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