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‘Lack of translation’ charge leads to ‘bickering’ on Norwalk Zoning Commission

NORWALK, Conn. – The Planning Commission doesn’t want to meet with the Zoning Commission, Joe Santo said Wednesday. Later, Santo, the Zoning Commission chairman, accused Commissioner Nora King of bickering as she questioned Planning and Zoning Director Mike Greene about what she said was “a lack of translation of what is going on.”

This followed the news that the Planning Commission has unanimously voted to deny the Zoning Commission’s amendment to Coastal Area Management (CAM) regulations to require people who want to build a new house or a significant addition on an existing house, in a CAM zone.

“I think it’s worth noting that the reason the Planning Commission states for their denial is that the special notice privileges are being granted to single family homeowners that are in coastal areas that are not available to single family homeowners in other areas of the city, which is preposterous since this requirement relates to the CAM which is a zone that only applies to the coastal areas,” Zoning Commission Vice Chairman Adam Blank said. “So there couldn’t possibly be notice to areas provided to single family homeowners in areas outside the CAM because they are not subject to CAM. It doesn’t make any sense.”

The recording of the last Planning Commission meeting shows commissioners objecting to the amendment. Greene attempted to clarify for them that the regulation only applied to coastal areas because it’s an amendment to an existing regulation.

“I think we are giving special rights to people who live in the coastal areas because their sensibilities or their sense of aesthetics is offended, but yet we are not extending the same privilege to other landowners in the city,” Commissioner Victor Cavallo said. “So, I don’t understand the discrimination.”

“It means you’re picking on one group,” Santo said. Commissioner Michael O’Reilly agreed. They were the only commissioners to vote against the amendment, which Senior Planner Dori Wilson said had generated “overwhelming” support from the public, with 63 emails sent to P&Z over the weekend and only one of them against the amendment. The amendment needed five votes to pass, because the PC turned it down; the vote was 5-2.

This follows fast on the heels of another disagreement between the commissions. Last month, the Zoning Commission approved a change to the contractor’s yards regulations after the Planning Commission voted unanimously against it. King and former Commissioner Mike Mushak accused Greene of misleading the Planning Commission.

“Who went? What was the conversation? I guess we need to start getting tapes?” King said, to start the ball rolling on the disagreement.

Planning and Zoning Director Mike Greene
Norwalk Planning and Zoning Director Mike Greene.

“I gave them the facts,” Greene said.

Commissioner Nate Sumpter asked whatever happened to his request that the two commissions meet to get on the same page, which he said was at least two years ago. “It was one of those things that has never happened,” he said.

“There is some lack of translation that is taking place,” King said. “… Is how we feel as a Zoning Commission being properly translated? It wasn’t for the contractor yards, so what happened here?”

Sumpter and King continued to pepper Santo with questions, and he said, “They do not want to meet with us. Do you want me to say it?”

King persisted, asking Greene why the Planning Commission had turned down the amendment. “I’m not going to do a reenactment of the meeting,” Greene said. “That’s why we have two commissions. Checks and balances, that’s the way it was set up.”

Some while later, Mushak entered the fray as a speaker during the public hearing, as shown in the video with this story. Norwalk is ignoring its Harbor Management Plan, he said, even though it was given teeth by the state. P&Z staff have not been to a Harbor Commission meeting in six years, he said.

The amendment was in line with the Harbor Management Plan, he said.

Greene offered a correction.

“The Harbor Commission thought so little of one-family houses in review, they don’t even review those as referrals,” he said. “So the Harbor Commission by its own adoption of the plan said we don’t want to look at one-family houses. So if it’s implied there will be an adverse impact on the harbor, they’re not interested.”

After some more back and forth, Sumpter asked, “When did they think so little of this?”

“When they wrote the harbor plan,” Greene said.

“What year was that?” Sumpter asked.

“I am guessing 1988,” Greene said, inspiring laughter and derision from the audience, many of whom had come to support the amendment.

King said, “You as a director have not gone back to them and said, ‘Listen, we are in a different world today. What is your viewpoint on it today, this is the master plan, these are the regulations.’ Have you had any of these discussions with them?”

“No, they decide what they want to do, I don’t tell them what to do,” Greene said. “I am their staff. They have in the past, I have asked them if they want to do it and they have never said they want to.”

“So you don’t have any communication,” King said. “You don’t go to them and say, ‘Listen, this is what the commission thinks. This is the feedback I am getting. … Do you still feel the same way you felt in 1988?’”

“I don’t question them every year on what they think. That’s ridiculous,” Greene said. “… Once they decide something – they are adults, they are an independent commission, they do what they want to do.”

“You are the link between all the three commissions,” King said. Greene replied that the Zoning Commission was not yet in favor of the amendment.

“Enough. I’ve had enough of this bickering,” Santo said. “I am tired of it, stop the bickering and attacking.”

“Well, why don’t you hold some accountability?” King asked.

“You are just being a big bully again, so just stop it,” Santo said.

Planning Commission Chairman Torgny Astrom said, in a Thursday email to NoN, “The Planning Commission has no objection to meeting with the Zoning Commission if there is an agenda item that requires a joint meeting and discussion.” He did not respond to an email requesting clarification.

Blank, who is chairman of the new Zoning Task Force, said Friday, “I think the zoning task force will fix the communication issues.”

The task force is having its first meeting next week, he said.

 

Comments

22 responses to “‘Lack of translation’ charge leads to ‘bickering’ on Norwalk Zoning Commission”

  1. John Hamlin

    Can you spell dysfunction? Reform the charter to fix the complete dysfunction and complete breakdown between the two underperformimg commissions and their rogue department. No one seems to have a clue what’s going on and the only winners are those that want no change, no progress, and adherence to the status quo. And that means no effective planning and worship of property rights solely for the individual property owners, who can continue to do whatever they want regardless of the impact on neighbors, neighborhoods, or the rest of the city.

  2. Michael McGuire

    How dysfunctional. Seems there is a bit of CYA going on with the objections to reasonable requests.

    If I were on the ZC I would want to know why PC shot down a proposal we had worked on long and hard. Come on, that’s only reasonable.

    Maybe our process is not broken, a process is only as good as the people that Staff the process.

    Either way, it’s worth the investigation to find out where the breakdowns are because clearly, many of Norwalk’s biggest problems (see Epic Planning Blunders below) stem from lack of effective Planning and accountability that cost us millions in lost revenues and opportunity costs.

    Epic Planning Blunders
    • POKO, (overloaded with social do good and project killing parking costs)
    • Duleep’s Blight,
    • NPA’s business sapping policies,
    • An out of date LDA on 95/7 (now creating month(s) of delay),
    • A restricted industrial zone that reflects an industrial market from the 1970s and stagnates contractor business growth,
    • Thoughtless housing development in our prime waterfront neighborhoods,
    • Master plans and other expensive reports simply dismissed,
    • Enterprise zones in the wrong areas (for a mall…really),
    • The mosque debacle,
    • BJ’s,
    • Good developers who shun Norwalk,
    • And smart development policies squashed.

  3. Dorothy Mobilia

    I agree with John Hamlin. Deep charter reform is necessary to respond to today’s needs in Norwalk.

  4. Mike Mushak

    The Planning and Zoning Director needs to explain this statement to the public at the next ZC meeting:

    “That’s why we have two commissions. Checks and balances, that’s the way it was set up.”

    That language does not exist in the City Charter. In fact, the two commissions are supposed to work in tandem to implement the Master Plan, since they both share that responsibility.

    The Planning and Zoning Director says he is staff to the Harbor Commission. That is correct. He is also an ex officio member to the HC. He needs to explain to the public why he hasn’t been at one of their meetings in over 6 years.

    The law states that the Planning, Zoning, and Harbor Commissions “shall carry out their responsibilities consistent with the goals and objectives of the Harbor Management Plan, and shall achieve and maintain consistency and coordination among the plans and programs of all city agencies.”

    That is what this notification requirement did, in terms of encouraging the public’s involvement in their concerns related to the quality and character of shorefront neighborhoods.

    Considering all of the important issues this discussion brought up, the logical and necessary next step is for the Planning, Zoning, and Harbor Commissions to request from the Planning and Zoning Director (who is staff to all three commissions), a comprehensive written report of how the staff is working to “maintaining consistency and coordination among the plans and programs of all city agencies,” and how all three commissions are specifically “carrying out their responsibilities consistent with the goals and objectives of the Harbor Management Plan”, as the law requires.

    Furthermore, an additional part of that report must be an explanation of how the Planning and Zoning Commissions were meant to be “checks and balances”, as he claims they were set up to be.

    The public will then have a much clearer look at how the current system is working for them, and how well it is following the law.

    I will be sending this request to all of the commissions.

  5. Lisa Thomson

    Norwalk desperately needs charter reform to address the lack of standards and accountability for senior employees across the city be it P&Z, DPW, Fire or Education. The lack of accountability for many of these folks – whose careers span three or four decades has given way to Norwalk’s chaos. When you contrast volunteer boards and commissions that come and go against six figure salaried employees (who earn more than the average Norwalker) to Common Council members who spend one year working or bickering about city issues and one year campaigning and top it off with a weak mayoral system, you get an expensive and mismanaged city paid for on the backs of homeowners who are effectively told to sit down and shut up.

  6. jlightfield

    For the record: policy is set and directed by the commissions, not staff.

    Further, the zoning commission has always had the ability to override a planning commission referral by a super majority vote. The zoning commission has exercised this process many times. Amazingly there’s this device called the telephone (it allows for direct communication) and tools like email and texting that also allow for direct communication.

    Sometimes even, after such direct communication, special committees get taken up to work on issues. For instance the budget of the department.

    Speaking of the budget, the P&Z department staffs 6 commissions. The regulatory administration burden is pretty extensive in regards to permitting that includes aquifer protection, conservation, and planning and zoning. That reflects state regulations in addition to local regulations.

    The Redevelopment Agency is not a city department. It is enabled by state statute to focus on the economic development of distressed census tracts as defined by the Commin Council. This is referred to as the urban renewal plan. The last time the urban renewal plan was looked at by the Common Council was in the 80s. For those a bit long in the tooth, that is around 30 years ago, not a few years ago. Updates to individual parcels may have been made but I haven’t yet seen evidence of any common council action that has renewed the urban renewal plan. By statute, as I have been led to understand they expire unless they are explicitly renewed.

    The idea behind the urban renewal plan was to attract development into areas where economic incentives were needed because the profitability of any one project was in doubt. Usually because of things like brown fields (former industrial sites contaminated with pollutants) or locations (near rails and highways) that presented environmental challenges.

    Over time things change. For instance it’s been over 60 years since the devastating ’55 flood and the extensive damage of the flood has long since been remediated.

    There are many issues related to land use and economic development that should be revisited. New plans and a new development vision are needed.

    But the legislative body that governs resource allocation and land disposition and incentives is the common council.

    The common council itself has no staff assigned to it for basic things like legislative research or even routine maintenance if its own actions and administrative management. The common council does have a planning committee, but it is staffed by the Redevelopment Agency.

    So as we opine in our soap boxes about why a certain issue isn’t being addressed, let’s be clear about where the actual buck stops and/or for just how long the buck has been passed.

  7. Lisa Thomson

    @Jackie Lightfield – I agree. Sadly, right now, Norwalk is getting the government it deserves.

  8. Michael McGuire

    @ JLightfield

    All the more reason for a qualified planner to keep on top of the CC regarding these issues, and be a go-to source for the CC when they have these issues.

    Lack of that skill set has enabled the Epic Planning Blunders (“EPB”). I recognize that much of EPBs are un-intentional consequences, but that does not alleviate the necessity to clean it up.

    On that front, and since you have the background on how this all works, what is the best way to address the issues and clear them up?

  9. Mike Mushak

    As I said, let’s start with a detailed report from the Planning and Zoning Director about how state and local laws pertaining to the Harbor Management Plan are being implemented and enforced by the Planning and Zoning staff, which is staff to the Planning, Zoning, and Harbor Commissions. That is a simple first step to gaining information here.

    Included in that report should be an explanation of the Director’s statement that the Planning and Zoning Commissions were set up to be “checks and balances”, which is not described in the Charter.

    That’s what the article was about. Let’s stay on topic here.

  10. Mike Mushak

    @Jackie Lightfield, for the record, the Planning and Zoning Director is the staff person for 3 commissions, Planning, Zoning, and Harbor.

    In the last 24 months , the Director missed 26 out of 48 Zoning Commission meetings or a 46% attendance rate, and hasn’t been to a Harbor Commission meeting in over 6 years, missing at least 72 meetings as far as the minutes go back on the City website, or a 0% attendance rate.) He is also a member of the Harbor Commission by City Charter.

    The Aquifer Protection Agency is a separate commission but is in fact the same membership of the Zoning Commission as you know well, yet it is staffed by a separate department, called the Conservation Office. Alexis Cherichetti is the Staff to that Agency, as well as staff to the Conservation Commission and Inland Wetland Agency, which are the same board by act of the Common Council in 1973.

    The Shellfish Commission is staffed by the Health Department Director.

    The Zoning Board of Appeals is staffed by the Zoning Inspector, Aline Rochefort. Her position is in the Division of Zoning Enforcement, part of the Department of Code Enforcement (Chapter 35A of the City Charter, adopted 1983) under the Director of Code Enforcement who is also the Chief Building Official.

    So to be clear, the Planning and Zoning staff is responsible for staffing 3 commissions, not 6, and the P and Z Director is listed as the only staff member for those 3 commissions.

    I will be interested to hear how you determined the P and Z staff is responsible for staffing 6 commissions, and what those commissions are. I may have missed something in reading the charter.

  11. Bill Nightingale, Jr

    Mike McGuire:

    Of your list these are the work of the Redevelopment Agency – also a dysfunctional entity, not to mention their many other blunders.

    Epic Planning Blunders
    • POKO, (overloaded with social do good and project killing parking costs)
    • An out of date LDA on 95/7 (now creating month(s) of delay),
    • Enterprise zones in the wrong areas (for a mall…really),

  12. jlightfield

    @mushak: There are six commissions, appeals, aquifer, conservation, harbor, planning and zoning that are administered under land use.

    Aquifer was added to the mix several years ago as an unfunded mandate first by the State and then delegated to land use by the Common Council by ordinance.

  13. Michael McGuire

    @ Bill Nightingale

    Too true – but that still does not absolve the City from responsibility for good planning. The City needed to work with RDA on each of those projects. In each case a qualified planner could have made a big difference and added value for the City.

    The CC needs to investigate why the current process is so flawed, and why they (the CC) are given such historically poor guidance by our “Planning” staff. Jackie Lightfield’s idea of starting at the beginning, with the original Urban Renewal charters, sounds like a good place to begin.

    I would hope the Mayor or the CC would commission a task force of concerned citizens to investigate why we keep missing the mark. From where I stand the Epic Planning Blunders are cause by poor planning.

  14. Mike Mushak

    Bill Nightingale, Jr., the Planning Commission has major responsibilities to plan and coordinate all development in the city that it currently does not do, creating a situation where the Redevelopment Agency and all other agencies for that matter are working in a planning vacuum. That I believe is Michael McGuire’s point.

    A.) From the City website describing the responsibilities of the Planning Commission:

    Planning and coordinating the physical, social, and economic development of the city in accordance with the city charter, city code, and state statutes.

    B.) From the City Charter:

    The Commission shall have power to promote public interest in and understanding of the plan (Master Plan) and may publish copies of any report and may employ other means of publicity. The Commission shall recommend to public officials programs for public improvements and the financing thereof. It shall be part of its duties to consult and advise with public officials and organizations and citizens with relation to the carrying out of the plan.

    In addition to the powers and duties specifically granted and imposed upon the Planning Commission under the Charter of the City of Norwalk, the Commission shall have all of the powers and duties granted to and imposed on planning commissions under Chapter 126 of the Connecticut General Statutes, which are not inconsistent with the duties and powers set forth in said Charter.

    C.) From Ct. General Statutes (excerpts from Chapter 126 which in its entirety deals with the Planning Commission’s responsibilities, and take special note of item (vi) in last line of first paragraph, “integration of planning across all levels of government”):

    Recommend the most desirable use of land within the municipality for residential, recreational, commercial, industrial, conservation, agricultural and other purposes and include a map showing such proposed land uses, (E) recommend the most desirable density of population in the several parts of the municipality, (F) note any inconsistencies with the following growth management principles: (i) Redevelopment and revitalization of commercial centers and areas of mixed land uses with existing or planned physical infrastructure; (ii) expansion of housing opportunities and design choices to accommodate a variety of household types and needs; (iii) concentration of development around transportation nodes and along major transportation corridors to support the viability of transportation options and land reuse; (iv) conservation and restoration of the natural environment, cultural and historical resources and existing farmlands; (v) protection of environmental assets critical to public health and safety; and (vi) integration of planning across all levels of government to address issues on a local, regional and state-wide basis,

    Plan of development is of broader significance than zoning and two terms are not interchangeable. Planning connotes systematic development of municipality to promote general welfare and prosperity of its people, while zoning is concerned primarily with use of property.

    D.) From the American Planning Association website of what professional planning is and what planners do:

    https://www.planning.org/aboutplanning/whatisplanning.htm

    Good planning helps create communities that offer better choices for where and how people live. Planning helps communities to envision their future. It helps them find the right balance of new development and essential services, environmental protection, and innovative change.

    Planning is done in many arenas and involves professionals who are planners and those who are professionally certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). Planners work with elected and appointed officials, such as mayors and planning commissioners, to lead the planning process with the goal of creating communities of lasting value. Planners help civic leaders, businesses, and citizens envision new possibilities and solutions to community problems.

    The American Planning Association and its professional institute, AICP, help planners, officials, and citizens better serve their communities by providing research, educational resources, practical advice and tools, and up-to-date information on planning. Planners working with community members help communities meet the challenges of growth and change.

    E.) Conclusion:

    We have NO professional planning in Norwalk “to meet the challenges of growth and change” as was just described above. The APA lists NO professional planners in City Hall. Norwalk is a growing city of 85,000 people with no professional planners on staff. We hire professional planners to do plans that cost taxpayers millions, , but the Director of Planning and Zoning routinely ignores them, as the record shows as recently as last month on the AMEC application when he astoundingly said he never heard of a $200,000 planning study that took 3 years of public meetings and was approved by the Common Council. A major land use decision was made without the valuable information contained in a study that taxpayers paid for, which teh P and Z Director denied even existed after it was approved by the Council, which means all that time and money was wasted.

    The Chairs of the Planning and Zoning Commissions must begin the process of reform by getting together and developing a strategy to do this, and their cooperation with the new Zoning Task Force is critical. Stay tuned.

  15. Steve Colarossi

    A few thoughts about the claims of poor communication between Zoning and Planning.

    1. There needs to be some measure of accountability that members of a board or commission take responsibility for advocating on behalf of their proposals. If a Zoning Commission proposal goes to the Planning Commission, then Zoning members who supported it strongly should be willing to attend those meetings and speak in favor of it.

    2. For years, Board of Education members attended working meetings with the BET and spoke publicly in favor of BOE budgets before the City Council and the BET.

    3. Sometimes, those of us who tend to be a bit long-winded can come across as pedantic, bombastic and dull– qualities which can diffuse support for even the most well-intentioned of proposals. Whether the hyperbole attendant to contractor yard debate motivated Planning Commission voting, no one but those commissioners can know for sure. But, I can’t help but believe that, at least in part, the fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our bureaucrats but in our words.

  16. Mike Mushak

    jlightfield, I do not understand your comment that they are administered under “land use”as you describe. We have no “land use” department. I explained above that the staff that administers 3 out of the 6 commission you list, ZBA, Conservation, and Aquifer, are not under the Planning and Zoning Department”, but under the Conservation Office and Code Enforcement Department, which are listed on the City Website and in the Charter as separate departments.

    Again, I may be wrong, but I do not see any reference on the city website or in the City Charter to a “land use” department that administers anything. Please explain.

  17. V. Cavallo

    These are my views and opinions and not necessarily those of the Planning Commission or it’s other individual members.

     
    At the January 13, 2015 Planning Commission meeting, we were presented with a proposed revision of the coastal zone site plan review regulations to require certified mail notification to neighbors when an application for a single family residence is submitted to P&Z.  Prior to this regulation being subsequently adopted by the Zoning Commission on a 5-2 vote, the building zone regulations did not require that neighbors be notified of applications for single family residences elsewhere in Norwalk. 
     
    This revision, in my view, is not a substantive land use or planning provision as where single family homes in coastal area management (CAM) areas would be further regulated or prohibited for the sake of additional protection of coastal resources.  Rather, as written and presented, it seemed to be a procedural provision, designed to render certain landowners and not others the right to receive notice and pursue their right to be heard if they reside within a (CAM) area.
     
    Although the Plan of Conservation and Development, which the Planning Commission must abide by, calls for protection of coastal resources, it does not single out landowners for special treatment and conveyance of special notice rights, which is not a coastal resources protection issue.
     
    This regulation will enhance CAM area neighbors’ opportunities to object to an application for a single family residence at a Zoning proceeding, but inland neighbors won’t have the same notice rights; such as West Norwalk neighbors who might be similarly concerned by a proposed single family home.
     
    Consequently, because landowners that fall within the same class elsewhere in Norwalk outside the CAM do not and would not have the same rights of notice and opportunity to be heard, the provision unfairly (and I dare say unconstitutionally) renders different due process rights to similar classes of landowners. The provision is also violative of equal protection because it treats similarly situated landowners differently.
     
    I felt that it was fundamentally unfair to disallow inland landowners from receiving notice and an opportunity to be heard just because they are not privileged enough to live along the water. If CAM area landowners are to receive notice of proposed single family residences, then all landowners should have the same rights.  Hence, my vote. The other Planning Commissioners concurred. However, the Planning Commission’s “denial” did not prevent the Zoning Commission from enacting the measure. It only had the effect of requiring a two-thirds vote rather than a majority vote by the Commission.

  18. Mike Mushak

    Steve Calarrossi, see related NON articles about the INDOOR contractor parking facilities, which was not about expanding contractor yards at all even though the PC was led to believe it was by staff.

    There was a deliberate manipulation of information by staff, clearly on the record, including untruthful and misleading statements made to the Planning Commission, including 3 reasons to deny on the PC resolution that staff prepared that were completely irrelevant to any discussion the Zoning Commission had discussed and to the zone change before them.

    I don’t think you meant that the ZC members need to write their own resolutions for the PC to review, as that is a responsibility of staff, but the trust is gone now that that is done with the best intentions of the public and the ZC in mind as was revealed in this incident. That is how dysfunctional this has become, where staff is not even writing resolutions to deny or approve ZC actions by the PC that actually reflect the actual actions by the ZC. In fact, they are working against the best interests of the ZC and the public.

    The PC ended up in a discussion where the Planning and Zoning Director told them the zone change would increase up to 50 the number of properties with outdoor storage of materials (it was inside only), that it would “harm” neighboring properties (only true if there were violations as all vehicles and material storage was inside), and that the motivation for the zone change came from “one commissioner”, through implication, me. It actually came from public including the large contractor community, and the entire zoning commission.

    This is clearly the fault of the bureaucrats, not the words of the commissioners, “dear Brutus”.

  19. Mike Mushak

    The Director said the PC has public hearings where ZC members can speak. The PC does not have any public participation or public hearings listed on their agendas. When I have attended PC meetings I was eyed suspiciously and never asked to speak.

    Also, when I tried to get the emails of the PC members when I was in the ZC, I was told by staff that all communications between the two commissions must pass through them. When I asked if the content was reviewed, I was told that only “appropriate” messages would be forwarded. Are we East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall?

    Also, as a member of the public, you are expected to be able to figure out totally on your own that the agendas of the regular Zoning Commission and Planning Commission meetings are not listed in any logical way, together in one place, but every meeting is broken up into pieces and a scattered randomly across the huge agenda list with obscure headings like “Plan Review” Committee, “Zoning” Committee, “Subdivision” Committee, and “Land Use” Committee, not to be confused of course with Common Council committees that are all listed on the same page, such as “Planning Committee” and “Land Use and Building Management” Committee. This is also true of the Harbor Management Commission, which has 3 different headings for the same meeting, all with different agendas listed.

    If you are a concerned resident about any particular land use project or issue, you would easily get confused by this system, which I believe by past experience is the whole point to discourage public attendance, in direct conflict with the Master Plan item F.3.3.2, “Continue to encourage the participation of a greater number of residents in future planning including attendance at public meetings.” Oh yeah, right.

    I described it in the last meeting as an arrogance towards the public, and when our Director claims the PC has public hearings that do not actually ever happen, insists on pre-screening communications between the two major land use commissions, and deliberately misleads the commissions to work against each other in some bizarre ” checks and balances” concept that exists only in his head, is it any wonder I deliver my vote of no confidence in this dumbed down system as frequently as I do?

  20. Suzanne

    I appreciate the persistence of Nora King and Nate Sumpter in clarifying the lack of communication between Planning and Zoning. I especially appreciate the acknowledgement of who they are working for: the taxpayers.

    Many of the comments above state just where Norwalk has failed through this broken system and, while Mr. Santos repeatedly tries to quell the “upstarts” they are unabated in their efforts. It is so much more than “bickering.” It is the future of Norwalk development.

  21. EveT

    Thank you, Mr. Cavallo: “If CAM area landowners are to receive notice of proposed single family residences, then all landowners should have the same rights.” What would it take to change the rule so that all property owners could be duly notified of impending construction near their property?

  22. Oldtimer

    The last building permit I applied for, for an accessory apartment, required registered mail notice to contiguous property owners, which included, to my surprise, property owners across the street. That was some time ago, perhaps 13 years, it was not much of a burden, and did not elicit any response from neighbors. I never saw any written ordinance requiring such notice, but I was told it was a zoning requirement. My house was well north of the post road and hardly coastal.

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