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Mushak comes up short in quest for information on Norwalk BJ’s

NORWALK, Conn. –  A lone Norwalk zoning commissioner’s crusade to get an independent review of a BJ’s Wholesale Club-commissioned traffic study has boiled down to a frustrating effort to simply get things on the record.

Commissioner Mike Mushak has been trying to convince others on the commission to invest some city money in getting an independent traffic analysis regarding the application to put a BJ’s Wholesale Club at 272-280 Main Ave., and asking why an independent study that cost the city $500,000 was being ignored.

Corporation Counsel Robert Maslan told Mushak and other commissioners at a Plan Review Committee meeting two weeks ago that both considerations would need to be discussed and voted on by the full commission, and Mushak had requested that be done Wednesday night. But it wasn’t on the Zoning Commission agenda.

Chairwoman Emily Wilson said that had been her decision, based comments Maslan made at that meeting.

“Because of the way the traffic study has been presented to us, we would be beyond the scope of a reasonable request to ask for a program review of expanded intersections,” she said, citing Maslan’s guidance. “… I do not feel comfortable calling for a vote for something that we don’t have the authority within our own regulations to do.”

With BJ’s Attorney Frank Zullo watching from the back of the room, Mushak complained that Maslan’s guidance contradicts the statements he made when the Al Madany Islamic Center was proposing to put a mosque at 127 Fillow St., that there was much gray area in what the city’s attorney had said and that he couldn’t get answers from Planning and Zoning staff.

Mushak has said he would like the commission to expand the area for the BJ’s traffic study to include all intersections affected by an increase of 25 or more cars per peak hour, as recommended in the Norwalk Transportation Management Plan, which, he said, cost Norwalk about $500,000 and was completed last September.

He cited this passage from Section 2, Chapter 4:

“The City of Norwalk has established that the following guidelines for the preparation of a Traffic Impact and Access Study should be adhered to when preparing a traffic study for any development project. Specific rules and regulations for the City of Norwalk should be obtained from the Planning & Zoning Department.”

Maslan said two weeks ago the plan was commissioned as guidance for the Department of Public Works and other departments. The recommendations would not become zoning regulations unless the commission voted to adopt them, and it hadn’t done it yet. Adopting them during the course of an application would be illegal, he said.

Mushak said Wednesday night that independent traffic studies are routinely commissioned by land use boards across Connecticut.

Wilson reminded Mushak that the DPW is reviewing the traffic study done by Fredrick Clarke Associates for BJ’s, and that the Connecticut Department of Transportation is deeply involved.

“I think Bob Maslan was quite clear with regard to what our authority is in regards to the regulations,” she said. “We don’t act on what is not in the regulations. It’s a limited scope in terms of how we act.”

She said BJ’s was not on the agenda for discussion, and that Mushak had spoken about it enough.

Mushak said that was fine, but then repeated his earlier comments about independent reviews being common in other communities.

“I don’t know why Norwalk doesn’t do it,” he said. “We have every right to ask for more information. If that includes peer review, that’s what it will include. I have never heard of us not having the right to ask for more information.”

Then he went too far for the rest of the commission. “Mr. Maslan gave contradictory statements about how we should apply our regulations because at the mosque application we were told –”

Planning and Zoning Deputy Director Mike Wrinn raised his hand and looked at Mushak angrily, and Wilson shut Mushak down.

Commissioner James White also spoke up.

“You’ve made your point,” he said. “We need to be silent.”

The Rolling Ridge Condominium Association has hired Attorney Richard Saxl in its effort to fight the BJ’s application. Last week, he cast aspersions on CDOT’s involvement in the traffic study.

“That’s sort of irrelevant,” he said.

Just because they say you can do it, doesn’t mean you should, he said.

“They don’t really care if you have gridlock,” he said. “You’re going to care, if you’re driving up and down Main Avenue.”

Comments

51 responses to “Mushak comes up short in quest for information on Norwalk BJ’s”

  1. Bruce Kimmel

    I have already received calls from constituents who live on West Rocks Road and different places in Silvermine. They all are concerned, first and foremost, about the increased traffic on Main Ave. should the BJ’s be built; it is already extremely difficult to get in and out of the numerous parking lots along that stretch of road.
    .
    They are also deeply concerned about all the cut-through traffic that will take place in Silvermine and along West Rocks. The latter road is already used routinely as a way to circumvent the dense traffic on Main. Think about it, why would anyone bother with Main when they can shoot right up West Rocks and come down either Aiken/Ward, Linden or Creeping Hemlock?
    .
    The same for Silvermine. For instance, it takes about five minutes, with no lights, to go from New Canaan Ave, to Bartlett, to Silvermine Ave, to James, and then Perry.
    .
    It has also been noted that BJ’s is considered a regional store and will attract customers from surrounding towns; that will undoubtedly tighten things up on the Merritt and the Norwalk roads already mentioned.
    .
    And finally, from what I have read, the proposal is roughly ten times the size of what was recommended for that piece of land and requires a special permit. Issuing special permits, I believe, require conformity to master plans. Thus, doesn’t this rule BJ’s out?
    .
    One final point on so-called “traffic studies.” We probably all agree that traffic on Main Ave. is already bad and that it is definitely difficult to get in and out of all the parking lots. And we also probably can agree that BJ’s will increase traffic considerably. Duh?

  2. Bruce Kimmel

    Should have mentioned above that Perry Ave. comes out on Main Ave.

  3. M Allen

    We can agree on that. Traffic will get worse. 123/Main Ave at Dunkin Donuts will get worse. Traffic will bypass onto West Rocks Road and James Street and Silvermine Avenue.
    .
    And we can also probably agree that no traffic study in the history of traffic studies did anything to stop a project that was ordained from the start to be approved. So why waste the money?

  4. NorwalkSage

    As a reader I came up short in a quest for information about the Zoning Commission’s meeting. This piece focused on the “drama” of one commissioner’s opposition to BJ’s. You say that the commission wanted to stick to its agenda, which was…?

  5. NorwalkSage

    My tentative apologies Nancy, I just read the piece about the Rowayton vote. I noticed Mushak was the lone naysayer on that one too.

  6. Mike Mushak

    As I have stated many times before, I have no opinion about BJ’s until all the evidence is in and the public hearing is completed. We shall wait and see if the applicant can prove that traffic will actually IMPROVE on Main Avenue by adjusting the timing on the traffic lights and other mitigations as they have stated.
    .

    I do expect staff will answer ALL of my questions as they are required to do by law. As I stated on the video above, staff has ignored answering my questions in recent high-profile applications, denying important information to the Zoning Commission pertaining to protecting public health and safety that we needed to make an informed decision. In those instances, the GOP leadership of the Commission did not enforce the by-laws of the Commission and hold staff accountable by providing information to the Commission that was requested, a situation that will be resolved as soon as possible I hope now that a bright spotlight is being shown upon this important issue.

    For anyone concerned about the State and DPW being able to fully insure careful oversight of the applicant’s traffic study and recommendations, I simply suggest they drive their car through two intersections in Norwalk that have been recently re-designed by DPW and State DOT engineers costing Norwalk taxpayers millions of dollars. These are at West and CT Avenue in front of Mathews Park, and at Martin Luther King and Washington Street next to the Webster parking lot.
    .

    At Mathews Park, cars leaving the park are confronted with a confusing pattern where cars coming at them from CT Ave naturally think they have the right of way on the angled intersection, and often continue at full speed without properly yielding to the oncoming traffic leaving the park. Since Stepping Stones draws many first-time visitors to the park, many folks are left frozen in the intersection as downhill traffic zooms at them turning left onto West Avenue, causing frequent sudden stops, close calls, and backups into the park. I brought this up last year when we approved the expansion of Stepping Stones, and city engineers assured us there was nothing wrong with the intersection and that it functioned perfectly. So, I report, you decide. Just be careful you do not get into a near head-on collision like so many folks I watch every day do just that. (I even watched a city transit bus slam on its breaks as it sped down the hill and turned left without stopping, nearly hitting a minivan with a family in it leaving the park.) Will it take a death to get this designed properly?.
    .
    The other busy intersection recently re-designed by the State and DPW at MLK and Washington has strange quirks that present daily challenges to drivers. Heading into SoNo from Fairfield and Flax Hill Avenues, crossing towards the SoNo Library, there are two lanes with arrows indicating they can go straight across MLK, yet one lane on Washington completely disappears when you arrive across MLK, forcing an awkward and abrupt dangerous merge and swerve that almost causes accidents every time I use it or watch it for more than a few minutes. The fact that this happens right on top of a crosswalk scares the hell out of me that someone in a car or on foot is going to get hurt or killed here. Go see for yourself.

    I also have contended that Corporation Counsel Maslan is appointed directly by Mayor Moccia, and is also the Mayor’s private attorney, and since Mayor Moccia has publicly stated his strong support for the BJ’s application, I am wary of Maslan’s ability to make truly independent and unbiased decisions about this project. Also, the DPW Director is also directly appointed by the mayor who has the sole responsibility over his job in the city organizational chart, and Alvord is also the staff member to the 3 member Traffic Commission headed up by the mayor, so we can assume there is a natural tendency of anyone in such a position to please his boss to keep his job.
    .
    Last year, the mayor acting as Traffic Commissioner and over the objection of Alvord, allowed illegal angled parking to continue at the East Norwalk Yacht Club, near Overton’s, forcing children and families walking or riding bikes from Vets Park to get an ice cream directly into the path of speeding traffic as they have to go almost out to the double yellow line to get around the parked cars. Mayor Moccia compromised public safety forcing children to risk their lives at this dangerous and busy spot to please his friends at the Yacht Club who basically didn’t want to have to walk across the street with coolers full of beer on their way to their boats. Alvord should have insisted this not happen, as he is a licensed engineer sworn under oath to protect public health and safety, just as Zoning Commissioners are, but Mayor Moccia’s dangerous decision won out and was not opposed by the other two Traffic Commissioners, Torrano and O’Connor, or Alvord, at least on the record.
    .
    So I ask you, based on the evidence, would you trust that the city and state can properly oversee the re-design of Main Avenue with the addition of 367 cars per peak weekday hour and 560 cars per peak weekday hour on weekends?
    .

    That is why I fought so hard for independent peer review of the study presented by the applicant’s traffic consultant, who is being paid by the applicant to sell this project to the Commission and the public. The Zoning Commission has EVERY RIGHT to ask for more information in this situation to review and comment on the technically complex solutions that we all are being promised will IMPROVE traffic flow, and find out if they will actually work, and let the record show that Maslan and GOP Chair Emily Wilson refused to grant my repeated requests for more information to protect the public health and safety of the residents and businesses of Norwalk.

  7. Mike Mushak

    Norwalk Sage, my lone “NO” vote on the Rowayton project was based on my shock that no one from staff in any meeting ever discussed the project’s compatabality with various historic district, village district, or master plan requirements that were brought up by many members of the public in the public hearing, leaving many unanswered questions in my mind and in the public’s mind. I expected the project to go back to committee for review after so many folks had serious questions about it, but that didn’t happen.

    The record will show that my 5-year tenure on the Zoning Commission has been very pro-development and pro-growth, voting with the majority many times, but with very careful scrutiny and conditions requested by me, after many questions being asked and information requested, as I study the applications carefully and understand many issues in great depth as a licensed landscape architect, the ONLY state-licensed design professional (architect, landscape architect, engineer, or urban planner) on the Commission, which is surprising for a city the size of Norwalk actually.

  8. Adam Blank

    From the leading treatise in Connecticut on land use:

    “The applicant will usually have a traffic expert analyzing traffic congestion, traffic volume (both at the peak and off-peak hours), intersection design, and traffic control devices. In large projects with significant opposition, the opponents will often hire their own traffic expert. While the agency, usually a zoning commission, may compare and rely upon the reports of the traffic consultants for the parties, it may hire its own traffic consultant to review or do an independent study of the proposal. In large projects analyzing the traffic impact is critical.”

    Fuller, 9 Conn. Prac., Land Use Law & Prac. § 14:15 (3d ed.)

  9. David

    Mike, I can attest to the mess in front of Stepping Stones, as I drive that way home nearly every day. It’s a disaster waiting to happen. I can’t believe they just didn’t install a filter light for the traffic coming from CT Ave.

  10. Piberman

    Well, so far no major protests by concerned residents either at City Hall or at the P&Z meetings. Our elected officials, save the commendable efforts by Mr Kimmel, have remained quiet about BJ’ quest to erect a Big Box on one of the City’s most congested thoroughfares. Our mayoral candidates remain quiet,too, suggesting they’re not unduly alarmed. Curious how our elected officials hired a nationally prominent attorney to protest a Mosque siting bringing traffic concerns, too. Yet BJs would bring many times the traffic of a Mosque. Looks like City officials favor the well being of BJs shareholders over City residents. After all with a stagnant Grand List reflecting punitive property taxes any new development no matter how destructive to our environment is encouraged. No wonder Norwalk’s P&Z governance is so admired by neighboring towns and cities. We are truly privileged by such thoughtful attention to our environment and well being. Democracy at work. Imagine if City officials thought BJs unduly affected traffic. Why they might hire a prominent attorney, too. We should be grateful.

  11. M Allen

    We need to stop mixing issues just because it may suit your purpose. BJ’s versus an imaginary, tax-generative alternative is not the issue here. If you have a competing alternative that should be considered, something more high value than a retailer that expands the Grand List, please get them to put forth their plan for development.
    .
    The issue here is traffic in a very specific location, making it an inappropriate location. The issue is NOT that Norwalk in its entirety is an inappropriate location. I know the traffic issue may fit the bill for some who are trying to stop BJ’s, or any other retailer, but we shouldn’t be trying to use the “Spotted Salamander Defense” simply to advance opposition to the Big Box Conspiracy.

  12. Suzanne

    Wow! I just watched the video in which Mr. Mushak made a whole lot of sense and Emily Wilson side-stepped her responsibilities every step of the way. Mr. Blank above shows exactly the context in which in this State Mr. Mushak’s requests are entirely reasonable. Mr. Mushak made it entirely clear that his concerns were for the safety and well-being of Norwalk citizens. Apparently, he is the only person, in this pro-development at all costs and extremely adversarial Commission, that is willing to put his sworn oath on the line on our behalf. This is pathetic, people.

    How nice for the Mayor to have his cohorts, along with his personal counsel, advise the Commission on what is and is not appropriate for our town without outside input, independent of the politics, neutral to anything but the facts, interested only in our safety, our welfare, our adjacent neighborhoods and, instead promote the impact of a controlled single-use, manipulated process as presented by, let’s face it, the Mayor, so skilled at manipulating without his face ever showing.

    Each person representing him and ignoring us should be wearing a Mayor Moccia mask, the mask people, who represent him, in truth, and get from behind the curtain. At the moment, I now understand the incivility and lack of transparency by these commissions since I just watched a Commissioner get the beat down when he performed to his sworn oath and did not dance the Moccia dance. It is beyond shame, beyond reprehensible, and completely embarrassing. I can’t WAIT for November.

  13. Joe Espo

    If, as Blank says, the opponents can commission their own traffic study, then Mushak should be faced with no impediment to having the competing traffic study be placed on the agenda for discussion or be presented at the upcoming public hearing. Minor detail: the opponents don’t have a study. For the city to spend the money on a competing study or a so-called “peer review” is going to likely require a capital appropriation by the Common Council and before that, authority from the planning commission. Does Zoning have accessible operating funds for a peer review? Doubt it. Mushak should have worked on this months ago. Epic fail- and no 4000 word Mushak rant is going change things.

  14. Suzanne

    Hello! One can only hope (and at this rate pray, throw the Hail Mary pass of hope), that the entire Commission would have the common sense to have more than one study done on an area being planned for a building 10 times the size Norwalk’s own city plan says is appropriate on a thoroughfare already congested with uncontrolled traffic. No, Mr. Mushak is on the correct path while the other Commissioners remain allied against our best interests with this mayor. A great way to kill an important issue is to just not include it on the agenda at a Commission hearing. Score another one for Moccia and against all of us who will really be affected by this misaligned, misleading, miss the boat plan. That is, zero to the citizens of Norwalk whose health and safety is expendable under this mayor and this mayor aligned Commission. The mask people.

  15. Adam Blank

    @Joe Espo – It is fair to debate whether a peer review study would be helpful as well as whether the City can afford the expense of a peer review study; however, you are way off-base suggesting that Mr. Mushak somehow dropped the ball by not asking for funding sooner. Mr. Mushak has been continually asking (demanding) funding for peer review studies for years on the Zoning Commission.

  16. Joe Espo

    The best interests of Norwalk are served by getting this superfund/brownfield site cleaned up and to put the land to its highest and best use. Only deep pocket developers are going to go anywhere near this land – as is evidenced by the fact that its stood empty for…what…20 years? You’re not going to get mom and pop developers to build on individual polluted subdivided lots for independent commercial development. No other private developer is competing with BJ’s for this property and it’s certainly not up to the city to develop it…unless you get the usual suspect kumbaya tree huggers who’ll want the city to buy this environmental disaster and turn it into a park for butterfly gardens and tulip tip-toeing.

  17. Joe Espo

    @Adam Blank- he hasn’t been trying hard enough and fast enough. The funding would have to come from appopriations to the relevant departments if requests are made: P&Z, DPW… the very departments who’s personnel Mike Mushak has an affinity for publicly defaming, belittling and insulting. Do you suppose Mike Greene or Hal Alvord would want to make budget requests to the Mayor and the council in Mushak’s behalf? The Mayor could request the appropriation for his old buddy Mike? Right? Mushak thinks he can wun hearts and minds with 4000 word insult ridden diatribes. It ovioulsly isn’t working because he is one of the most despised personalities that has ever participated in Norwalk politics and governance.

  18. Mike Mushak

    Thank you Adam for that clarification and the excellent comment earlier about state law authorizing Zoning Commissions to ask for independent traffic reports on large applications. We miss you on the Zoning Commission for the intelligent insight and fair approach you offered. One of the mayor’s many dubious reasons for not reappointing you was the need for new blood on the Commission, and I have to laugh out loud at that one when we compare and contrast you with the mayor’s two appointments from last summer who previously served a total of 27 years on the ZC, including all through the late 1980’s destructive rezoning of CT Ave from mixed-use into a traffic clogged big box heaven under Esposito.

    Mr. Espo, you are wrong on so many counts. If the Zoning Commission needed money for a peer review study, there are plenty of ways to get immediate funding in such a situation, with contingency funds and even the rainy day fund. Where there is a will there is way, even in government. When there is no will there are hundreds of excuses that can be found, just like your empty argument.

    Furthermore, you have no clue about the zoning process when you suggest I should have started working months ago on the peer review study. We did not see the BJ’s application at all until June of this year, just 8 weeks ago, even though the applicant stated that the traffic consultant had been working with city staff for almost an entire year already without the public or the ZC even knowing this. Considering that the Zoning Commission is responsible under state and local law for deciding what the information should be that it requires for an informed decision, I was admittedly peeved that the whole traffic study process was conducted behind closed doors by city staff with no input from the ZC until it was “too late”, presented as a “done deal” that could not be changed by both Maslan and the applicant by the time we discussed it at the July meeting. I think this is just plain wrong. Maslan did NOT have a clean grasp of the process at all in the last meeting, highlighted here in NON’s pages, including his ignorance of state law that Mr. Blank mentioned above.
    .
    My list of questions to staff about the specific process by which the traffic study is established as well as the rights of the ZC to ask for more information at any time, which I asked on August 12th and which I requested the answers be delivered by the meeting last night, have so far been ignored. I will have no choice but to make this an issue in this application if answers continue to be denied not only to me, but also to the rest of the Commission which would benefit from this knowledge.

    I will let others comment on whether they think this application is being handled in a professional and responsible manner by Mayor Moccia’a office, the Zoning staff, and certain members of the Zoning Commission including its Chair Emily Wilson. But based on recent other high-profile applications where questions were not answered by staff, and proper and legal processes were clearly not followed, I am trying to keep the process this time as transparent as possible and hold those in positions of power accountable for their decisions that have gotten us to where we are now, which in my mind is lacking enough information for the ZC to make an informed decision to protect public health and safety.

    I am not angry as much as I am disillusioned and disappointed with the whole mess our planning and zoning process has become. Norwalk voters and taxpayers should also be alarmed.

  19. Suzanne

    What is the city staff so afraid of that they must conduct business, directly beholden to the P and Z Commission, behind closed doors? Why is the P and Z Commission not allowed enough information to protect our health and safety? Why is it o.k. with the Moccia administration to continue to conduct business in this manner – this time it’s not only the constituency who is the “last to know”, it is its very own Commission, arguably the most important Commission, in the City of Norwalk that is not being allowed additional information about an important development matter, a matter that affects all of the City of Norwalk. Mr. Espo, you are keeping company with Tim T. if you think that the only options to a Superfund site is “Mom and Pop” vs. “Big Box” retail. You should do your research and find out where, in this country, Superfund sites existed and what is there now. I can assure you, it is more than just retail.

    I think the withholding of information by the City staff to the constituency and to its very own Commission has a lot to do with control and personal, not public, interests. If it does not, then why the lack of shared information? Why the lack of opportunity for public input, for additional studies? Saying, as the Chair Emily Wilson does, “It’s the regulations” is simply untrue as cited by Mr. Blank and cited in the meeting by Mr. Mushak. Whose interests is this serving if not those in control of the information? Anyone want to tell them or remind them that the City staff along with all Commissions and Authorities and other iterations of panels concerning this City are PUBLIC and beholden to the PUBLIC interest?

    Again, everyone get out and vote. This process is not only unjust, it is just plain weird in a democracy.

  20. Joe Espo

    I know Mike: everyone exhibits incompetence, secrecy, ineptitude,concealment, ignorance, unprofessionalism – except you and apparently Adam Blank. Now there are new victims, Emily Wilson and former Mayor Frank Esposito, who’s dead but gets no peace from your derision. Knopp is still alive. Call him to task for Home Depot and Costco. Yes, where there’s a will there’s a way but no one is willing to help you get your way because the folks that could help you get your way suffer the scars of your pointed diatribes. Further, the Zoning Commission has no authority to access the rainy day fund or the contingency fund without the intervention, involvement and consent of the council and other entities. You should have had the issue put on the council agenda for the last meeting.

  21. Joe Espo

    Suzanne: there’s a public hearing coming up on BJs. There will be plenty of opportunity for you and everyone else to comment. The Mushak item was not on the agenda because the Zoning Commission has no authority to act on the Mushak item. Blank quotes a treatise which says a Zoning Commission MAY hire its own traffic consultant, but the question is whether THIS Zoning Commission has the authority to do so, nevermind who will pay for it and how? I believe Blank may be selectively quoting from yje treatise. And you should also understand that Norwalk is not like most municipalities where the planning and zoning functions are under one commission. Our planning and zoning commissions are separate so that what may have passed muster with the planning commision would have restrictive effect on the Zoning Commission.
    .
    You are welcome to fund a traffic study.

  22. Don’t Panic

    @Espo
    Mr. Mushak is not a member of the council and cannot put items on its agenda. The CC agenda items move up through the appropriate committees.
    I, for one, am glad that Mr. Mushak and Mr. Blank continue to ask questions. Quite often, a public hearing is too late in the process to deal with the kinds of wholesale changes that such questions might trigger.
    I don’t see how either planning or zoning can declare it out of bounds to get information that will allow compliance with the master plan.

  23. jjones

    Let bj’s in …. It will be a nice boost to the grand list and employment opportunities

  24. Mike Mushak

    Joe Espo, once again you are totally wrong about an issue. Your credibility is nearing zero. Home Depot opened in 1996, and Costco in 2000, both stores having been proposed and approved under the Esposito Administration. If you want to pin those on Knopp you forgot to check your dates. Knopp was voted in in 2001. However, Knopp did believe in using professional consultants to bring some intelligence into Norwalk’s seriously broken planning process run by under-qualified bureaucrats. In that context, the 2006 Westport-North-Main Plan and Study conducted by a top national planning firm was commissioned under Knopp and FULLY incorporated into the 2008 Norwalk Master Plan.

    That plan recommended a maximum size of 10,000 square feet for the BJ’s site, and the BJ’s apication is 109,908 sf, over TEN TIMES the size our Master Plan calls for. A GOP Planning Commissioner named Cavallo lied about this plan and said it may not even exist, until I sent him the link on the city website. Surprising that an actual Norwalk planning commissioner appointed by Moccia was completely unaware of what was in the Master Plan, which only indicates how corrupt the planning process under Moccia has become, and why it needs to be cleaned up by a new mayor the same way Knopp had to clean up the huge mess left behind by the badly-managed Esposito era which we are still paying for in our flat grand list, struggling downtowns, and traffic-clogged sprawl.

  25. RU4REEL

    @JoeEspo,
    Please, I beg you, stop posting comments immediately!!
    If you truly believe the two men who stepped up against the machine, have done anything wrong, you are foolish.
    They are letting us know what nonsense goes on in the decision making process of OUR Moccia led city.
    You should be cheering their efforts, unless of course you do not live in Norwalk or you are really Moccia making these really silly comments.
    Please do not force NON to revoke your posting privileges, since on occasion you do actually make sense.
    Common sense, one more time with feeling, COMMON SENSE!!!

  26. Tim T

    jjones
    You are correct and actually the majority of Norwalk feels the same way. I have found that its just a few anonymous loud mouths on the internet that have issues with this. When speaking with a large group of people in the real world this past weekend, not one had an objection to this great improvement to Norwalk.

  27. Tim T

    Suzanne
    Have you considered funding and building the perfect building on that site? Tell us Suzanne what will it be and when will you start the project.

  28. Suzanne

    Oh, Tim T, don’t be silly. You are just picking up where Mr. Espo left off. Stick with the topic or don’t write at all.

  29. Suzanne

    Mr. Espo, I am a taxpayer just like you and as such have a great interest in the ways and means with which our town operates. What is demonstrated in the statement shown in video above is a Commission that just doesn’t want any questions asked or any salient issues entertained. We are lucky we have a Mr. Mushak on board who asks the common sense questions – you, however, while free to speculate, do not have this hard job. You can go ahead and criticize a person representing the citizenry and their health and safety while what, looking at dollar signs? The next cheap meal (or whatever) you are going to get at a BJ’s? Good luck getting there. There are several resources within the Town of Norwalk to fund a traffic study suggested by Mr. Mushak above – I pay my taxes and if that money is available, that is where it should go. Certainly what has been provided is wholly inadequate and does not address traffic congestion or overflow to adjacent residential neighborhoods. Living on a cut-off street to 1 and Home Depot, I have personal experience with this and it is not pleasant. Another study MUST be done showing these impacts. And,Mr. Espo, all of the insults and crass remarks in the world will not cover up the fact that a volunteer with experience in land use planning, the only one on the Commission, continues to ask on OUR behalf the questions that will NOT be entertained by legal counsel or this mayor. Frankly, I am sick of it. I can’t wait to vote this man and this administration, with all of its secrecy, mis-representations, tantrums, manipulations and lies out of office.

  30. Tim T

    Suzanne
    Maybe you missed the point. The point that was being made is that it is very easy for you to Monday morning quarterback the situation when the money to fix the site, build the building and make tens of thousands of repairs and upgrades to the roadway etc….. Also no need for your childish comments such as “Stick with the topic or don’t write at all” as I was not being disrespectful to you and I would expect the same courtesy of acting like an adult in return.
    FYI
    I am on the topic

  31. Norwalk Lifer

    West Rocks is home to two major schools in Norwalk, the Middle School houses the largest contigent of students in the city, and of course, there is All Saints, right there near the main vein, that would feed traffic from Route 7 to avoid a traffic clog.

    An independent study should be done; I agree with Mr. Mushak’s assessment.

    it’s one thing to have the city create a dangerous situation at the Boat Club, and for all of you who don’t think that is dangerous, guess again, a major attraction spot is located just pass that boat club, that would be Overtons.

    How many people have parked in front of Overton’s and then tried to back out, while eyeballing oncoming traffic blocked by the cars at the Boat Club?

    Of course, the libertarian minded would say, “You choose to go to Overton’s, that’s your responsibility”, and I agree.

    BUT, Kids that go to the middle school on West Rocks and kids who go to the Catholic school on West Rocks do not “Choose” to go there. Therefore it is incumbent on the commission to make safe passage for those students a priority.

    And anyone who thinks otherwise, and would invite contributors here, who will be showing up in Legions at the town meeting on this, to pay for it.

    Let me fill you in; we are going to.
    You can keep your skekels warm in your thinly lined pocket.

    It’s more important for the citizens of a city to act “responsibly” when it comes to the youth who will attend school at those schools. and again, anyone who thinks otherwise????

    Move.

    Regards
    Norwalk Lifer

  32. Norwalk Lifer

    You are correct and actually the majority of Norwalk feels the same way. I have found that its just a few anonymous loud mouths on the internet that have issues with this. When speaking with a large group of people in the real world this past weekend, not one had an objection to this great improvement to Norwalk.

    When a kid gets hit on West Rocks Road, please have a conversation with your large group again, and of course, please enlighten all of us with your viewpoint on why that kid was at fault for crossing a street,

    You aren’t thinking! those side roads are bonuses to those who travel Route 7 every morning, drivers who do not want experience the traffic snarls, shoot up those side roads, thinking that they can zip past those schools in their irresponsible attempt to get somewhere on time.

    So what happens? there comes enough compliants from the homeowners, and the NPD puts cruisers in the parking lots of the schools to monitor the speed of traffic.

    That means that cruisers that could be patrolling areas where there is independent crime occurring, are “forced” to compensate for the city by patrolling an area, where the traffic situation was “caused by the city itself”.

    Do you “get it now”? do you realize that your tax dollars are wasted by situations like this? do you understand that if we have to police on those roads to make sure the passages are “safe”, then we “must hire” more police to patrol other areas where crime DOES occur?

    Can people here for one minute stop and think about the effects of this? That’s what Mr. Mushak is saying.

    And Character assasinating him in order to promote some half baked thought just doesn’t cut it.

    That’s the stuff of those who don’t stop to think.

    if the whole argument is about revenue, jobs, economic growth, I’ll ask you one simple question; you talk to any realtor who is trying to sell a home and they will tell you, homes where there is high traffic, tend to suffer. So let’s make those homeowners on West Rocks suffer, and watch their property values decrease, so we can create another 300 to 500 low paying jobs, and further burden our medical system to the breaking point.

    I am surprised, I thought conservatives were smarter than this, obviously not.

    THAT last line was my own personal “Character assasination”.

    Regards
    Norwalk Lifer

  33. Don’t Panic

    Ahhh. It’s the old “everyone I talked to” defense. Did you happen to “talk to” the “few loudmouths on the internet” that showed up for the zoning meeting for BJs’ sign variance application? There were droves there.
    .
    The scorn for people exercising their rights as citizens in this city is palpable. There is a reason public hearings are held and public comment is available at these meetings.
    .
    It shouldn’t require a mob in order to do the right thing. That’s why elected and appointed representatives are asked to act on our behalf. I wish more of them understood their responsibility as well as Mr. Mushak.

  34. RU4REEL

    @Tim T
    Please I beg you too, STOP IT!!!

  35. notaffiliated

    How much will BJ’s add to the tax base?

  36. M Allen

    The ignorance of the argument for approving this project is astounding. I’m a Republican and it’s embarrassing that the argument seems to be: “BJ’s knows better than we do what is best for Norwalk” and “They are the only one willing to build on this site so give them whatever they want.”
    .
    Arguments such as this and just toeing the line are going to make it all that much more difficult with each passing project. Ram through the bad ones and projects worth fighting for are going to garner unnecessary opposition.
    .
    BJ’s wants to be in Norwalk. They have no other options this far south in Fairfield County unless they can find space in Stamford and would be willing to pay the higher price. They want to be here because it would be good for their business. We don’t have to give away the house over this site. We should either work with BJ’s to find a more suitable location or demand massive infrastructure improvements to Main Avenue on their dime. Not just another traffic light. That stretch of Maiin Avenue has so many traffic lights now that it is ridiculous.
    .
    And yes, letting it sit empty for another 20 years may just be the better option when compared to using ridiculous arguments for why Norwalk absolutely, 100% positively must disavow all common sense and merely acquiesce to this project.

  37. Anna Duleep

    @Mr. Berman – I may be a lame duck Councilwoman, but I did speak out against the BJ’s proposal at the Zoning Board of Appeals meeting. I said that the conditions making a normal-sized sign a “hardship” to BJ’s were really an indication that the project is a “misfit” for Main Avenue. https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/2013/08/norwalk-bjs-opponents-score-a-small-victory/
    @Bruce Kimmel – at that same ZBA meeting, Attorney Zullo reiterated a phrase I had found so shocking when I first read about it: that BJ’s will actually *improve* traffic.
    To all: if you would like help getting a copy of the full traffic study (the executive summary indicates BJ’s could improve traffic!), please contact me: [email protected].

  38. Joe Espo

    I apologize to all: in my compendium of Mushak’s favorite vituperative words, I neglected to list the word “corrupt”, as in: the mayor, the p&z office and the entire planning process is corrupt. His words. He means,of course, the mayor with whom Mr. Mushak admittedly struck a deal, deceived him, and compromised his principles in order to ensure his re-appointment to the zoning commission. The P&Z office, too, in Mr. Mushak’s estimation, is corrupt, though it understandable why he would hold them in such regard because they busted him on a couple of zoning violations in 2012 for illegally storing his work trucks at St. Paul’s – for over ten years. It’s public record and he admitted as much.

    So, Suzanne, Mr. Mushak may have rhyme and reason for his campaign against BJ’s, but consider the source and the motive; ergo the veracity of the argument.

    Norwalk Lifer: you complained that “(c)haracter assasinati(on) in order to promote some half baked thought just doesn’t cut it.” If you want to know about character assassination, please ask Mike Greene, the entire P&Z staff, the mayor, Emily Wilson, Hal Alvord, David McCarthy and a parade of others that are the objects of Mr. Mushak’s vile serial episodic rants…how would they define “character assassination?”

  39. Suzanne

    Mr. Espo, the veracity is in the common sense that is clearly documented: the BJ’s being proposed is 10 times the size of the recommended building from the City of Norwalk’s perspective with 10,000 square feet being the most appropriate. Documented. From the City of Norwalk. One traffic study indicating that the increase in traffic, particularly on week ends, was in the range of 700 cars in an already congested, ill-conceived road that already has traffic problems. There is no need to consider a single person’s “source and motive” when common sense will tell you that 700 more cars (or whatever was calculated but in the 100’s) will make traffic better because more stop lights will be installed and timed? Examine your common sense, Mr. Espo. How does this make any? And for all of the people you list re: character assassination, I would suggest to you that the language and personal attack without factual support is what makes the listed individuals’ writing so “vile”. Common discourse would imply sticking with the facts or discussing things openly and civilly. These people live under the veil of secrecy and collusion, not providing the data required to make good decisions at the Commission level. Why? What is in it for them? To my mind, each person you have mentioned is there to be of service to the citizens of Norwalk. Mike Mushak has demonstrated that on countless occasions enduring the cat calls and personal attacks by the latter group because, why? He asks questions out of service? He’s a pain because he perseveres on our behalf in terms of our health and welfare? I have heard his words and read his “diatribes.” While some of it is probably a bit too personal, on the whole I feel confident in his motives. Again, the latter group, reactive and withholding, not so much. This includes some of the P and Z staff with which I have had experience as well as Mr. Alvord who, at one time, spoke with me while I recorded our conversation, then LIED to an associate about ever saying he spoke with me or gave any information which, I am assuming because it required a work commitment, was easier than telling the truth about his incredibly delayed scheduling for a project. So, you see Mr. Espo, I too have experienced what many citizens have experienced with Commissions to which you name a few participants, Norwalk City staff and meetings. I think it is disgraceful – that it is coming up now is because citizens attended a meeting about the development of that lot and were summarily “dissed” with their words falling on deaf ears. A neighbor? Too bad! A school? What a shame! You are just going to have to learn to live with it because this horse has left the barn and big box is going to be what it is going to be. Can’t you see that that would be more than a bit annoying if not outright outrageous to the citizens who are supporting their town through taxes? So, Mr. Espo, while reading the meeting minutes and documentation of this process, I do pay attention to what Mr. Mushak says. He really does seem to be, albeit not perfect but, then, who is?, the only person speaking up for the well being of Norwalk citizens. That you see it as a few hundred more low wage jobs and a cap on a Superfund site? While that may be true, there are many more quality of life issues involved that have not been considered within the scope of this argument.

  40. Norwalk Lifer

    Norwalk Lifer: you complained that “(c)haracter assasinati(on) in order to promote some half baked thought just doesn’t cut it.” If you want to know about character assassination, please ask Mike Greene, the entire P&Z staff, the mayor, Emily Wilson, Hal Alvord, David McCarthy and a parade of others that are the objects of Mr. Mushak’s vile serial episodic rants…how would they define “character assassination?”

    Dear Mr. Espo:

    Again, I propose that you “allow” others to make up their own mind on this, I have already, and until I see some quantifiable data on how this city will manage the traffic flow past middle schools WITHOUT overburdening us with calls for “more money for more police” to cover the shortfall in resources, and please pay attention here, “clearly caused by the city promoting an environment where extra policing can and will be required”, then I am willing to listen.

    Until then?

    No Dice

    Regards
    Norwalk Lifer

  41. Mike Mushak

    I can assure Mr. Espo, who is obviously someone else under an alias (gee, I wonder who?), that the petty issue with where I keep my two small trucks is the least of my concerns right now, although not to my church, St. Paul’s on the Green, which just celebrated its 275th birthday last year (founded in 1737 when George Washington was just 5 years old.) The historic church has now lost the income from the rent I paid for the two trucks, money that it desperately depended on in these tough times. That issue however is NOT on my mind at all as I am watching our tax base stagnate, quality of life decrease, traffic increase, and entire areas of the city be put at risk with potentially bad planning decisions and the ignorance of our Master Plan.
    .
    That said, I can see that Mr. Espo, whoever he is, and who has called me lots of names and clearly has a strong desire to attack me on this page(wonder why?), is dying to pick a fight over where I keep my two small landscaping trucks as he loses his empty arguments about how wonderful Norwalk is currently being governed. The issue he refers to is two trucks that WERE parked at my church, in two spaces in a back corner not visible from the road for over TEN years with NOT A SINGLE COMPLAINT from any neighbor, church member, or visitor, until I started to expose the real corruption of process of the Moccia Administration, and suddenly after ten years of no problems an anonymous complaint in chicken scrawl was received by staff. We had no idea there was a code violation since the issue was so minor, maintenance trucks had been kept there on and off for decades long before I showed up according to the old folks, and we never imagined a church couldn’t keep a couple of trucks in a back corner of its parking lot. Even as a Zoning Commissioner the issue never came up before, and I actually could not find a restriction for trucks in the code when I looked after the notice of violation was received. I did go public immediately when it happened, on the record in a zoning meeting the day I received the notice, and highlighted how punitive our code was to the church that needed the income and convenience of having maintenance vehicles on site. I subsequently found out from staff that trucks are not specifically EXCLUDED from church grounds, they are just not INCLUDED in the language of what is allowed, as we have a more confusing and archaic INCLUSIVE code, and the issue of churches and trucks simply never came up since the text was written almost a century ago.
    .
    Subsequently, the church leaders and I realized that those trucks could actually be considered an accessory use, as all churches SHOULD be allowed to have for many obvious reasons beyond having a crucial income source, especially if they are used to maintain the grounds, plow, and do construction work on the property as I was doing. In this case the two trucks I own were used regularly to install ongoing projects to restore the 275-year-old crumbling church grounds and cemetery. When I joined St Paul’s eleven years ago, it was struggling to keep its doors open with just a few dozen members and serious infrastructure problems including leaking roof, crumbling spire, and barely-working pipe organ held together with duct tape. With new energetic leadership at that time, and an influx of new folks including me who had a dream to bring this important historic landmark and community asset back to life, I committed my life and resources along with many others to helping it recover and become the vital community asset it is today. We now have over 500 members, crowded and vibrant services, many different ministries, community outreach, and a successful music program with a huge children’s choir that has many local kids from disadvantaged backgrounds who flourish in that setting, and yet we are still struggling financially with the poor economy still inflicting it’s pain on donation levels, and of course the constant upkeep of the historic infrastructure.
    .
    We have accomplished much in the last decade however, by completely re-pointing the building and spire (remember the scaffolding six years ago?), fixing the roof, replacing the boiler (which needs replacing again), restoring the 1929 Skinner organ, and stabilizing and reversing the deterioration of the historic building and grounds which are listed on the National Historic Register.
    .
    Over the last ten years while my trucks were parked there paying rent(over $60,000 in ten years)to help fund the repairs to help the church come back to life, I have donated the labor and materials for the almost complete restoration of the historic cemetery surrounding the church, with many prominent early citizens of Norwalk buried there including soldiers from every war in the history of America, including the Revolutionary War and the earlier French and Indian War. We now conduct annual cemetery tours that draw many visitors. I also donated the installation and restoration of many of the paths and seating areas, donated and built a meditative stone labyrinth that draws folks from across the city, planted a healing garden that is used frequently by folks with chronic conditions and injuries, and designed and installed a 9/11 Memorial that includes a piece of twisted steel from the twin towers that we made accessible to the public from the sidewalk opposite the town green. The unveiling of the 9/11 monument on the 10th anniversary of that tragedy almost 2 years ago was attended by Mayor Moccia and over a hundred first responders and families of victims.
    .
    St. Paul’s is now missing the crucial much-needed rent I paid them for the two trucks ($500/month) after I removed them to appease the cease and desist order, which I never held city staff responsible for. They are just doing their job and had to follow the complaint, even though we still feel it was a legitimate accessory use that needs to be challenged legally in the future. The context and timing of this punitive action could not be more frightening. Grace Episcopal Church in downtown Norwalk just closed recently due to lack of funds, leaving a big hole in the community near Union Park, and the landmark yellow brick Methodist Church on West Ave had to close just three years ago for financial difficulties. Many churches in Norwalk also keep trucks in their yards to help them pay the bills, including many of the historic and culturally vital community churches in South Norwalk.
    .
    If Mayor Moccia wants to use well-paid taxpayer-funded zoning staff to declare war on all of these churches in Norwalk because of a few trucks in their parking lots kept overnight, which they depend on to help pay the bills, while rampant blight and illegal apartments where low-income folks are living in firetraps and squalor in basements and attics go unenforced all over town, I suggest he have at it and watch what happens. The backlash will be severe and immediate. It will also cement the notion that the Moccia Administration has its priorities all wrong, and is using staff to fight his personal vendettas which we all know is exactly why St. Paul’s on the Green was written up for a violation. He’s done it many times before. Just ask former Councilmember Laurel Lindstrom about her harassing health code violations for her little patch of wildflowers on her front lawn when she complained about the deplorable condition of the old abandoned Fitch School, just months after Mayor Moccia was elected.(Mayor Moccia called me and left a nasty threatening voice mail on my machine even though I never had met him at the time, back in early 2006, when I wrote a letter to the editor defending Ms. Lindstrom. I saved it for a few years until I got a new machine, and would play it back for friends who were always shocked our mayor would do that to someone he didn’t even know!). Or ask Nora King about her thorough roof to basement zoning inspection, which found no violations but was unusual in that the actual P and Z Director conducted it, instead of the normal inspector, when she was running against Dave McCarthy for Council a few years ago. The fact is the Moccia Adminstration and the GOP establishment have routinely used city staff to conduct their dirty vendettas against their political foes, and now I am included in that select group, except this time an entire church with over 500 members has been targeted, with a main income source it needs eliminated, as well as potentially many more churches all over town when they have to start enforcing this across the board to avoid a charge of selective enforcement. I think they bit off more than they could chew with this one.
    .
    The interesting truth here in an aside is that I totally agreed with Attorney Zullo earlier this year who spoke passionately in a hearing about contractor facilities, where he made the strong point that there are very few affordable locations for most small contractors in Norwalk, who have just two or three small trucks on average (which is now the majority of contractors since so much industry has shut down and many blue collar folks have had to start their own businesses, unlike decades ago when contractors were mostly larger companies and when our codes were written in that context). The zoning code is obsolete when it comes to contractor facilities, which assumes every contractor is some huge business with dozens of trucks needing a quarter acre of space, which when all is said and done costs well over a million dollars to develop properly. Very few contractors can afford that, yet Mike Greene has resisted helping contractors change this for many years, and in fact there is evidence on the record from that spring hearing that instead of helping contractors stay and thrive in Norwalk, he actually drove them out of town by writing them up for multiple violations costing them expensive legal fees, for using the space they had the way they needed to to run their business, not the way our obsolete code required. The testimony from several real estate experts and lawyers supported this notion that our P and Z staff were NOT business friendly but were actually driving business our of Norwalk. What sense does that make? Meanwhile, acres of unused and abandoned potential contractor space is keeping our tax base lower, neighborhoods blighted and crime-ridden, and preventing the economic engine of Norwalk from humming again with prosperity. I made the point in the hearing that one small contractor with a couple of trucks and just a few employees actually represents a lot of potential business to a local deli, wholesale supplier, tire store, mechanic, show store, etc.
    .
    It’s a web of prosperity that the city still is struggling to get back to after decades of stagnation, and a lot of that has to do with the obsolete zoning code, not just about dealing with accommodating small contractors but about entire zones that are not properly dealt with, from obsolete 70’s era parking requirements to suburban-style fear of downtown density that the city needs to create more walkable and livable areas. The entire planning and zoning system in Norwalk is dysfunctional and running on bureacratic fumes, and needs a professional overhaul that only new leadership and staff can do I am afraid.
    .
    I struggled to help amend our obsolete code earlier this year for contractor facilities, and the whole process was mishandled from beginning to end, with staff ignoring text changes the Commission requested until it was too late to change it, and an imperfect amendment being passed that did not satisfy the desperate contractor community that literally has begged for help for years. I thought GOP folks were supposed to be business-friendly, but you wouldn’t know that from the way this process to make our code more business friendly has been handled by the GOP Chair and other Commissioners. We promised the public we would come back to this later in the year, which is now, but I have not heard anything about it at all from staff or the Commission leadership. The well-organized contractor community will be watching to see if GOP Chair Emily Wilson will honor her promise she made to them to revisit this and further amend the obsolete code before the end of the year.
    .
    Finally, the record is quite clear that I was asking serious questions about and writing about the corrupt processes in City Hall and in our broken planning system and obsolete zoning code for many years long before the Moccia Administration decided to go after both my church and my business with an obscure violation based on an “anonymous” complaint. The absurdity that this might “silence” me underestimated the strength of my convictions and of my fellow church members, who are generally appalled at the situation. While I found another location to keep my two trucks, the church has been penalized with a loss of much needed income, and Mayor Moccia and his vindictive cronies may have won the battle against my church but they are sure to lose the war when churches across the city receive their cease and desist orders from P and Z Director Mike Greene for having a few trucks in their big empty parking lots at night to help them pay the heating bill.
    .
    We have really reached a new low in this city with this one. Thanks for bringing it up Mr. Espo. You are actually providing a valuable service on this page sometimes!

  42. Joe Espo

    St. Paul’s was founded in January of 1737, so George Washington would have been only four years old.

  43. Independent Taxpayer

    Well played, Mr. Espo. Well played.

  44. Mr Norwalk Ct

    Heading to BJ’s in Fairfield and then Lowes in Milford. I can’t wait for opening day of these great additions to Norwalk. Hopefully Target and Christmas tree shop will be next to come to Norwalk.

  45. Mike Mushak

    Wow, Mr. Espo, I am so flattered to know you are up in the middle of the night carefully reading my posts at 4 AM, even though you complain incessantly that no one reads my “4000 word diatribes” as you call them. I guess no one except you!

    Your source of St. Paul’s founding month of January 1737 (no one knows what month it was actually), must be the same source you put the approval and opening dates of both Home Depot and Costco in the wrong millennium and under a different mayor altogether several posts earlier in this thread (you tried to pin it on Knopp elected in 2001, when those stores opened years earlier under ESPOSITO who helped rezone CT Ave in the late 80’s from a healthy mixed-use zone to a traffic-clogged big box mecca, with the help of guess who, Mike Greene, who believe it or not was then and still is Director of Planning and Zoning, and also, unbelievably, with the help of the combative and unsinkable crony Joe Santo who is STILL on the Zoning Commission in 2013 who Mayor Moccia reappointed last year (even though Mayor Moccia didn’t reappoint the exponentially more helpful and much brighter Adam Blank because as Moccia put it , “we need new blood on the Commission”!

    Back to St. Paul’s. If you, Mr. Espo, were somehow correct and found an historic reference pinning the St. Paul’s founding to the actual month of January 1737, at that time George Washington’s birthdate was recorded under a different calender (Julian vs. Gregorian) being used in the British Empire at the time,as referenced here:

    “Contemporary records, which used the Julian calendar and the Annunciation Style of enumerating years, recorded his birth as February 11, 1731. The provisions of the British Calendar (New Style) Act 1750, implemented in 1752, altered the official British dating method to the Gregorian calendar with the start of the year on January 1 (it had been March 25). These changes resulted in dates being moved forward 11 days, and for those between January 1 and March 25, an advance of one year. For a further explanation, see: Old Style and New Style dates.”

    We know George Washington’s birthdate was moved a year and 11 days forward from February 11 1731 to Feb 22 1732, but we may never know if St. Paul’s founding date was similarly treated by historians in 1752 when the calender changed, so George Washington could have been anywhere between 4 and 6 years old when our church was founded depending on the month King George II signed the papers. That’s why we say he was 5 years old, a rounded number(as if any of this really matters, but you asked.) After the second church building to be on the same site (the current one is the 5th actually) was burned to the ground by the British on July 11th 1779 during the Burning of Norwalk,(even though it was a Church of England with some Loyalists as members), it became a new member of the brand new Episcopal Church after the Revolution ended, was rebuilt after the war, and became the very first Episcopal Church to be consecrated by an Episcopal Bishop in the US.

    Imagine if this nationally important and historic church of St. Paul’s that is the center of a vibrant community had to close its doors a decade ago as so many other historic churches have in recent years in Norwalk. Now imagine a Mayor and a Planning and Zoning office that are blind to the importance of churches in our community and send out inspectors to shut down income sources that those churches desperately need to keep their doors open to everyone serving important needs in the community. No need to imagine anything here. It’s actually what Norwalk taxpayers are paying for as we speak.

  46. M Allen

    Personally I just skip to the beginning of each new paragraph to see if it begins with anything relevant. Typically not.

  47. Mike Mushak

    XO, M Allen! Have a great weekend!

  48. Retail Warrior

    A lot of you are missing the big picture.

    The reason Walmart has two stores in Norwalk was to prevent Target from coming in.

    The reason for BJs to come to Norwalk is to compete with Costco. Nothing else.

    These are billion dollar entities and these stores are merely pawns.

    Let’s take their money and give our residents competitive options without having to leave lower Fairfield county. Maybe it will take some traffic off of I95. Who knows, but peak traffic at BJs will not be during school hours despite what the hysterics would have you believe.

  49. RU4REEL

    Mr. Mushak, you have been mislead. I attempted to make an anonymous complaint in person and was told I had to put my name, including address down.
    My complaint was about an illegal garage apartment, which you touched on.
    So why would they accept such a complaint in regard to you, when I could not do the same with my anonymous complaint?
    Answer: Someone on the second floor does not like you Mr. Mushak.
    Keep the heat on them sir, you are doing fine from where I sit and many more of us agree with you.
    The question is how often do complaints get ignored and only if the mayor has a vendetta do they act.
    Thanks and good luck!

  50. Norwalk Lifer

    Right, let’s take their money, and give away our neighborhoods, surprising short sighted, in fact,

    Small minded, let’s turn Norwalk’s main corridors into Milford’s main corridors, I am sure anyone who review the values of homes on the water in Milford will find they are considerable less valued than the ones at Wilson Point, Hickory Bluff, and Harbor View, not to mention East Norwalk of course.

    Yes, let’s do this, and watch what people have built, drain out from under their feet.

    And insofar as traffic during school hours? I would argue all you have to do is look to Walmart’s parking lot on Route 7 every morning at 7:30, now where do you suppose those cars come from? Why West Rocks Road of course!, now let’s double the traffic flow by moving a BJ’s right down the road!, Yes, that makes perfect sense.

    Regards
    Norwalk Lifer

  51. piberman

    Maybe there is more “hope” for Norwalk than commonly realized. Mr. Mushak’s thoughtful commentaries make one wonder what might happen if a few more such capable and knowledgeable individuals were invited to serve their citizens on the P&Z. So far the P&Z suggests our Norwalk tradition whereby there are no requirements for anyone to serve on any Commission or seek public office may warrant review. At the very least the outpouring of public approbation about the BJ siting and studied silence of our City’s administration supporting the BJ application in an election year is quite remarkable. Its not often that our Republican Mayor and former Democrat Mayor join forces to impose an unwanted Big Box. Former Mayor attorney Zullo is being paid for his efforts. But what is Mayor Moccia’s motivation for advocating a demonstrable traffic nightmare ? This is real political drama. Could there be Democratic “outrage” over the BJ siting sufficient to influence the election ? Imagine the press opportunities of the two mayors cutting ribbons when BJ’s opens. Could be a pivotal moment for Norwalk.

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