Another failure to protect the city and its citizens

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I am confused and disturbed by the Mayor’s published reaction to the state DOT’s “Finding of No Significant Impact” on the Walk Bridge project.

Last fall, under the direction of the City Corporation Counsel, a major effort was made to prevent such a conclusion from being reached. It involved many city departments testifying at a public hearing, followed by a 109 page report to the DOT Commissioner asking the state transportation officials to study the project further before moving forward with the next step in the review process. At the time, he wrote:

“while the city understands the importance of this project, its significance should not overshadow the magnitude of the temporary and permanent impacts and losses. Given the multi-year construction window and all the projects proposed, the city will bear the burden of the impacts disproportionately. More work needs to be done and answers provided during this EA/EIE stage before that could reasonably be a basis to render a Finding of No Significant Impact.”

The purpose of the report was to prevent the DOT from issuing a “Finding of No Significant Impact.” Yet when the state issued that Finding last week, Mayor Rilling was quoted as brushing it off by saying:

“This determination is only the first phase of the Walk Bridge replacement project. While the FTA uses the term ‘Finding of No Significant Impact’ to describe the end of the first phase, the finding does not mean that Norwalk will not be impacted by the project — it is a term that means that working together there are things that can be done to mitigate the short and long term effects of the project.”

So which is it???

Is it something worthy of a 109 page report compiled by our city departments over several weeks through intensive work OR just a meaningless step in the project timetable???

I believe that the Corporation Counsel was correct last fall in being deeply concerned that a “Finding of No Significant Impact” would weaken the city’s position in the future. The Mayor’s brushing it off in his comments afterwards is just another indication of a failure to protect the City and its citizens.

Dave Davidson



2 responses to “Another failure to protect the city and its citizens”

  1. Rick

    Thank you Dave valid reasons deserve thought.

    Many city departments testifying at a public hearing, who will receive overtime and compensation on any project has always been an oversight in any plans the city takes on. No will shoot themselves in the foot will they?

    Taxpayers have seen the city counsel at work most of us are not impressed in fact a lot of us have no confidence in the Norwalks ability to think things thru and defend itself.

    This isn’t a blanket statement saying no one knows what they are doing at city hall but the casting of doubts over most issues are leaving us wondering when will the political atmosphere change for those who cannot think things thru.

  2. Adolph Neaderland

    David brings up an important issue, who is looking out for the city’s best interest?

    Our various commissions should be shouldering that task, but consider:

    1: approval of an oversized Mosque with inadequate parking in a residential neiborhood.
    2: approval of a multi story residential building with inadequate parking behind the Library, essentially preventing expansion and cutting off parking, in direct violation of the 2008 PODC.
    3: approval of a nonconforming use on Quintard Street, over local objection.
    4: approval of a multi story residential complex, Head of the Harbor, with inadequate parking, leading to current negotiations for a “give-away” nearby parking garage.
    5: approval by way of a special permit, for a “big box store” on Main Avenue, in violation of the 2008 POCD and opposition from the local community.

    All of the above will end up in litigation, costing the city thousands.

    In addition:

    Approved, on a variance, moving the Penna commercial operation into a AAA area, even though Penna had prior approval to move into a commercial area.

    Our commissions also approved over 3000 (with more coming) hi-rise residential/multi use projects built to the very lowest State codes, far below Leeds GOLD, all without water conservation requirements.

    And, have acquiesced (mostly below the stakeholders radar) to developer demands for changes, (The Mall, Glover Ave as examples) that may not be in the City’s best interest.

    And have ignored the 2008 POCD to maintain 12 acers of open land per 1000 residents. What with some 3-4000 new residential units approved (6-8000 residents) some 120 acers of open space has disappeared forever.

    Hopefully, a well crafted 2018 POCD can make some amends.

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