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Blank withdrawn from Norwalk Redevelopment nomination

Zoning Commission Chairman Adam Blank. (File photo)

NORWALK, Conn. – Adam Blank was not appointed to the Redevelopment Agency on Tuesday.

Mayor Harry Rilling announced at Tuesday’s Common Council meeting that he was tabling the appointment of the former Zoning Commission chairman to Redevelopment, after a conversation with him that afternoon.

“After consultation with Mr. Blank, he has asked that I withdraw his name, or table the nomination,” Rilling said during the Council meeting.

The Norwalk Association of Silvermine Homeowners (NASH) opposed Blank’s nomination, NASH President Heather Dunn said Monday.

“It was suggested to me that the Silvermine neighborhood association was opposed to my appointment because they didn’t perceive me as being as strongly opposed to BJs as I should have been and that this might put the Council in an awkward position. Therefore, I withdrew my name from consideration,” Blank said in a Tuesday evening email.

Dunn declined to comment.

NASH fought the application to put a BJ”s Wholesale Club on Main Avenue, but a big box development was recently approved for the site. Blank unsuccessfully tried last year to get the Main Avenue Zoning changed to prohibit a big box store.

After the Council meeting, Rilling repeated to NancyOnNorwalk that Blank felt it better if his name were withdrawn.

“I’d like him to have an opportunity to meet with the Norwalk Association of Silvermine Homeowners because obviously, they have concerns,” Rilling said. “Whenever, I see that there’s a concern, and it’s expressed to me, I weigh it. I think in terms of, ‘OK, you know, I’d like to be able to clarify those concerns before moving forward.’”

Dunn had said NASH would be sending people to the Council meeting to speak against Blank.

Diane Lauricella was the only person who spoke about Blank.

“I have witnessed for many months and years his performance on the Zoning Commission. I do feel that he was appointed at a time when it was not easy. I am very happy for some of the initiatives that he began,” Lauricella said.

While she appreciates anyone’s work as a volunteer, BJ’s Wholesale Club is a cautionary tale, she said.

“For four years there was an opportunity, even with some… Moccia holdovers to change the zone,” Lauricella said. “The thing is when you are in leadership position, you pivot, you move around, if you come up to problems.”

“I expect that after his confirmation that he will make sure that he handles his duties in a transparent way, and he does his due diligence, and he recuses himself when his law firm has a conflict of interest because they do real estate law,” Lauricella said. “Really important now with the TOD (Transit Oriented District) coming up. I am not sure he is ready for this.”

Blank would have replaced Redevelopment Agency Commissioner Lori Torrano, whose term has expired.

RDA allows a Commissioner to continue serving until they are replaced, Chairman Felix Serrano said Wednesday. Although Torrano was absent for Wednesday’s meeting, she is still actively engaged in the Agency, he said.

Comments

10 responses to “Blank withdrawn from Norwalk Redevelopment nomination”

  1. Sue Haynie

    That’s unfortunate development for Norwalk at large.

  2. Nora K King

    What a loss for the City of Norwalk! Adam would have been a great appointment to the Redevelopment Agency. Adam put forward some great policy and regulation suggestions and unfortunately some of the other folks on the zoning board just didn’t accept them or help him move them forward. I also totally disagree with Diane about Adam being ready. There is nobody more ready to help transition the TOD plan into a realty than Adam Blank.

  3. Bruce Kimmel

    I would have definitely supported Adam Blank for Redevelopment. He did a first-rate job on the Zoning Commission and on the Zoning Task Force, considering the composition of the Commission during much of his tenure.

    I am certain he would have had the support of a majority of the Council.

  4. jlightfield

    Adam Blank was an exceptional zoning commissioner during my time on zoning, and a great chair of the commissions since. I hope he reconsiders his appointment to the Redevelopment Commission.

  5. diane c2

    Why did Mr. Blank resign from Zoning Commission prior to the end of his term?

    1. I asked him that in November. “I’ve had a long run, it’s time to give someone else the opportunity,” he said.
      Blank said he thought he’d served eight years on the Commission, over a nine-year period, as there was a gap.

    2. In August, 2014, Adam Blank said, “I have told the mayor that I will serve on the Zoning Commission so long as I believe that my service is assisting the commission in updating some of the key regulations. Once that is accomplished, or, if that effort stalls, I’ve told the mayor that I will step-down from the commission. My hope is that over the next two years the regulations can be updated and I will step-down.”
      https://nancyonnorwalk.com/2014/08/blank-ill-help-change-norwalk-zoning-regs-or-move-on/

  6. NonPartisan

    where does mr blank stand in subsidized and work fair housing. What’s his thoughts on density ?

  7. Mike Mushak

    I know Adam Blank well after serving with him for many years on Zoning, and not only is he a dedicated volunteer of the highest integrity, character, and intellect, but he has always had the best interest of the city and of its neighborhoods including Silvermine as the top priority in his decision-making at all times.

    I hope the city will not lose an awesome young talent who always has done the work of 2 or 3 commissioners combined, who would be a great addition to the Redevelopment Agency who could always use help like that in their huge responsibilities.

    I am also surprised by this unfair stance by NASH, an organization that has done so much good for Silvermine and it’s residents over the years. If their current leadership feels the need to blame someone after the recent Main Ave decision, they need only check the record to find the blame lies in a single committee vote by someone who is no longer serving on zoning.

    Adam Blank clearly is not the person to blame for the recent Main Ave decision. In fact, I think NASH might want to consider a public apology to help clear Adam’s reputation, and just as importantly to preserve the integrity of their own organization that has always acted on a much higher level than this kind of ugly personal attack on a dedicated volunteer. It think it diminishes their otherwise good work.

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