Greene: Norwalk development in ‘unprecedented’ spike

NORWALK, Conn. – Development is soaring in Norwalk, Planning and Zoning Director Mike Greene said Thursday.

“We are at a permit level that is unprecedented in the city of Norwalk. This month, the month of October, we issued more permits than in the 23-year history of keeping track of permits for any month,” Greene said. 

There were 175 permits issued in October, he said. “The highest before that was 172 in May or June of 2005, when the economy was booming,” he said.

Greene had a list of major development projects that he made in September: Zoning update

He said the development right now is “amazing,” using that as validation for the 2008 Plan of Conservation and Development, and the ensuing capital money spent to improve Norwalk and spur development.

“Based on this plan, based on what the Planning and Zoning Commissions have looked at, and the Common Council has approved for capital budget improvement to create an environment for development, as I said, development is at an unprecedented level in this city,” Greene said.

In justifying the handling of the master plan – using it as a suggestion rather than a direction – Greene pointed out there is diversity in Norwalk. He listed three small businesses: a Major League Baseball bat manufacturer, a canine daycare and the Fairfield County Makers’ Guild.

“Who in God’s name would have thought of those three uses?” he said. “Those are great uses and we found places for them. They are not mentioned in the master plan nor would they be because times are constantly changing.”

Correction, Nov. 28: Permits were not mentioned in context of POCD.


5 responses to “Greene: Norwalk development in ‘unprecedented’ spike”

  1. Mike Mushak

    Individual or unusual uses of properties by the specific entities that Mr. Greene lists are not a normal function of the Master Plan. It is confusing as to why he would connect the Master Plan to them.

    The goal of professional planning is to create healthy communities-physical, economic, and social-that enrich people’s lives by offering better choices for where and how people work and live.

    Mr. Greene did not address my question to him in the meeting. Do we have ANY professional AICP (American Institute of Certified Planners) staff in the PLANNING and Zoning Department? The AICP lists none. We need to confirm this, and if true, we need an explanation of how a growing city of 85,000 people has no planners on staff.

  2. EastNorwalkChick

    All three businesses are in already established buildings and business zones, Mike M. is right, why is he connecting this to the Master Plan? Is he trying to score points? See I’m doing my job, aren’t I great! Woo hoo!

  3. Sara Sikes

    This is an odd story. “He said the development right now is ‘amazing.’ An increase of 3 permits is amazing in what way and for whom?

  4. Mike Mushak

    Sara, to be clear, Greene listed 175 permits issued in October, a record, compared to 172 in “May or June of 2005.” The 3 unique businesses uses he lists are all great to have but have no connection to the Master Plan or planning process. That was just an odd distraction from bigger issues, a common Greene strategy.

    The permit level is good news for the city, but needs to be parsed for its real significance. Last year when Greene made the same claim it was mostly rebuilding projects after Sandy’s massive destruction in our waterfront communities. Raising houses and repairing damage requires permits, and should not be looked at as a sign of overall strength in our city. Our current numbers likely reflect more of that as delayed insurance claims are paid off . Also, how many routine kitchen and bathroom renovations does this include as well? After years of recession, we should expect this anyway, so again, how indicative of Norwalk’s true economic strength is this number?

  5. Nice rules 5,6,8, and 12 this morning in your posts from my count. You are good Mike I have to give you that! Beware of No.7 though it can work against you. Just saying…..

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