duff years ago reporting barge traffic would take trucks off of 95 and the streets of Norwalk. Look at existing moorings along the river its not adding up to just small craft.

next to nothing means there is still something there.

multifamily construction burdens the city deflecting was noted , numbers have not changed for personnel since the city has almost doubled since John Cashin left.

would have been welcomed on the panel with more advance notice, the way one of our mayors has bushwhacked in the past is a surprise guest so this was in the best interest of those attending .

Dealing with only the facts is needed with a new slate, a new mayor would give back the trust to city hall needs to right this ship. The city is run by a legal team that no one has any use for. Long after they are gone will new deals surface and one knows they are in the shadows right now.

$289,000 tax increase as a net positive to the City that is what the city is probably paying just for the sewage treatment plant new outside annex with frat tanks, what is a frat tank? at least a half dozen tanks have been set up for months.

This is not a developer issue its a city secret no one wants to talk about along with a major lawsuit the city lost involving the treatment plant pumps.

Parking has a whole bunch of issues, they ticket they tow they seem to be the problem. Laz came to Norwalk to make money , the parking authority is still out of control .

Debora Goldstein September 29, 2018 at 2:15 pm

In general, I have always held HOTH up as an example of good development. I did not oppose the Smith Street abandonment, because the project seemed well-conceived.

I have repeated what a reporter in good faith reported at the time, and provided the links to the articles. I note that another news report from the time says the following:

Albert G. Vasko, the attorney representing M.F. DiScala & Co., said the only portion of Smith Street that would be abandoned is that portion fronting the M.F. DiScala property on the west side of Smith Street.

He said M.F. DiScala & Co. will provide approximately $600,000 of public improvements as part of the project.

It also says:

In August, M.F. DiScala & Co. President Michael F. DiScala and Mayor Harry W. Rilling signed an agreement, as approved by the council earlier that month, setting forth the terms for the city to transfer upper Smith Street to the developer.

Providing $600,000 (or $660,000) worth of improvements is not the same as writing a check for $600,000. I note again, the improvements above were the ones reported to be the consideration for the abandonment at the time.

So, which is the fact of the transaction? Did you pay $600k for Upper Smith Street AND do the negotiated $600k of improvements on top of that, then return ownership of the Street to the City as was reported at the time?

OR Did you provide $600k worth of improvements in exchange for the Upper Smith Street land, and then provide permanent public easements on it, retaining ownership which requires property taxation?

Oddly enough, all of the council agendas and minutes from the relevant portion of 2015 are missing from the city website, which makes it difficult for me to discern the “facts” of the transaction from the agreement.

I did find the appraisal: http://www.norwalkct.org/DocumentCenter/View/5671/6-Smith-Street—7-02-12?bidId=

I have no grudge, but will point out that you do have an interest in publicly portraying developers as being beneficial to the City, as you still have another HOTH project on the drawing board and have publicly supported the innovation district incentives, as quoted below in another news source:

Similarly, M.F. DiScala hopes to build 80 more apartments in the area of the Main/High Street Lot as part of Head of the Harbor North. Both areas lie within the boundaries of the proposed incentive district.

Company President Michael DiScala is hopeful the council will approve the innovation district.

“That’s important,” DiScala said. “Without that we don’t build. Today, these transactions are very tight, very difficult. With interest rates rising, it has to be a public-private partnership to build, smart money will only go where it’s wanted.”

Tysen Canevari September 29, 2018 at 2:34 pm

I dont understand the people in this town that constantly bitch about everything. The work MF Discala has done is beautiful. So what if they profit from it. Good for them. We should be begging them to continue right up the street. My wife and I recently ate in Peaches restaurant and it was enlightening to see the art gallery full and the other establishments busy as well. Norwalk is a great town where generations of my family have lived. Keep up the good work at MF Discala.

Sid Welker September 29, 2018 at 3:35 pm

@Rick, I don’t follow as usual.
@Troupe429 your lack of parking arguement is utterly insane. Like most people or businesses in the area who will make that claim I will never agree with it until Yankee Doodle garage is more than 1 level full. Especially your place were it’s a unique destination business. If people drive from the places different states they they shouldn’t mind walking 100 yards. 20 years ago when I worked in the city a parking garage that close to my job was a blessing.

Sid Welker September 29, 2018 at 3:54 pm

@troupe429 my apologies if the truth hurts and a mature reply isn’t in your vocabulary. If you enjoy Jackie’s Kool-Aid of misconceptions then chug away and be a sheep.

Jason E. September 29, 2018 at 7:53 pm

Patrick Cooper- We have no tax incentive deals on any of our properties in Norwalk and never have. Further, all of the information you request is available to the public and online. We pay millions of dollars in real estate taxes in Norwalk without the benefit of any tax incentives. Further, we do not sell properties as we are a family business that believes in holding the development projects we create for the long term. So, we are not sure what you are insinuating or seeking to expose?? We have no skeletons in our closet and contrary to your belief, we operate in the City of Norwalk as regular business operatives with zero preferential consideration. We look for opportunities to create value and contribute to the greater good of Norwalk. You on the other hand seem to operate with a considerable amount of subterfuge and false innuendo. We are one of the most transparent businesses in Norwalk. Go on our website and every property we own is listed along with a description of what we have accomplished or seek to accomplish. In todays circus of constant falsehoods in the media and in politics, I challenge you to back up your salacious statements with some factual evidence. If you can do so (which is highly doubtful) then we can have a meaningful dialogue on important issues rather than your “Fake news” provocations.

Jason E. September 29, 2018 at 8:11 pm

Debora- We actually wrote a check to the City for $660,000 and I would like to take the opportunity to explain the entirety of the Option Agreement between the City and Head Of The Harbor South LLC. You seem smart, involved and analytical. I will follow this up tomorrow (when I will have the appropriate time) with a transparent outline of the Head Of The Harbor South agreement with the City. I believe that you will find the truthful facts/outline of the agreement to be helpful, surprising, informative and ultimately a set of facts that changes your perception of how the City has done business. The current perception is one that has been provided by a number of commenters to this website “comments section” on articles and often are salacious, false, out of context or self serving in their ambiguity.

Lisa Brinton Thomson September 30, 2018 at 6:54 am

Jason E.,

MF DiScala HAS built smaller and more aesthetically tasteful and pleasing to the eye residential apartments, compared to the uninviting ‘fortress’ ones built to the street, that effectively ‘wall’ themselves off from the downtown area.

If you received no tax credits – then your property represents the polar opposite of the Tyvek Temple, standing abandoned and blighted just a few hundred yards down the street. We know it was/is riddled with ridiculous tax credits and an unrealistic percentage of affordable housing. It’s fate is still uncertain.

I’m frustrated, but interested in hearing your story and perspective on the 12 year process with City Hall to get Head of the Harbor South built. Twelve years is a ridiculous amount of time. Can you enlighten?

Patrick Cooper September 30, 2018 at 1:06 pm

@Jason E., you reply on behalf of the authors, and I presume a counselor, by your declamatory writing style. Re-read my post – I’m asking for the numbers, and apparently, I hit a real hot button – because you comprehend “subterfuge and false innuendo”, you deem my queries to be “salacious statements” and the (you can’t come up with anything original?) claim of “Fake news”.

Defend is one thing, but defensive? Hum. I get it – be true to your crew and all. Actually, if it took 12 years a slave to get it done, I’d be angry too.

Fine – you could post the numbers in ten minutes, but since they are public – when I have absolutely nothing but dead time on my hands over the next three months, I’ll do my own research. I’ll be back.

As for the idea that I might believe a local developer with a cushy relationship with Harry might be getting favorable P&Z treatment, yea, that is some wild speculation on my part. Fake News? What world do you live in? From the comments in this article alone, @Lisa Thomson gave you POKO as example, a pitching wedge from your offices. You need more examples? I got more.

Also – the statement “bringing people back to the City at no cost to the citizens?”. Really?

Further, @Deb Goldstein lay’s out your “zone change, a special permit and a street abandonment”. Sorry, the perception here is that sure is some entitlement process.
Also, relative to your pending HOTH project that is nestled nicely within the proposed “Innovation District”, I am so delighted that you are publicly saying on behalf of MF DiScala you won’t accept any city tax credits – bravo. Or is Deb quoting correctly, “without that we don’t build”? No – “IF” what you present is factually accurate (and I will confirm), then you’ll have my apology for inferring that MF DiScala was anything other than Norwalk’s developer white night – a real unicorn among the players.

But please, spare me the defensive. There is a huge number of truly pissed off residential property owners who are fed up with how this city hall regime, and other’s before it, have poorly, haphazardly over-developed this city without a commensurate impact on our grand list. It’s Helen Keller (no offense to Helen) managing the POCD. It’s unplanned and arbitrary. It’s all about the un-even unbalanced mix; all apartments & retail. Curious when MF DiSclala (or for that matter – any big player developer) is going to develop a small business friendly, high-tech office complex or campus, that brings good-paying jobs to this city – not just transients.

I’m an advocate for my family, who by scale has just as much skin in the game as you (and you do live in Norwalk, correct?), and an advocate for the all the quietly pissed-off long-time property taxpaying residents who are fed up with how this unprofessionally managed city does business. Sorry I scratched your cat in the wrong direction, but I’m just asking, for a friend, you know?

Debora Goldstein September 30, 2018 at 1:46 pm

@Jason E,

I stand corrected, and regret relying on news reports for the information. I apologize to Mr. DiScala and his organization.

I only wish you had all been so diligent in correcting the press at the time. I have no interest in a summary. For everyone’s benefit, please post the link to the actual option agreement on the City web site (or give it to Nancy to attach to this article).

FTR, I will say again, that I think that the built HOTH project was done well, and I was at the abandonment public hearing, saw the drawings and had no objection.

Also FTR, I do not rely on salacious “comments” here, or anywhere for my information. Everything I posted came directly from news reports about the project. It has been rare that both press outlets so consistently got the reporting wrong for the entire duration of the projects public approval stage, but I guess it can happen. As I said, the meeting records are missing from the City website, so I spent a fruitless couple of hours trying to find the option agreement myself yesterday, to no avail.

Rick September 30, 2018 at 10:40 pm

The picture of the sidewalk

why would anyone put a light post in the middle of a sidewalk where we get snow?

Shame on that hill a bike lane should be half the sidewalk . Im sorry who ever paid for that was robbed.

Adolph Neaderland October 1, 2018 at 12:12 pm

Apparently “facts” are in the eyes of the beholder”
Newspaper articles are “incorrect”, Developer information probably biased, Observer information probably needs vetting, and opinions of value to the community are quite subjective.
Appears to me that the only unquestioned “fact” is the questionable wisdom of placing (or leaving) a light pole in the center of a new sidewalk!

Norwalk needs an ombudsman.

Sid Welker October 1, 2018 at 7:51 pm

Jimmity Cricket. This developer erects this beautiful building in an area that needs improvement and all people can talk about is a picture taken at an odd angle showing an updated light pole on a sidewalk. I walked on that sidewalk 3 weeks ago and if I recall it meets code. Looks across the street. That poles in the middle of the sidewalk too. Your grasping at straws people. Do you remember what was there? A broken sidewalk with a caved in wall. But lets look at the pole on the sidewalk.

Rick October 1, 2018 at 9:45 pm

This is where I lose you again Sid, for the rest of you Ill type slow.

First is this pole a break away? Does this pole actually adhere to code? Poles on the other side were not put in by the city.

Poles in Sidewalks

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility guidelines (36 CFR, Part 1191) stipulate that public sidewalks, where provided, must contain a continuous passage at least 36 inches wide. For this reason, the placement of poles in sidewalks should be avoided. Where such placement cannot be avoided, the sidewalk may need to be widened around the pole to maintain the required passage. (makes you wonder about the traffic box on west ave in front of Walgreens)

so it passes required passage probably n…e….x….t

Clear Zone imagine a truck with a wide load or boat but that wouldn’t hit the pole right?

The clear zone, or clear recovery area, is provided along highways to allow vehicles veering off the travel lane opportunity for safe recovery or stopping. The clear zone width (always measured from the edge of the travel lane) depends on several factors, including:

whether the surrounding area is rural or urban
the functional classification of the highway
the design speed
average daily traffic (ADT).

The Roadway Design Manual contains a full discussion of the clear zone and provides the minimum and desirable widths for various roadways.

Light poles should be offset at least 2.5 feet from the curb face. All pole offset dimensions shown in this section are measured to the pole centerline.

If got hit can it hit the beautiful building ?

ok so it passes the test now what?

Two Types of Poles

There are two types of poles used for conventional lighting: non-breakaway and breakaway. Non-breakaway poles are rigidly mounted, usually remaining upright when hit by a vehicle. Breakaway poles are designed so that the base will shear easily on impact. The table below briefly explains the advantages and disadvantages of both types when struck by an errant vehicle.

now we move on

Generally, non-breakaway roadway lighting poles may be used on the house side of roadways when placed outside of the clear zone or inside the clear zone when protected from impact.

Non-breakaway poles should be placed as close to the right-of-way line as lighting design and practicality permit. Wherever possible, non-breakaway poles should be placed among other nonyielding structures to minimize the hazard.

If non-breakaway poles are used and are not protected, the poles must be outside the clear zone and as close to the right-of-way line as possible subject to good lighting design practice.

Non-breakaway poles mounted behind metal beam guard fence should be placed at least 2.5 feet behind the guard fence to allow for deflection of the guard fence if hit.

Looking at the bumper it seems someone is anticipating a tractor trailer by the wooden speed bump. The pole could hit the building who would be responsible for the damage? Oh boy its getting good now.

striking Height imagine if a car catches some air after hitting a curb like that.

Tests have shown that breakaway luminaire supports may not operate properly when the vehicle strikes the pole too high above the ground. Breakaway poles should, therefore, not be placed in areas where they are likely to be struck more than 28 inches above the top of the foundation. Limiting the negative side slopes to 1:6 between roadway and luminaire supports should ensure acceptable striking height.

Ok so Im losing on all fronts so its ok the pole is fine what about the cost? Take a ride down Water st by Sono Seafood when one gets snapped its a cone or a milk crate until one can be bought, after the court case charging the driver with a DUI. Then again once hit and yes Wall st has had them hit they back up drive away and its the city who pays,

A wooden pole gets knocked down labor and equipment costs, and it can cost as much as $3,000 to replace a pole that has been knocked down by, say, a storm or a car but the city has no charge.

Those Premier Municipal Quality Street Lights cost about 2500 dollars, installing a new one is around a grand with wiring.

Why in the hell would anyone put a lamp post so close to a road on a curve inviting trouble when you have timber like that to hide a light behind?

I guess its not what one thinks its how one thinks that lends so much to a comment. Im on a roll .

As taxpayer I like the wooden ones not knowing what the globe looks like they are expensive very expensive and making it look nice where money is no object I guess Norwalk has the coin Im sure our urban planning man who enjoys urban street experience will like the light the way it is.

Now that that’s been said adding steel security grates down the road will be a great divider between city and the urban street experience.

I have to admit http://onlinemanuals.txdot.gov/txdotmanuals/hwi/pole_placement_guidelines.htm

was my source and it could be simply wrong for Norwalk and makes sense the way Norwalk did it.

Did you all know the cobblestone in Sono for walkways crossing the street defies The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility guidelines ?

Thanks Nancy and Eric

Mitch Palais October 1, 2018 at 10:01 pm

Mr. Discala

I have a complicated, theoretical question

The economics of your development centers on 2 factors
1- ta ax abatement
2- a portion of the rentals be subsidized or work fare

If there Was no tax abatement, and no “affordable” housing component would the project still be economically feasible, what would the revised market value of the development be, and associated real estate tax payment be.

If you don’t reply. I understand, but will assume that’s because my assumption that the affordable housing component and associated tax abatement are why we have increasing population, lots of development but no real increase in the grand list

Jason Milligan October 2, 2018 at 11:14 am

Mitch you are on target. The government is distorting the market.

On top of the tax credits in exchange for below market rents there is thousands and thousands of wasted dollars in unnecessary process and compliance. The rules surrounding the work force housing are arcane. Most owners hire a 3rd party consultant with government connections to ensure work force compliance. Nobody is really compliant, but the connected consultant gets you leeway.

Mitch Palais October 2, 2018 at 8:33 pm

@Jason

Its more than a distortion.of the market

Norwalk is in compliance with state regs for affordable housing. There is no need to mandate an affordable component in any new projects for several years

The affordable mandate reduces the value of a mid sized residential project by almost 50%. It shifts the tax burden from renters to single family homeowners via a negotiated tax abatement. The intent of the abatement is to make affordable housing economically feasible -FOR THE DEVELOPER – at the expense of all other tax payers.

The affordable mandate is a montra of the progressive Democratic Party that believes in redistribution of wealth. The problem is- the wealth is leaving ct
I think every politician should read Adam Smith’s work.

Rick October 2, 2018 at 11:17 pm

so tell me whats safer when the roads are iced or better yet bike lanes now take half of sidewalks in real cities what was there was so bad?

Of course you want something new but to defy what was safe and considering the accidents in the past Id take the old design over the new in modern day construction.

Kids on bikes were at least safe with the way it was.

funny when one asks what it look like before with today’s fancy high tech ways I can show you what it looked like .

Im not hear to defy logic just drive home a point did we get our moneys worth?

https://www.google.com/maps/place/10+Wall+Street,+Norwalk,+CT+06850/@41.1183899,-73.4105678,3a,45.9y,179.76h,78.69t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sq4JQAJmtTfm8VmqTSNDexQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!4m5!3m4!1s0x89e81dd6971197cd:0x504bcacebc48e4cb!8m2!3d41.118948!4d-73.41121

Rick October 3, 2018 at 12:41 am

May I add now a car can go off the road and slide down the wooden bumper head on into the stone wall creating almost certain death.

Im sorry sid and mike yes Mike I place the value on a life over M.F. DiScala & Company and Id be the first to point out to any lawyer the city and DiScala negligence.

By the way Ive seen cars take that path more than once with the old guardrail.

Im also an old Jake who has used the jaws to recover bodies after a mva like what I describe. I knew why the old guardrail was put there. But like most old Jakes its somewhat comical , you have to find some humor to keep sane after you have recovered someones remains after a Chaplin gives the last rights.

I know rest my case.

Did I lose anyone?

Sid Welker October 3, 2018 at 2:25 pm

Rick
Yes, Lost, very lost. I understand the rules and regulations aspect but your analogies and references are for the birds. Your line that kids were safe the way it was? Boy o’ boy I wish someone had pictures of what use to be there. Can anyone lend a hand with a link to some photo’s of what that sidewalk use to look like? Anyone? Everything Discala did was approved by the city per plans. So blaming Discala is basically blaming the city. A builder cant do a thing without plans. If you don’t like the light post take it up with the city.

Rick October 3, 2018 at 7:13 pm

They say if you click your ruby heels wishes are granted, they say if you rub a Jeannie bottle you get three wishes the say if you save the wishbone you get one wish also if your lucky.

Myself Id choose the link above that I provided for the picture your seeking.

If your bored you can drive all around the city on the link i posted pretend its a magic carpet ride a lot has changed since 1968.

Sid Welker October 3, 2018 at 11:35 pm

Mitch, I don’t recall seeing Discala on here but at the end of the opinion there is an email address if your looking for answers.

Rick October 4, 2018 at 12:23 am

Its ok Mitch he is reading this wondering what a set of tail lights will look like sticking out one of his windows

The reflectors are priceless on the wood, a bulls eye on the building would be better.

Designed by Disney approved by Evil Knievel .

Jason E. October 7, 2018 at 11:46 am

Mitch-

As has already been stated in the comments, there are no (none, zero, nada, etc) tax abatements (Or tax incentives, or any other form of tax consideration) on the Head Of The Harbor South project. And there are 6 (10 percent, as required by the Norwalk Zoning Regulations) affordable apartments which are deed restricted that way forever and the rents for those apartments are set by the State annually.

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