Milligan should submit his plans so we can all ‘Let Byron Bake’

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The City of Norwalk, working with the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency (RDA), has established a lot of forward momentum in developing its downtown and surrounding areas. Recently, however, we have been saddened and dismayed by the actions of a landlord targeting a local entrepreneur as he attempts to open a bakery. There are several false and baseless accusations being made by Mr. Jason Milligan of New Canaan regarding necessary paperwork that has yet to be filed with our respective entities.

The RDA does not issue permits for a tenant to occupy space, such as the proposed bakery at 64 Wall Street. Rather, the RDA oversees a critical part of our zoning regulations, designed to ensure the exterior of development projects are built safely and in a manner that preserves the historic character and aesthetic of the neighborhood in which a business or project is proposed.

The approval required to advance the proposed bakery at 64 Wall Street is entirely Mr. Milligan’s responsibility. Mr. Milligan needs to rectify the discrepancies between the project he applied for in the winter of 2020, and what was constructed in the spring of 2021. Mr. Milligan has been made aware of this discrepancy since the City and RDA discovered work was completed well beyond any approved permit at 64 Wall Street. In addition, Mr. Milligan was told no tenants would be able to open until the discrepancies were corrected, yet he continued to lease space to Mr. Byron Sanchez.

The design review process, being disputed by Mr. Milligan, has been in place for over a decade. It has been utilized by many landowners wishing to develop their respective properties, including 13 projects since July 1, 2020, six of which are located in the Wall Street neighborhood.

The difference in this situation is that Mr. Milligan has stated in writing he will “avoid design review at all costs” and unfortunately that cost is Mr. Sanchez’s bakery opening, whereas other property owners have worked through the process in a mere number of weeks. Since 2006, landowners have been required to submit the same documentation required of Mr. Milligan in the case of the proposed bakery.

Small business and economic development are vital to our community, but nothing can come at the expense of the health, safety, and welfare of all Norwalk residents. It is our hope that Mr. Milligan will take the necessary steps that all other Norwalk businesses comply with and stop preventing another new business, in this case a bakery, from opening for business.

The City and RDA are committed to working with Mr. Milligan through the existing process and encourage him to submit his plans as requested to have the bakery open as soon as possible.


Norwalk Redevelopment Agency

City of Norwalk Economic and Community Development Department

City of Norwalk Planning & Zoning Department


22 responses to “Milligan should submit his plans so we can all ‘Let Byron Bake’”

  1. David Muccigrosso

    >> Rather, the RDA oversees a critical part of our zoning regulations, designed to ensure the exterior of development projects are built safely and in a manner that preserves the historic character and aesthetic of the neighborhood in which a business or project is proposed.

    LOL. The “character” you’re ruining by choking off every other business project?

    What good is that “character” going to be when Downtown becomes a Ghost Town? Oh wait, nevermind, IT ALREADY IS. The “character’s” name must be CASPER.

    You’re talking about aesthetics. Aesthetics can be changed. If it’s a stupid awning or a sign, that can be changed. So let people start their businesses, and when they have the freaking money to do it, have them make it prettier!

    Or better yet… based on my highly scientific aesthetic survey, there doesn’t seem to be even the remotest lick of consistency between any of the signage in Downtown. Heaven forbid Byron have his sign in the wrong color neon.

    Face it. You guys are a glorified HOA sticking your noses in other people’s business because it makes you feel powerful, and justifies your paychecks.

    If you truly have a progressive bone in your bodies, then do the right thing and stop standing in the way of progress. Be CONstructive, not OBstructive. Embrace diversity.

    Let Byron bake for christ’s sakes.

  2. Jason Milligan

    Where is the fact checking on this article?

    Half of the successful permits in the Wall Street area are mine!

    Landlord’s are not responsible for tenant fit-up permits. Few landlords are involved at all.

    I extend credit to start ups, and I assist tenants much more than other landlords.

    The Redevelopment Agency is in an advisory role for building permits. They review facade designs. There are many other departments that review other things. Sometimes the Agency does the review with their staff of 8, yes 8, and when it involves a larger “development project” they refer it to a 3rd party architect for review. (This referral process is highly questionable & choice is limited to 2 firms, but I will leave this point for another time).

    64 Wall Street is not a large development project. At least not yet. My hotel plan was shot down. I would agree that the hotel project would trigger the larger project treatment at Zoning and the Agency.

    The existing project is small, simple storefronts with white facades. Each tenant will ultimately have to go back to the Agency when they want to put a sign.

    None of the 8 staff members were involved in creating the 2019 plan that they are working under. None of them even worked for the Agency. The entire Agency staff has left. Could it have anything to do with my lawsuit challenging the legality of the plan and questions the Redevelopment Agency engen existing in the area?

    Could the treatment of my permits also be related to that lawsuit?

    The rookie Agency staff really had no clue what they were doing when Tim Sheehan and Tami Strauss left.

    On numerous occasions in the past I have walked into the Redevelopment Agency and left with a stamp of their approval. Those were the days…

    Nowadays, under Brian Bidolli they basically give my projects an autopsy. They veer wildly into the domain of the fire marshal, health department, building and zoning departments.

    The Agency has multiple permit applications in their possession that I submitted that they have just refused to review. If there is a problem with the permit then the Agency should deny it. At least then there would an opportunity to appeal.

    As it sits now the bakery sits in purgatory left to complain and hold rallies. The baker went so far as to submit his own clean permit. It is compliant with all other departments but the Agency will not review it or move it along.

    I signed a lease with a nail salon next door to the bakery 2 weeks ago. That permit was submitted shortly after lease signing.

    Wouldn’t it be nice to see some fresh new businesses in the area?

    People tell the Agency to review the permits they have and Let Byron Bake!!

  3. Tysen Canevari

    I happen to agree. The Jason Milligan saga is starting to get old. Obviously, he is intent on buying up all he can with his team of investors behind him. However, dragging this poor baker into this nonsense is sad. This is life or death for this guy and his family. Everytime the city asks you to follow the rules you come up with some stalemate and paint a mural. Your artist does great work Jason but you have to abide by the guidelines sooner or later. At the end of the day they are the governing board and you are the customer. All of the other developers in Norwalk seem to find a way to comply or come to an agreement.

  4. Jason Milligan

    Tysen-You sound so ignorant. I can only imagine what the city would turn up if they started investigating your landscaping company. Is your insurance up to date? Are your business property taxes accurately filed and paid? Are you parking any commercial trucks in areas they are not allowed? Are you pulling permits for all of the work you do?

    As a small business owner how can you fall for this article?

  5. Jason Milligan

    “established a lot of forward momentum in developing its downtown”

    Really? What does that mean exactly? Momentum sound like a lot of words & meetings, and plans.

    A few concrete examples would be nice:

    The Tyvek Temple?

    Yankee Doodle garage circa 1960, $600K renovation in 2019.

    Back in angle parking? With banana bollards…

    Record parking tickets for the area?

    Shuttering the Garden Cinema?

    $250,000 train stop study?

    Countless plans to revitalize Wall Street do not count!

    Actions speak louder than words!

    I have helped 20 new businesses open in the Wall Street area and I have built or renovated over 40 apartments in the past 3 years.

  6. Harold Cobin

    This is not an article, it’s a letter to the editor and was published as submitted. It’s reviewed for relevance, freshness of content and civility. It presents the views, observations and opinions of its authors. H.F.C.

  7. Jason Milligan

    The original permit I submitted on River St was for an ice cream shop. It was approved by all departments including the Agency. Sadly the ice cream shopped never opened and bailed on the lease we had.

    Next I applied for the bakery. Then Byron the baker applied for the bakery.

    2 weeks ago I applied for a nail salon.

    Cumulatively, the Agency has permit applications for all 3 store fronts. Prior to a tenant opening they are supposed to pull a tenant fit up permit and get a certificate of occupancy. That is what the bakery is seeking.

    Prior to securing tenants I did not know what I wanted to the store front to look like so a tenant fitup permit was premature. I was working under other permits that were pulled for the building for months. Once I had tenants I submitted new permits.

    The Agency doesn’t understand.

    Nevertheless, 2 weeks ago I had a Zoom call with Mayor Rilling, Chief of Staff Laoise King, Chief of Economic Development Jessica (Casey) Vonachek, & Chief of planning & zoning Steve Kleppin. Ironically Agency director Brian Bidolli was not present although he was invited.

    The meeting was frustrating to say the least, but the consensus was that if I submitted a letter from my contractor stating that all 3 store fronts cost less than $50,000 then the bakery could open. Soon after I submitted that letter. It was not sufficient for the Agency.

    Where is the Agency on this? They have not clearly stated what they are requiring. There is no way that it will comport with their existing written rules and operating precedent that has been set. One might call their behavior arbitrary & capricious.

    Make no mistake, the Bakery not opening is squarely on the Redevelopment Agency! They are the bad guys.

  8. Patrick Cooper

    The age-old symbol for the theater is aptly the twin masks of comedy & tragedy. They speak to the infinite and eternal forces of Yin & Yang that philosophers have pondered and debated for centuries. We have that on display – right here. Funny – but oh so sad.

    This stupid, useless show of power by the RDA is 2nd rate dramedy. That they choose NoN as the domain to further the fictional narrative of the RDA as the aggrieved party is quite hilarious. Someone please give them a binkie.

    My simple take? It doesn’t take a PHD applying the Socratic method to determine this: the RDA is a relic. Their resume alone is the argument: a useless, bloated, unhelpful blob of ego & authority (un-elected), that has accomplished little to nothing in over 60 years, doing more damage (blight?) than good, is the worst return on investment in the history of Norwalk municipal finance. Their usefulness long past gone – they simply refuse to die. Time to Kevorkian this bureaucracy.

    Abolish the RDA. Fire every employee – sell the assets. Let Jessica Casey earn her pay – and get the grants. Or – fire her too.

    Let Milligan and the Wall Street community continue to do what they have repeatedly demonstrated over the past few years. That they can design, rebuild, attract energy, and develop our city center into a vibrant community that delivers for the residents and taxpayers. Support them. The 2nd grade pettiness of City Hall is on full display here when they can’t acknowledge that private enterprise has done some authentic good to this part of our community. Something the RDA hasn’t accomplished in decades. DECADES. It’s beyond embarrassing – it’s pathetic.

    Let Byron Bake.

    Bye bye NoN – it’s been fun.

  9. Mitch Adis

    Let’s go Byron is Rilling’s Let’s go Brandon moment.

  10. James

    Tyson’s comment does not sound ignorant!

  11. Tysen Canevari

    Thats funny Jason. As a matter of fact I have been in business 20 years and do work for many municipilaties,including your hometown of New Canaan. I try to treat people with respect that they deserve. My taxes are paid and I am a fifth generation Norwalk resident. You get so defensive always and try to attack everyone’s credentials. You attack people like Mike Discala who has been a developer here for many years and done a lot for Norwalk. He follows rules and makes compromises. Thats why the city works with him. So call me ignorant because honestly i dont really care. Just stating the obvious that people think the whining is getting old. Just sell all the properties if it is so bad here. Maybe you can paint pictures in Waveny Park.

  12. Jason Milligan

    Tysen, I am also 4th generation Norwalk on my dads side.

    You bring up Discala who does not live in Norwalk! He is good friends with the current mayor though.

    To have city officials write such a slanted piece tells you a lot. The author of this article remains anonymous. A faceless blob. Nobody brave enough to go on record or be specific.

    Instead they highlight the irrelevant fact of where I currently live. They also ignore the fact that tenants mostly pull “tenant” fit up permits not landlords. I am an unusually good and helpful landlord. It is one of the reasons I fill my buildings and they remain full. I treat my tenant like business partners because we our Sucess is contingent on each other.

    I have turned in perfect permits that should be approved. If the permits had a problem why weren’t they denied? Denial would require facts that could ultimately be argued against in court.

    I am trying to fix Wall Street which is why have challenged the Redevelopment Agency legally. The Agency and their business practices are literally ON TRIAL. My lawsuit has uncovered so much money wasted, dishonesty, and sheer incompetence of people in charge.

    It is sad, but it is no surprise that I get retaliated against for challenging them. They are the bad guys who use millions of your money to bring us the Tyvek Temple, dozens of hundred thousand dollar studies, and reverse angle parking.

    The Wall Street area has struggled for decades largely because of the shadowy Redevelopment Agency and their corrupts ways. They are literally preventing the redevelopment of the area.

    I use my money and ask for no favors. I focus on smaller projects that require the least interaction with City officials.

    How embarrassing it must be to see a defiant individual so quickly, and inexpensively rejuvenate the area. After decades and millions upon millions of utter failure by the public parties.

    In their minds I must be stopped not how do we embrace his energy.

    Fixing Wall Street requires change. Change can be painful for some. It is past time for change though. The biggest change would be to dismantle the worthless Redevelopment Agency! They are the problem so how could they possibly be the solution?

  13. David T McCarthy

    Wow…that (supposedly) these agencies and departments of the city would write something like this (with no actual human byline) is an amazing comment on how far they have sunk. Unprofessional at a minimum and likely adding fuel to Mr. Milligan’s ongoing lawsuit, regardless of what is said. I can see from a distance that Mr. Milligan is annoying. I don’t know whether he is right or wrong, but I do know that this reeks of a mayor reaching out to smack down someone he sees as getting the better of him in the press. Shame on anyone who played a part in this.

  14. Jason Milligan

    Is it okay for the Redevelopment Agency to label buildings like the brand new Discala built Head of the Harbor blighted, or deteriorated? (That is what they did to get the 2019 Plan approved)

    If the answer is yes then I might lose my lawsuit, and it would mean the Agency can do whatever they want including change the rules as their staff sees fit without any oversight whatsoever.

    It would also mean they could say 2+2=5 and they would be correct.

  15. Tysen Canevari

    Michael Discala lives in Norwalk and his business is based in Norwalk and pays a lot of taxes in Norwalk. Just for the record

  16. Jason Milligan

    You brought up Mike Discala. I have nothing but respect for the man.

  17. Tysen Canevari

    Ok Now Get Those changes done So the baker can get baking and my Signature trucks can stop there to buy breakfast.

  18. Stuart Garrelick

    For a year now I have asked that the two sides submit to arbitration, which Mr. Milligan has stated he was receptive to. We should have the clout to insist our elected officials do so! I would hope for binding arbitration but that is not to be. So what is to be gained from nonbinding arbitration? At least we would know who is full of S–T and who isn’t.
    Instead of let the Baker Bake how about let Norwalk Negotiate.
    PS-I am writing a novel and when I checked I found that the average English novel has 60,000 words. 73 more and Jason wil have a novel.

  19. JustaTaxpayer

    What does Milligan’s home town have to do with this issue? It reminds of some bike lane enthusiasts in this town throwing stones at a mayoral candidate hailing from Rowayton. Next thing I’ll be reading is that it’s tied to white supremacy.

  20. Jake Cohe

    Milligan brought up the hometown/ Norwalk thing in response to a comparison of himself to another developer. It was a veiled attack on DiScala’s morals. Then he tried to side step it and take it back. Milligan’s morals are the one’s that are suspect. To take a jab at another (Mike DiScala) is typical of him. Milligan now owns properties in the Wall Street area which are ripe for development baaes on the current CBD zoning. He should shut up and develop his properties, which seems to be an easy task given the loose zoning regulations that passed for the area. To pick on others seems to be a waste of Milligan’s time and energy. Unless of course the bravado is to satiate an ego and obfuscate the truth. ??????

  21. Jason Milligan


    You are funny.

    I do write a lot of words and I am obviously passionate about this topic.

    You would think that I am putting a Mosque in a residential neighborhood, or I want to develop White Barn into housing or that I want to pave paradise and put up a parking lot.

    I am 100% willing to sit down to negotiate. I would do it in public. The public should be invovled.

    Shouldn’t the Redevelopment Agency have to justify themselves. We are talking about some nit picky B.S. The small business economy was ravaged by Covid, and the Agency is whining about 3rd party design review.

    The Agency has a staff of 8. They have expensive office space. There annual budget is huge. They spend money like no tomorrow, and what do we have to show for it?

    The money they are spending is our money!

    Other than the generic, “everyone has to follow the rules”, can anyone seriously explain what the heck we are arguing about?

    The bakery space is built. The facade is white with standard dark store front tubing. It 100% matches the 2 other store fronts that the Agency previously approved. 1st for MKT or Jala Jala, then for 5 River Street was supposed to be an ice cream store.

    What could possibly take so long to review? Would they want a different shade of white?

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