AMEC will wait, Santo carries on at Norwalk Zoning Commission

Norwalk Zoning Commission Chairman Joe Santo, left; Vice Chairman Adam Blank, right.
Norwalk Zoning Commission Chairman Joe Santo, left; Vice Chairman Adam Blank, right.

NORWALK, Conn. – Joe Santo was re-elected as Norwalk Zoning Commission chairman, waterfront construction in Rowayton was approved with little fanfare and an effort was made to rebut accusations made by a private investigator.

Those were some of the developments at Wednesday’s speedy Zoning Commission meeting, where the only member of the public to speak on a proposal was former Commissioner Mike Mushak, who quipped, “Joe, you thought you were rid of me, didn’t you?”

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Guy Mazzola of AMEC Carting speaks to the Norwalk Zoning Commission Wednesday.

Guy Mazzola of AMEC Carting, who is looking to increase the tonnage of construction and debris allowed to be taken in at the Crescent Street facility, rebutted comments made at last month’s commission hearing, incorporating photos taken by private PI Kane Winn, hired by Sclafani Foods, into a PowerPoint presentation.

Mazzola said dust that Winn reported was leaving the facility was actually the mist that prevents dust from getting out, showing a video that supported the statement. Kane said he had seen the garage doors of the facility open, but Mazzola said that, in 600 minutes of video provided by Kane, the doors had been open for 15 minutes.

“I think that’s a pretty good success rate that we’re up in the 97th percentile of keeping the doors closed,” Mazzola said.

There was no time stamp on Kane’s reported video of trucks going in and out after hours, Mazzola said. Repairs are done after hours, Mazzola said.

“AMEC tractor trailers that only remove material from the facility do occasionally come back late due to traffic or breakdowns,” Mazzola said. “These trailers are on long hauls. If we have a breakdown a few hundred miles away they may come to the site late and that’s an example. Key thing is we do not receive any material after hours, ever.”

A photo showing large trucks in the road did have a time stamp, which Mazzola said indicated that Sclafani had taken it. That was the only evidence Sclafani had gathered in 1½ years to prove the claim of rules being broken, Mazzola said, before going on to explain that was a once-every-five-years replacement of an excavator.

The commission voted to send the request for increased tonnage back to the committee level, and discuss it again next month.

“I think there’s so many moving pieces you’re better off to talk it out in committee,” Assistant Planning and Zoning Director Mike Wrinn said.

Separate proposals for three single-family residences at the corner of Farm Creek Road and Sammis Street drew raucous opposition at last week’s Plan Review Committee meeting, but all was quiet Wednesday.

“I really believe we need to get public hearings for all of these until we get regulations in place for waterfront property,” Commissioner Nora King said, before being the sole vote against the proposed home at 7 Sammis St.  The Farm Creek properties passed unanimously.

A proposal to construct a new seawall on Woodland Avenue was passed unanimously, although last week there was an attempt to hold it up to allow Marcy Balint of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to give final approval.

Balint had said she wanted only existing stones to be used on the seawall. Santo had called that a patch job.

“I have been in contact with Marcy,” Santo said. “… I am glad she came around a little bit allowing some new rocks to go in, make it safer for the shoreline and better for the property owner.”

Mushak’s comments were in support of Maritime Village (see separate story). The former commissioner also received a plaque in honor of his six years on the commission.

“This commission is only as effective as the commissioners want to make it,” Mushak said in response, taking a bow.

There was a move to make Adam Blank chairman, but it died quickly as Santo got the votes of four of the seven commissioners present. Linda Kruk, Mike O’Reilly, Jill Jacobsen and Santo, voted for Santo without any discussion. Blank was made vice chairman, replacing the absent Emily Wilson.

Kruk was elected secretary, although she professed reluctance.


4 responses to “AMEC will wait, Santo carries on at Norwalk Zoning Commission”

  1. Lisa Thomson

    I hope Mr. Santos has a change of heart and spends the remainder of his term working closely with reform Commissioner Adam Blank to clean up the P&Z processes and regulations and move the city forward. Btw Nancy…what was the vote and who voted for Mr. Blank as Vice Chairman? I’d like to know who my ‘reform’ commissioners are 🙂

  2. Yankee Clipper

    Is Jill Jacobsen a Republican or Democrat? I thought she was a registered Democrat but she always votes with the Republicans? Nancy, could you ask her?

  3. Taxpayer Fatigue

    Ugh! Another year of bad leadership and poor decisions from Joe “Big Box” Santo. The city needs to find a way to get rid of this guy. At the very least they should send him a $2m bill for bungling the Mosque case. Jacobsen is a democrat in name only. Rilling should take a lesson from Moccia and get some dems to change their affiliation to “R” and stack the commission with his appointees.

  4. What?

    I agree with Yankee Clipper and Taxpayer Fatigue. Jacobsen is registered as a Democrat but has never voted with them. Was this Moccia’s dirty political trick to put her on, to pretend the D’s had a majority? She blocked the D’s from taking over the Commission last night, as they had every right to do with a so-called Democratic majority. Jacobsen thinks Santo is a better chair than Blank? Really? This needs to be investigated by higher authorities at the state level, as it blows up the official process put in place to ensure periodic turnover on municipal boards and commissions under different administrations. The GOP has no moral or ethical right to use a phony Dem to keep control of the Zoning Commission under a Democratic Mayor. Shame on Jill Jacobsen for playing this corrupt game. She should change her affiliation to R or U and stop this corrupt game of dirty politics, or resign.

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