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After the Council meeting, Rilling repeated to NancyOnNorwalk that Blank felt it better if his name were withdrawn.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