Quantcast

Mushak continues fight against proposed Norwalk BJ’s

NORWALK, Conn. – The argument over a BJ’s Wholesale Club proposed for Norwalk’s Main Avenue continued Thursday night, as a Quixotic Norwalk zoning commissioner raised his voice in frustration, saying that an expensive transportation study isn’t worth as much as toilet paper because it is being ignored.

Mike Mushak, a Democrat, questioned some of the state’s guidelines for the traffic study done for the application and continued to push for an independent review of that traffic study. He also suggested that Republican Mayor Richard Moccia didn’t want new zoning regulations on Main Avenue because they would have prevented the proposal for the 109,000-square-foot store on the Superfund site formerly occupied by ELINCO (Electric Indicator Co.).

Republicans expressed exasperation, told Mushak he was wrong, defended the mayor and, at one point, said his argument was nonsensical.

Mushak asked the 20 to 25 people watching at that point if they could follow his argument. More than half raised their hand to signify that they could, even though commissioner Joe Santo called the argument “esoteric.”

Much of Mushak’s argument had the tone of a broken record, but there were some new thoughts thrown in – there is a state law that says a municipality can do an independent review of a traffic study if it wants to.

Attorney Frank Zullo and others said there already is an independent review being done by city agencies, including the Department of Public Works.

“Yes, the city agency, the DPW that just put the bike lanes in on Strawberry Hill that are completely whacky,” Mushak said.

Mushak questioned the reliability of the Connecticut Department of Transportation, because the traffic plan calls for the state to synchronize six traffic lights in the area of the store.

Michael Galante of Frederick Clarke Associates, who did the traffic study, said the Traffic Authority would have to sign off on the project before the CDOT would authorize it.

Zoning Commission Chairwoman Emily Wilson, who is running for a Common Council at-large seat, referred to synchronized lights on Connecticut Avenue.

“I understand from staff that it generally is a phone call up to the state to let them know that they’ve gotten out of sync, and they’ll put them back in sync,” she said.

Staff members had confirmed for Mushak that the lights controlling pedestrian safety for the crosswalk at Main Avenue and Perry Avenue were not functioning correctly. Senior citizens who live in the Laura Raymond Homes cross Main Avenue to get to the CVS with the help of the traffic control system, and then have to take their chances getting back across the street because the pedestrian lights do not work, staff confirmed.

Mushak said he had watched a mother and her two children dash across the street three days ago because the pedestrian signal does not work. Residents have told him it has been broken for two years, he said, in spite of multiple phone calls to the state.

“If a crosswalk signal can’t be fixed in two years by the state, how are all the miraculous timing computers up and down Main Avenue going to work and be maintained by the state?” Mushak asked.

“They have traffic systems all over the state of Connecticut,” Galante answered. “Many of them work quite well. I see some that are off cycle, they go on cycle pretty quickly. It’s a computer model. In some cases they can make that change in Hartford. They don’t need to come down to Norwalk to make a change.”

Mushak zinged that.

“Well, apparently the line is broken between Norwalk and Hartford,” he said.

Galante said he would make a phone call to the state Friday about the crosswalk.

Zullo said BJ’s wants the road to be safe.

“We’re concerned about traffic, too,” he said. “We don’t want to build a store that no one can get to, spend millions of dollars. On the other hand, we’re concerned that the people who want to get to it can get to it safely and efficiently. We all share the same concerns.”

He agreed the city has the right to do an independent “peer review” of the traffic study at its own expense if it wants to, but, “Peer review is not a natural thing in any particular community.”

“Neither is a 109,000-square-foot building on a spot that is recommended for 10,000 square feet,” Mushak said, a reference to the Norwalk Transportation Plan, which cost the city about $500,000 and is being ignored by Zoning, he said.

Zullo said that plan also says the Elinco site might be acceptable for a big development, as an exception to that guideline.

Mushak also mentioned the 2006 Westport-North Main Corridor Study, which is incorporated into the city’s 2008 master plan.

“We should have changed our zoning years ago on Main Avenue,” he said. “We wouldn’t be sitting here, we wouldn’t have this project and we wouldn’t have petitions coming out our ears.”

He asked why the regulations hadn’t been changed. Deputy Planning and Zoning Director Mike Wrinn said it was because zoning commissioners hadn’t changed them.

Mushak layed it at the mayor’s feet.

“Since 2008, five years ago, we were told to change the zoning on this strip and nothing has happened,” he said. “I don’t think Mayor Moccia wanted anything to happen.”

Santo winced. “Don’t go there, Mike,” he said.

Linda Kruk, newly appointed by Moccia to the commission as a replacement for Adam Blank, disputed the comment.

“I don’t think that had anything to do with it,” she said.

Norwalk Zoning Committee 091213 062
Michael Galante of Frederick Clarke Associates reacts to Zoning Commissioner Mike Mushak’s skepticism about his honesty in supporting the BJ’s Wholesale Club application.

Mushak’s other issue was the state’s guideline allowing Galante to discount 20 percent of the traffic on Main Avenue as part of his study on the theory that drivers who are already on the road see the store and decide to pull in.

BJ’s is a membership only club, Mushak said. You don’t just pull in.

He said 4 percent of eligible Americans are BJ’s members, and if you apply the same percentage to Norwalk, the 20 percent figure is inflated. Galante, Wilson and Santo did not agree.

“I’m not following you because it doesn’t make any sense,” Wilson said.

“That’s so esoteric nobody understands you,” Santo said.

“If you have a CVS on the corner not everyone is a CVS customer,” Galante said. “They might like Rite Aid. What’s the difference? It’s still the same 25,000 cars.” Plus, “I can go into BJs and become a member for one day.”

Mushak said Galante would agree with BJ’s, as BJ’s is paying him.

“I’m saying it because I’m standing behind it,” Galante said. “I’m not just making up numbers.”

Zullo defended the traffic engineer. He said Galante isn’t using the 20 percent figure at the entrance to the BJ’s and considers the figure too low.

“I have used Mr. Galante on many projects,” he said. “As you know, six months after a project is built, your staff goes out and sees if the conclusions that were arrived at were indeed correct. Mike, you can agree or disagree but I think you can confirm that on his projects, he’s been conservative.”

A public hearing on the application is planned for 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, in Concert Hall.

Norwalk Zoning Committee 091213 059
Zoning Commissioner Mike Mushak makes his final pleas for information from BJ’s Wholesale Club representatives before next week’s public hearing.

Corrections made 10:31 a.m.: Mike Wrinn, not Mike Greene; Perry Avenue, not Perry Street.

Comments

54 responses to “Mushak continues fight against proposed Norwalk BJ’s”

  1. EveT

    … the city has the right to do an independent “peer review” of the traffic study at its own expense if it wants to, but, “Peer review is not a natural thing in any particular community.”
    “Neither is a 109,000-square-foot building on a spot that is recommended for 10,000 square feet”…
    Thank goodness we have at least one zoning commissioner with some common sense and the courage to speak up.

  2. Dorothy Mobilia

    We’re missing the point here, though the traffic is horrific and stop and go. Even without a new box store, try to drive along that stretch in a timely manner. Most of us already use side streets to avoid the bottlenecks. But the larger issue is, the commission is being asked to just move squares around a map, instead of looking at that tract as part of a community, a neighborhood, for the people who live there. What is best for that site? Many people who live in the Laura Raymond housing are self-reliant and independent. In letters to the editor, they have said they would like a grocery, such as a Trader Joe’s, and other suitable stores, on that site. As it is, they have to car-pool with residents with cars to get to food stores. Theirs is a lovely, welcoming home for seniors that is continually being isolated. Nearby residents would also greatly benefit from a thoughtful look at what would work best for the community as a whole.

  3. loveforthecity

    Good for you Mr. Mushak!

  4. Suzanne

    es·o·ter·ic adjective \ˌe-sə-ˈter-ik, -ˈte-rik\
    : only taught to or understood by members of a special group : hard to understand

    : limited to a small number of people

    Good old Merriam Webster’s. Mr. Santo needs to study up. Common sense is severely lacking in this argument by Commission members and not from Mr. Mushak. 100,000+ building vs. 10,000 square feet recommended. 700 more cars on the road on week ends with a dubious connection to Hartford to correct out of sync traffic lights. That staff watched a mother with children trying to cross one of the adjacent intersections adjacent to this project using a cross walk at a traffic light and “take her life into her hands” with adjacent neighbors at an old folks home saying complaints had been lodged for years without result? The only FACT reported here. That the City is studying the situation, departments heavily and proven heavily influenced by Mayor Moccia, hell-bent on this project? Clearly conflicts of interest will be at play in any results reported. “Peer review is not a natural thing in any particular community,” from the experienced attorney. Well, in Norwalk, it should be. And Ms. Kruk is performing exactly as Mayor Moccia intended with the concerns about Mr. Blank’s being relegated to the proverbial pasture confirmed. A yes person all the way.

  5. Suzanne

    Yay Dorothy Mobilia! You have just keyed into the needs of the community in a very specific and constructive way. Thank you!

  6. Rolling Ridge Resident

    All the residents living in the surrounding neighborhoods of this section of Main Avenue regularly deal with the consequences of the Main Avenue traffic and local neighborhood traffic congestion. It is a highly populated area without the infrastructure to support the traffic flow. The screech and bang of serious auto accidents are a regular occurrence in this area. The residents at Rolling Ridge and the Laura Raymond homes usually have a bird’s eye view of the Main Avenue accidents and EMS response. Traffic chaos ensues when Metro North passes through several times a day. The DOT already controls the traffic lights at the intersections abutting the railroad tracks. Try getting off the Route 7 connector when Metro North is passing through. Depending on the time of day, it might take you 20 minutes or more to navigate the traffic jam. I agree that the surrounding neighborhoods need to be addressed. The traffic issues expand far beyond Main Avenue itself. Try driving, walking, or biking up Aiken Street to West Rocks Road when there are soccer games at West Rocks School on a weekend during the school year. Good luck dodging the children and cars. It is only a matter of time before there is a horrific tragedy on Aiken Street at West Rocks School. Speeding is already a significant problem on Aiken Street and West Rocks Road, despite a 20 mph school zone. Most residents in the area, myself included, already use West Rocks Rd and Linden St to avoid Main Avenue. Silvermine Ave, Broad Street, Perry Ave, and Glover Ave are also used to avoid sections of Main Avenue and Route 123. The intersection of Main Avenue/123/Dunkin Donuts is a nightmare with traffic, accidents, and near-misses. BJ’s would be a terrific addition to Norwalk, but this particular area of Norwalk does not have the infrastructure to support it.

  7. EastNorwalkChick

    “Since 2008, five years ago, we were told to change the zoning on this strip and nothing has happened,” he said. “I don’t think Mayor Moccia wanted anything to happen.”
    .
    I believe this statement gets to the crux of the problem…
    .
    Commissioner Mushak seems to be the only one that is showing any common sense on this matter….the rest seem to be there to do Moccia’s bidding.

  8. RU4REEL

    Moccia, stop the nonsense, tell YOUR (not ours) commissioners to cut the crap and deny the application.
    It is TOO big for the site and Mushak is the only voice heard that makes any sense.

  9. Dig Deeper

    Who buys tainted land without assurances of approvals? Who stands to benefit from the approvals? Who stands to lose if denied?
    :
    http://www.concord-sots.ct.gov/CONCORD/online?sn=PublicInquiry&eid=9740
    :
    272-280 MAIN AVE, LLC
    Business ID: 1056791
    Date Inc/Registration: Dec 22, 2011
    Principals Details: JAKE GOUDIS MEMBER

  10. NorwalkSage

    What we have here is a symbiotic relationship between NancyOnNorwalk and the BJ’s opposition. I hope you guys appreciate how you’re using each other. Nancy gets to turn a NIMBY issue into an overinflated political struggle, not missing a chance to label personalities by their party affiliation. Mushak abuses his role on the Zoning Commission to hear himself obnoxiously and endlessly mouth off, egged on by the NIMBY folks. BJ’s is cleaning up the site and has committed to IMPROVE on existing traffic issues. The fact that Mushak ignores this should only convince Norwalkers that his agitation is self serving.

  11. NorwalkSage

    Moreover in the category of “equally excessively tragic and funny” is the Rilling ad at the top of this page, right above where it says, “We believe independent journalism that focuses on local government is important”. But I’ll give NoN the benefit of the (albeit increasing) doubt and opine that she is actually independent, and just trying to highlight partisan controversy, regardless of how miniscule its basis may be.

    1. Mark Chapman

      @Sage

      With regards to your comment about symbiotic relationships, the news media always has a symbiotic relationship with news makers. When someone is “fighting city hall,” so to speak — and in this case speaking for a larger group — it is the responsibility of the news media to bring it to the public’s attention. Media that simply reports one side of an issue and ignores the opposition is being irresponsible. That is what is wrong in the media today — too much stenography, not enough reporting and not enough looking at life from both sides (note, Mr. Mushak’s side is not the only one reported).

      With regards to Mr. Rilling’s ad, we cannot work for free. And, from prior experience and from research of local news sites across the country, readers are not willing to pay a subscription fee after years of people giving away their work online. Thus we must sell ads and look for donations and, should we go non-profit, grants. I should note that Mayor Moccia has recently told us twice — including yesterday — that he intends to advertise here shortly. We hope other politicians of all stripes follow suit. And businesses. That’s because we are not hobbyists or disaffected bloggers. We are career journalists trying to make a living. Can’t do that without ads…

  12. Mike Mushak

    Norwalk Sage, Norwalk taxpayers have paid for millions of dollars of expert professional studies by nationally prominent firms to tell us how to fix our broken city and obsolete zoning code. We pay the highest salaries in the state to our Planning and Zoning staff, who have the responsibility to implement our Master Plan which was worked on ove many years by dozens of experts and hundreds of citizens and which includes millions of dollars of studies that are incorporated into the body of the text.
    .
    Mayor Moccia gets elected in 2005 and stops all performance reviews of staff, the by-laws of the Zoning Commission get ignored by staff and GOP Commissioners with impunity, studies are ignored, most progressive zoning changes recommended by the experts are halted, bad planning decisions are routinely made with no vision to long term consequences to the city, and I am bullied and ridiculed for trying to bring some semblance of professionalism, accountability, and transparency back to a very dysfunctional planning and zoning process.
    .
    My oath as a zoning commissioner is to protect public health and safety and do the best job I can. The process has been so dumbed-down under Moccia that I have no choice but to fight for what I believe is the best course of action for Norwalk. As a professional landscape architect and the only licensed design professional on the Zoning Commission (architect, engineer, landscape architect, or urban planner), a shocking fact in a city the size of Norwalk, I have a unique insight into the shortcomings of our current broken system.
    .
    Without any professional planners running our Plannimg and Zoning Department (an absurd condition for a city the size of Norwalk with complicated problems to solve), no accountability, no transparency, and GOP appointees who are chosen for their loyalty to the Mayor who are relentless in preventing much-meeded progressive changes (not because they have any vision of their own but simply because incompetence and mediocrity are easy concepts for this crowd to handle), we end up with the current deplorable situation where professionals like me are left arguing for the most minimal amount of integrity in our process. Instead of celebrating excellence which Norwalk taxpayers deserve for what we are paying for, we are left fighting petty battles with entrenched bureaucrats and party hacks.
    .
    Smart professionals who challenge the status quo like Adam Blank are run off the commissions, and replaced with Moccia’s cronies who will vote whichever way the Mayor wants them to with little regard to the serious issues at play with these large projects that have huge impacts on public health and safety, traffic, quality of life, and the long term impacts.
    .
    Norwalk is now held up around the state by professional planners as a good example of how NOT to plan a city, with a our emphasis on encouraging car-oriented and traffic-generating sprawl and limiting downtown density, exactly the opposite of current planning trends as cities are being reinvented as vibrant livable, walkable, and bikable environments.
    .
    When former Joe Santo said last night as seen in the video, that all I have to do is suggest zoning regulation changes to staff and they will happen, I have to laugh at the prospect as the reality is much different based on much evidence. For example, Norwalk currently has the most obsolete drainage standards of any city on the Sound, standards that are over 30 years old, so that every time it rains we end up with polluted storm water carrying trash and toxins into our beautiful river and harbor. This despite billions being spent by towns, cities, states, and federal agencies over the last 30 years to clean up the Sound. Our harbor supports one of Norwalk’s oldest and largest industries, oyster farming, and along with the thriving boating industry the harbor is Norwalk’s greatest asset worth protecting through updated drainage standards as all other cities except us have implemented.
    .
    When I suggested to staff and the Commission that we should update our standards and hire a drainage consultant to help us, all hell broke loose among Moccia’s cronies on the Commission, saying we couldn’t afford it and it didn’t need to be done. This despite the fact that we had raised our fines a few years earlier to afford hiring experts, and we should have had tend of thousands to do just that. Joe Santo, who was chair at the time, routinely barked at me at meetings when I brought it up, and even violated ethics rules by telling staff to ignore my requests to have the meeting minutes altered to reflect actual conversations about the issue. Finally, in z public hearing when I brought up the issue for the pteemth time because it is so important, P and Z Director Mike Greene yelled at me into the microphone in front of a crowded room “if you want the drainage standards updated why don’t you just do it yourself!” I replied that I a volunteer and that he is being paid $150,000 a year by taxpayers to do that job, and he should do his job. Afterwards, a prominent developer who was present thanked me for standing up to Greene, who in his 30 years of experience in Norwalk was holding the city back and was a nightmare to work with.

    I hope and pray that someday Norwalk will have a professional and accountable government that taxpayers deserve, and that folks like me can concentrate onaking the city better instead of fighting these forces of ignorance and incompetence. In the meantime, I will continue to get loud at times and call them as I see them. Moccia and Maslan hater for exposing their corruption of process, and that’s fine with me. I didn’t get involved in city business to please them or anyone else.
    .
    I got involved because I want to contribute my talents to improving this great city, and I want to protect my investment in a city with great untapped potential to be a vibrant destination again as it once was decades ago, and that is currently broken on so many levels from gross mismanagent and petty nonsense that only a clean sweep in November will guarantee a return to professionalism and integrity in City Hall.

  13. Joe Espo

    “We should have changed our zoning years ago on Main Avenue,” he said. “We wouldn’t be sitting here, we wouldn’t have this project…”

    Well, Mike: 1. “we” did not change the zoning regs and its an epic fail on you You, Adam Blank and Harry Rilling missed the opportunity to have changed them during all the years you were on the Commission…BEFORE the BJ’s application was filed.
    .
    2. You can change the zoning regs to conform to the master plan now but they won’t apply to BJ’s because the application is already in.
    .
    3. Therefore, you can’t deny the application because it doesn’t conform to non-existent or inapplicable zoning regs.
    .
    To do so will almost certainly result in a lawsuit and legal expenses that could be put to better use building bike lanes.
    .
    You’ve been a zoning commisioner for years. You know better. This is zoning 101. Stop wasting everybody’s time.

  14. Ergo

    This reminds me of the mosque on Fillow Street. I don’t think people are opposed to having a BJ’s, it’s just that we don’t want it at that location. Just like the mosque, the area they want to put the BJ’s can not successfully accomodate the needs of the BJ’s. It just can’t. At the end of the day it’s just common sense.

  15. M Allen

    In the case of a special permit, which I believe is what BJ’s has before the commission, can it simply be denied outright for noncompliance with existing zoning regs? Or must the denial include additional reasons beyond the basic noncompliance? I am tryng to understand how the city opens itself up to a lawsuit if the developer is basically asking for a variance to begin with. If I want to build an addition on my house and one corner of it encroaches into the setback line, I will be forced to apply for a variance. Can’t they just say: No variance for you. Thank you for your application fee.

  16. M Allen

    @ Ergo – I would disagree to the traffic issue in one way: the increased traffic could be handled if Main Avenue from Stop & Shop to Dunkin Donuts was widened to resemble Main Avenue from Stop & Shop to Wal Mart. Basically every intersection from Stop & Shop to Wal Mart goes 5 lanes wide, including the left turn lane in each direction. In the case of BJ’s, they are planning on just widening the road in front of BJ’s to install a left turn lane.

  17. Oldtimer

    A newcomer, looking at this case, would quickly get the impression that the “fix” was in and everybody but Mushak was in on it. Looking at the LLC referenced above, only one name comes up, Jake Goudis with an address at the site ? How does one form a corporation with only one name submitted ? Other corporations usually show at least three names as incorporators with real addresses where they live or where they do business. It seems to be a common tactic with this administration, to try to ridicule the person asking questions they don’t want answered. Why the zoning commission is ignoring a $500,000 study that was meant to be part of the City Master plan sounds like a very good question that should be answered no matter if the person asking was a commissioner or an ordinary taxpayer.

  18. Mike Mushak

    Joe Espo is way off base as to my argument here, which is to simply follow recommendations of a much wider traffic study and independent peer review in the $500k Transportation Management Plan in force since last year but for some cryptic reason is not applicable here (hence my comment in the video above that its not worth the paper its printed on), and to follow the Master Plan which is a REQUIREMENT of a Special Permit Application. I never suggested we change the zoning code now to affect this particular application, but I mentioned last night the history of the inaction on the zone change after 5 years to expose the combination of incompetent staff and Moccia’s corruption of process that led to no action being taken by the GOP leadership of the Zoning Commission or by staff to update our code, as required under the Master Plan all these years since our Master Plan was adopted in 2008. It is staff’s job to implement the Master Plan, and last night the best reasons I could get out of Asst Director Wrinn as to why that never happened were 1) too expensive and 2) the ZC has too much to do! The reality is it costs nothing to change our zoning code and staff should never tell us we have too much to do, as they work for us under the by-laws. It was really the staff and Chair’s job to work together on this and since Mayor Moccia worships big box stores and this zone change limited their size in this stretch of busy road to 10,000 sf (BJs is 109,908 sf), this was a zone change that was never going to happen with Moccia as Mayor and his cromies running the ZC. It’s a great formula for dysfunction and bad planning decisions as all the evidence over the years proves.
    .
    As described on my last post, I had to beg for years to get our drainage standards updated and they are still not because Moccia and his cronies who control the Commission could care less we are the laughing stock of cities with an obsolete zoning code and no professional planners running the dysfunctional P and Z Department.
    .
    My attempts last year to update our obsolete and punitive contractor regulations which by the way Attorney Zullo and many other lawyers and professional real estate folks as well as the large contractor community supported and advocated for and I agreed with them, were met with angry outbursts by GOP commissioners, stonewalling, and finally a dirty trick or just a really stupid mistake was made by staff to not change the text in the amendments that we all agreed to in committee until it was too late after the public notice went out before the hearing, forcing us to pass an inadequate solution that Chair Emily Wilson promised we would return to and fix by summer. It’s almost fall and now and no mention yet of fixing our mistake, and the contractor community is angry and upset now with the city for screwing it up.
    .
    Anything I mention that needs doing or fixing is usually shouted down by Santo and/or ignored by Chair Emily Wilson, who most recently ignored my many requests to get the much-needed independent peer review of the BJs application added to our last hearing for a discussion and vote. Just simply ignored it, and made up a lame excuse as to why she did that when I called her out on it at the end of that same hearing it was requested to appear, which is taped and on NON from a few weeks ago. She said our reg’s don’t allow it, ignoring state law and the fact that the ZC has every right to ask for more information including peer review at any time during an application process. She and her dear friend Maslan (Corp. Counsel) just made up facts that didn’t exist and thought they could get away with it without my making a stink about it. They simply did not want the city to do its due diligence and protect the public health and safety in surrounding neighborhoods that are sure to be affected by this huge project, and whose taxpaying residents and businesses deserved this extra level of scrutiny on a project over ten times the size of what our Master Plan recommends for this site. It’s unbelievable what happens in this city, and it is pure corruption of process.
    .
    To M Allen’s point, the application follows our current regulations and is not asking for any variance beyond their signage, which was already denied by another board, the Zoning Board of Appeals. BJs is what is called a Special Permit Application which has a higher layer of scrutiny than just whether or not our regs are followed, and that scrutiny includes compliance with our Master Plan, maintaining “stable traffic flow” that is very specific, and a whole long list of other conditions I won’t list here bit that basically allude to whether or not the project fits into the neighborhood character, is screened properly, is not too dense or bulky for the site, etc. The Zoning Commission MUST consider all of these ADDITIONAL conditions for a Special Permit beyond whether the actual regulations concerning height, setback, coverage, parking, use, etc are all met. This is how a recent application last year was denied by the ZC, even though that application met all of our current regulations.

  19. The Whole Truth

    At least with Mike Mushak, there’s one commissioner with common sense! I hope for the others, this is the norm, not the exception. Remember, make your voice heard this Thursday at City Hall, 7PM. Let’s stop a disaster.

  20. Joe Espo

    I want to know from Mike Mushak what reulations have been adopted by the Mushak-Blank-Rilling zoning commission that require a peer review or other supplemental traffic study initiated by the Zoning Commission? I’d like to know from where the Zoning Commission would acquire funds from for an independent traffic study? In what capital budget did the Mushak-Blank-Rilling zoning zealots request funds for peer review or other traffic studies? The Mushak-Blank-Rilling satanic cadre of loud mouthed epic failures of basic zoning 101 can’t point to anything they’ve done or accomplished to justify their protests. The intellectually defective Mushak rants rely on mass character assassination. That’s the last refuge of a scoundrel. Ugly. And beneath contempt.

  21. NorwalkVoter

    Good for you Mike. Moccia has certainly stacked the deck here. He removed Adam Blank from the Commission and tied the hands of Harry Rilling thru his Corporation Council’s ruling. That is one way to make it look like development is happening in Norwalk. Too bad it is also at the expense of the neighborhood and the safety of the citizenry.
    There are other issues on that strip of Main Avenue. One of the sewer drains, across the street from Walgreens does not drain and has not drained forever. I’ve been told that it is connected to nothing and when the street floods (every time it rains) the state continues to say there is nothing it can do, or will do. So much for the State’s responsiveness to Norwalk’s needs.

  22. Mike Mushak

    Joe Espo, ugly and beneath contempt? You are cracking me up! Come to a P and Z meeting sometime and you can see plenty of that action, but mostly coming from your GOP buddies who routinely bully the Commission and the public, as many will testify to besides me, and shut down discussions by ending meetings, and even illegally preventing meeting minutes from reflecting what was actually said!

    Hey Joe, have a great weekend my friend! You need a good break it seems. How about going to the Live Green festival at Taylor Farm this weekend, where you might learn something about what other cities across America are doing about sustainability issues! See you there!

  23. Joe Espo

    And another question, Mike Mushak, in addition to my other ones that remain unanswered. Why do you hate so much that you find it necessary to consistently assassinate the character of the Mayor, your fellow zoning commissioners, P& Z staff and “GOP buddies?”
    .
    Stop the hate, Mike. Stop the hate!

  24. Mike Mushak

    Joe Espo, I don’t hate anyone. What I hate is incompetence and cronyism that prevents Norwalk from becoming the city it deserves to be. Norwalk has fallen decades behind on so many planning benchmarks that we are the laughing stock of cities around the state, and used as an example by professionals of how NOT to plan a city. We have underqualified yet highly paid staff running our P and Z Department (none of them are certified professional planners). Of course, we have no idea if they have other qualifications or credentials as it is kept a tightly held secret.
    .
    Under Moccia, taxpayers are not allowed to know if the staff they are paying 6-figure salaries to (Greene, $150k, Wrinn, $120k) and giving 6 weeks paid vacations to and paying life-long pensions to when they retire are even qualified for the job! Maslan says FOI rules don’t apply to professional qualifications.
    .

    Oh, by the way Mr. Espo, you asked earlier about where money for studies will come from. The Zoning Commission increased our fines 4 years ago specifically to raise money to hire experts, and since we never hire experts there should be well over $100,000 sitting somewhere that can be spent on a $10-20k independent peer review of BJ.s Where is that money? We don’t know because the by-laws of the Commission that require a monthly financial statement from Mike Greene showing ALL transactions and the financial condition of the Commission is NEVER produced, in violation of the law. GOP Chair Emily Wilson, just like her predecessor Joe Santo, could care less about enforcing our by-laws that we are sworn under oath to uphold. At least Lightfield before them got annual financial statements out of this secretive and stubborn staff.

    So, Joe, get me staff’s professional credentials, and find out where all the fine money went to which we increased to hire experts, and I and many others will be so grateful!

  25. Suzanne

    “The Mushak-Blank-Rilling satanic cadre of loud mouthed epic failures of basic zoning 101 can’t point to anything they’ve done or accomplished to justify their protests. The intellectually defective Mushak rants rely on mass character assassination. That’s the last refuge of a scoundrel. Ugly. And beneath contempt.” Joe Espo
    It is always ironic to me that accusations made contain the very character and qualities of the accused. In other words, what you say, Mr. Espo, is a reflection of YOU not those to whom you direct your exercises in ugly English.

  26. EDR

    Mr. Mushak I have enjoyed your bloviating at times because I find it amusing. You have seriously crossed the line with this by making this personal.

    It is unfortunate that you have so over played your hand on this. Even if the commission did deny the application it would likely be over turned in court because you have “poisoned the well”. As a commissioner you are required to show impartiality and respect for a legal process- clearly you have not.

    Your passion while laudable is so misplaced that no one can really take you seriously anymore. I think you have become an embarassment because commissioners are supposed to act professionally for the greater good. You obviously have an inability to get along with people. This is not about you but Norwalk and I do not think you know that anymore (if you ever did).

    With respect to your argument about the corridor study and the master plan the site in question did discuss the possibility of a much much larger development than 10,000 sf. If you actually understood urban land economics you would understand that. It is also a super fund site that is being added back to productive use. Make it a better development.

  27. RU4REEL

    The few folks posting against Mushak are idiots and no one should even respond to their posts.
    It is obvious that they don’t care about anything or anyone except protecting the incompetence of the Moccia administration.
    Mushak has brought to light the nonsense and he gets pooped on, you few knuckle heads should cut the crap and call your buddies out publically, just like Mushak.
    He has proof that you refuse to acknowledge, which by the way makes you all look stupid for ignoring.

  28. Mike Mushak

    EDR, your comment is laughable to me because we have been given bad advice by our Corporation Counsel that is NOT accurate, as evidenced most recently on Thursday night when I mentioned the right the Commission has by state law to ask for an independent peer review traffic study, which was not disputed by anyone as state law supersedes local law, beyond the fact that the Commission has a right to ask for more information at any time it pleases during an application process.

    We were told we have NO right to ask for peer review, by both Corporation Counsel and Chair Emily Wilson. Why? Because they didn’t WANT a peer review for whatever reason I can only speculate privately on but not here.

    So, a project that will have SIGNIFICANT IMPACTS on public health and safety to an entire section of the city will NOT have the proper due diligence given to it with independent review that is clearly recommended in the $500k Transportation Management Plan in force since last year for large projects such as this, regardless of whether or not that study was made “official” in our regulations. Why did taxpayers for that study? To amuse ourselves with?

    I could go on, but it is absurd for you to suggest our legal process in Norwalk is not open to scrutiny when we routinely get contradictory and inaccurate information from our legal counsel, that is on the record in case anyone ever wants to make a stink about it. I suspect what you don’t like about me is that I am shining a bright spotlight on this subject of great importance.

    My last question to you is, do you think it is appropriate for highly paid city staff to keep their professional qualifications a secret from the public who is paying their salaries through their sky-high property taxes?

  29. Oldtimer

    “The intellectually defective Mushak rants rely on mass character assassination. That’s the last refuge of a scoundrel. Ugly. And beneath contempt.”
    This exact quote(cut & pasted)from whoever uses the “Joe Espo” name says it all. Espo, an obvious mouthpiece for the administration, in two sentences calls Mushak crazy, a scoundrel, ugly, and beneath contempt, while critisizing him for character assassination.
    Again, when the administration does not want to answer simple questions, they attack, under a phony name, the person asking. Sounds a lot like the defense against rape charges attacking the victim rather than deal with the charge.

  30. Suzanne

    EDR, if everyone would get together and work together using the tools at their disposal to do the correct thing by the citizens of Norwalk, Mike Mushak would not have to reveal the duplicity going on. I, for one, am grateful for his insight and judgement and, in addition, his “speaking truth to power.” Keep reading – if you don’t get that this effort meets up with derision, name-calling, invective and general disrespect by those who oppose him, you have not been reading anything at all. I cannot see where you see this as self-serving. It is not.

  31. Tim T

    EDR
    Very Well said and 100 percent correct. Also I would add that the majority of Norwalk approves of BJ’s on this site. It is just a handful of anonymous individuals on the internet, which I would not be surprised that many are the same person with several user names and Mike Mushak that have issue with this improvement of this 20 year vacant site. Certain ones even show that they have no creditably by calling anyone that disagrees with them idiots.

  32. EDR

    Mr Mushak you missed my point. I am so sad for you.

    You are damaged goods. Do you honestly think that anyone on zoning staff or the commission wants to respond to your constant bloviation and launching of personal attacks? Except for this blog you have been rendered a non entity in public debate. I suspect that the entire zoning commission and the staff have closed their ears to you because of your bad behavior. …

    It’s unfortunate that someone who obviously has a half a brain on their head has been neutered in the debate about this proposed development. You are a well intentioned citizen who obviously has not learned what it takes to be a good commissioner. Maybe if you figured out a way to work with folks you might actually succeed!

    (This comment has been edited to conform with our policy)

  33. RU4REEL

    To those of you who choose NOT to think for yourselves (we all know who) it is too big for the lot, they tried to sneak it by and got caught when Mushak did the right thing and tried to help US divert a possible catastrophe for Norwalk residents, with a simple request for a review.
    If you have knowledge of this administrations back door dealing or any wrongdoing and either ignore or condone this behavior, YOU are just as guilty.
    You are with US right?

  34. Suzanne

    EDR, If you think it is easy to do right by the citizenry while standing up to a Commission who clearly does NOT have the best interests of Norwalk citizens in mind, please, do, become a commissioner and quit criticizing those who do take the time, voluntarily, to represent the health and welfare of all citizens, including you. I bet your comments to Mr. Mushak would be far altered if you had, in fact, taken what is left of your life and been of service to the community instead of throwing insults around to those who do try to do their best for the rest of us while they work hard to use their common sense, regulations, studies and procedures to follow the Commissions own guidelines instead of rubber-stamping projects good for the very few (not particularly materially but definitely politically.) My guess is Moccia wants to see this completed prior to the election to show his big “win” to the community without considering the impact of this project on such a small site and the surrounding neighborhood. You need to read up, EDR, and become informed before typing your silly comments against Mr. Mushak’s efforts. Really, you should be thanking him for trying to protect your welfare as a Norwalk citizen not denigrating him.

  35. Tim T

    To those of you who choose NOT to think for yourselves (we all know who) and keep posting about imaginary back door dealing from this administration .
    Please provide some verifiable proof of this as not one person has provided any such proof. In other words put up or shut up.

  36. LWitherspoon

    @Mike Mushak
    What is your response to the comment by EDR in which he/she stated that the master plan you reference also discussed the possibility of a development on that site much larger than 10,000 sf?

  37. Suzanne

    Tim T, You are right about “proof” of back door dealings. What is suspect is the closing of public comments and regularly going behind closed doors to “executive session” or making conclusive conversations electronically and outside the purview of Commission meetings that are not available for public scrutiny. Executive sessions are not taped. Conclusions and decisions are made. Public comment, then, becomes pro forma and not at all substantive to the process of a very public development affecting many. In other words, the constituency then has no say. It would be difficult to cite, then, meetings that have no minutes but do occur when a Commission leader “bangs the gavel” so to speak and declares “Executive Session” and Norwalk taxpayers must leave. There has been a chronic mis-use of this as part of public process with this administration. We pesky ol’ voters/taxpayers/constituents seem to upset the process for the Commissioners and Council people who represent us. However, one must ask, just who do they serve? Each other? The developer/planner? Who?

  38. RU4REEL

    Thank you Suzanne, I hate commenting directly to … tim t …
    All the proof is there if you are willing to be honest enough to look for, then honestly admit you have found it, not lie about or ignore the truth.
    I said it before and I’ll say it again; … tim t is moccia and moccia is … tim t!

    (This comment has been edited to conform to our policy)

  39. Tim T

    I see still no proof of back room deals..
    RU4REEL
    states
    “All the proof is there if you are willing to be honest enough to look for, then honestly admit you have found it, not lie about or ignore the truth”.
    YET PROVIDES NONE.
    Suzanne
    Executive Session is not proof of back room deals. Executive Session has been used by every administration.
    The correct saying that I made famous is
    MOCCIA IS RILLING
    AND
    RILLING IS MOCCIA

  40. cc-rider

    It’s funny how all the Mushak haters conveniently ignore the very simple question he asked:

    Do you think it is appropriate for highly paid city staff to keep their professional qualifications a secret from the public who are paying their salaries through their sky-high property taxes?

  41. Tim T

    cc-rider
    What I find funny is all the Rilling supporters claiming back room deals from the Moccia administration yet not one provide any proof of such deals.

  42. RU4REEL

    Good point CC, why hide their qualifications? Greene, as head of P&Z after so many years should have no problem letting anyone see his qualifications.
    Good question for the candidates.

  43. Don’t Panic

    Equally important is whether the incoming council will ask for the kind of accountability that the Democratic mayoral primary candidatees were calling for in their platforms.
    .
    There’s no point to opening up that kind of discussion during an election year if the city reverts back to business as usual after the election is over.

  44. Mike Mushak

    LWitherspoon,

    You can read the report yourself here at http://www.norwalkct.org/DocumentCenter/Home/View/341, which NON has also posted in her story above. It is clear the report recommends the 10,000 sf size for retail for the site many times, and also does mention in the last chapter a possibility of a large scale MIXED USE project with mostly residential on this site combined with a possible large site across the street, with a new controlled access road in between. However, if you didn’t want to read teh report, I copied teh relevant passages for you here:
    .

    On Page 1 under Policy Recommendations:
    .

    “This report suggests a series of land use, transportation, urban design, zoning and economic development policy
    changes that could be used, either together or separately, to affect the corridors over the next 10 years. The report
    recommends that new large-scale retail (such as big-box stores and supermarkets) be limited to two locations—
    Main Avenue at the Merritt Parkway and Westport Avenue in the immediate vicinity of Stew Leonard’s. Both of
    these locations have good highway access and existing large-scale retail operations that are doing well. Because
    this scenario would entail significant additional development at the northern end of Main Avenue, the report also
    includes an alternative that restricts large-scale retail at this location for comparison purposes.
    For the remainder of the corridors, the report recommends that retail development be sharply limited. In the Main
    Street/Avenue corridor, it is recommended that the size of an individual retail store be limited to 10,000 square feet
    and that drive-through operations be prohibited so as to exclude many high traffic-generating uses such as fastfood restaurants and chain drug and convenience stores. The segment of Main Street between Union Avenue and
    New Canaan Avenue would become a neighborhood shopping and residential center with an upgraded streetscape
    and shared parking to encourage pedestrian activity, while Main Avenue from New Canaan Avenue to Perry Avenue
    would be reserved for residential and mixed use development and auto service uses.”
    .

    This is on page 9:
    .
    “It is recommended that big box retail development be limited to the northern end of Main Avenue, where the Stop
    & Shop is now located. This location is logical for this type of development because it is next to a large employment
    and residential center, has excellent highway access, and has the potential for improved transit connections in the
    future if the Danbury branch is upgraded to a light rail line and a new station is added. The build-out scenario envisions an expansion of the existing large-format retail at this location to a larger or multistory facility with structured
    parking.”

    On page 10, which is the reference directly to the BJ’s site:
    .

    “For the segment of Main Avenue between Linden Street and Union Avenue, we recommend that retail stores be
    limited to 10,000 square feet and that drive-through facilities be prohibited. This size threshold is below the minimum required for a typical medium-box drugstore, and the drive-through restriction will further discourage high traffic-generating chain stores. As a result, we project that several properties that would otherwise have been redeveloped with retail will instead be redeveloped with residential.
    Benefits:
    Reduces potential growth in traffic through these segments of the corridor and encourages mixed-use development
    and the retention of small, locally owned businesses. If the Linco and Muller sites are redeveloped for residential
    purposes, the land use changes envisioned here would encourage the gradual conversion of the remainder of the
    corridor to uses more complementary to residential development on those parcels.”
    .
    On Page 31:
    .
    “The Main Avenue corridor contains two significant underutilized properties that could be redeveloped. These are
    the Linco property, a Superfund site located on the east side of Main Avenue in Segment 2, and the Board of
    Education property, also on the east side of Main Avenue, in Segment 1.
    It is suggested that at this time, the City enact the land use changes recommended for Segment 2 and look to the
    private market to redevelop the Linco site, which has the advantages of good access and ample frontage on Main
    Avenue. If the Muller Avenue industrial property is redeveloped with a new access roadway to Main Avenue across
    the Danbury branch, that access road would likely terminate at the Linco site, potentially creating an opportunity to
    link redevelopment of the two sites. Therefore, it is recommended that the future of the Linco site be reconsidered
    at the time detailed plans are made for the Muller Avenue industrial property, as recommended above. The cost of
    the new access road could potentially be borne a single developer working on both sites, and potentially other sites
    in the surrounding area that could also be redeveloped. In addition, the City should assist any potential redeveloper of either site with the procurement of federal, state or other monies for the redevelopment of brownfield sites.
    For the Board of Education property, it is proposed that the existing B-2 zoning remain in place, which allows for
    numerous development options. However, assuming the Board of Education chooses to vacate the site, the City’s
    potential ownership of this parcel would give it a great deal of control in selecting a development plan. Development
    as a residential project, possibly including a small commercial component adjacent to Main Avenue, would be
    appropriate considering the size, configuration and surroundings of this site.”
    .
    On page 33, which pertains to zoning changes recommended for the BJ’s site: (note: our 2008 Master Plan states on page 37 under E.3.1.11: “Implement the recommendations of the Wesport-North-Main Corridor Study.”)
    .
    “This segment should remain a service corridor intended to permit retail stores, auto repair and service, mixed-use
    development, and other compatible uses, but new retail development should be controlled in terms of both use and
    bulk in order to limit high traffic generating uses. Thus, a new Village District zone, descriptively named “Main
    Avenue Service,” should be mapped. Permitted uses in this new zone will be the same as the existing Business 2
    zone, with the following exceptions:
    • Retail stores and personal and business service shops should be limited to a maximum gross floor area of
    10,000 square feet. Residential uses, auto repair and service uses and industrial uses would not be subject
    to this limitation.
    • Establishments with drive-up or drive-through service windows should be prohibited.”
    .

    On page 39:
    .
    “Today, the Westport-North-Main corridor suffers from haphazard and unattractive site planning, bland commercial
    development, an excessively automobile-dominated character, and marginal and sometimes unsafe pedestrian
    facilities. Driving the length of the Corridor is a monotonous experience, relieved only occasionally by attractive
    buildings, leafy green canopies, and well-landscaped modern development. Intersections that in the past may have
    served as “focal points” with signature buildings and prominent businesses have been replaced gradually with gas
    stations, automobile service centers, or other low-intensity commercial or industrial development. Heavy and fast-moving traffic levels in some stretches make it difficult to get one’s bearings or make a turn into a retail parking lot.
    The rolling topography as well as the shallow and sloping lots in many areas make it difficult to attract high-quality
    modern retail development which tends to prefer large, level sites. The few large sites that exist pose their own
    problems, potentially attracting inappropriate, single-use, out-of-scale development with excessive parking and coverage. Pedestrians along the outer segments of the corridor—whether walking to or from work or shopping, or waiting for a bus—are faced with crumbling, narrow, or nonexistent sidewalks. Fast-moving traffic, frequent curb cuts,
    and cars turning into parking lots make walking unpleasant at best, and dangerous at worst.”
    .
    On pages 79, 80, and 81, there are schematics of proposed improvements to Main Avenue at Perry, Broad, Ward, and New Canaan Avenues,which includes substantial widening of the roadway with potential private property takings involved,and which are NOT included in the BJ’s propsal, which only has a southbound 6 car left turn lane into the site as a road improvement.

    There is one other mention of potential development of the BJ’s site, and that must be taken in context of the paragraph it occurs in, which alters its meaning from what Mr. Zullo keeps referring to as if this study intends big box development to be an option on this site, which it clearly DOES NOT when you read the whole paragraph:
    .

    “As a result of the following recommendations, the buildout analysis projects 16,274 square feet less retail and 350
    additional housing units will be built in the study area compared with the existing land use policies and regulations.
    Almost all of the new retail will be concentrated on the northern end of Main Avenue near Merritt Parkway, where
    retail of this magnitude appears more appropriate due to its proximity to major highways and the Merritt 7 complex.
    We assumed all of this development would take place on the existing Stop & Shop shopping center site, which is
    underbuilt according to our real estate analysis, but it could also occur on other nearby parcels such as the Board
    of Education parcel or even the Linco Superfund site. If the substantial projected redevelopment at the northern end
    of the Main corridor is excluded, then the changes are even more dramatic: a reduction of 470,317 square feet of retail space compared with the existing land use policies and regulations.”

    To read all of the specific recommendations I copied out of the study above, which clearly recommend 10,000 sf maximum retail on this site at many locations in the study with many facts and analyses to back it up, even zoning changes to that effect, with the preference being residential use, and then to find one phrase in the text that that says basically the consultant assumed ALL of the new retail development would occur at the Stop and Shop site but could also occur at other sites including the Linco site, is by any reasonable reading NOT a recommendation by this study for big box development at this site.

  45. Don’t Panic

    As posters here continue to argue about Mr. Mushak, instead of the basis for his objections, you might want to take a brief tour through a zoning process that works the way many of us would like to see happening in Norwalk. Thoughtful, data-driven and designed with the best interests of the residents in mind.
    .
    Deep In this article you will see that the developers say it’s fair and don’t threaten to take their marbles and go home when asked to modify their plans. It also approves 75% of the chain store applications so nobody seems to find it “unfriendly to businesses” as Norwalk is routinely accused of being.

    http://www.alternet.org/corporate-accountability-and-workplace/san-francisco-chain-stores-get-out?page=0%2C2&akid=10877.767282.3kxBUD&rd=1&src=newsletter891273&t=10&paging=off

  46. Suzanne

    I very much appreciate, “Don’t Panic”, the link to the article about zoning, land use and chain stores. San Francisco has a huge identity to protect with a rich history of unique retail experience. If it changed into a haven for franchises, it risks losing tourism dollars and resident interest in continuing to live there. Why would people want to visit a place like everywhere else? Why would residents desire the same choices they could, say, have in Oakland or, further South, San Pedro or, in the Midwest, pick your town? Norwalk has the opportunity to divest itself from the chain store mentality and still become a metropolis of interest with rich choices while achieving a successful marketplace. I don’t think the Commissions or Council are reading articles like the one you offered – they seem to be running on the fuel of fear rather than the scope of what can be possible in creating a great urban environment. It is sad to see so many resources going toward a big sell-out, a town that looks like any other with nothing to recommend it. Surely, Norwalk can do better.

  47. Suzanne

    Tim T, finally you have revealed your true interest in these issues upon which you give extensive, sadly inappropriate comment: it’s all about you. It adds nothing to this issue about development and, furthermore, is inaccurate. The executive session is on record as being the discussion of choice with this administration thereby eliminating the public from what goes on “behind the scenes” in terms of decision making on these developments. Therefore, the saying you “made famous” is, rather, more like inconsequential with absolutely zip to contribute to this thread.

  48. Don’t Panic

    The public, and at times, our officials seem to misunderstand the scope and use of executive sessions. They are not a tool for conducting backroom deals or to use whenever you want to discuss something outside the public’s view.
    .
    Use of an executive session does not automatically mean something nefarious is going on.
    .
    FOI requires that all business conducted at meetings be documented and all information be available to the public. However it does provide for certain exceptions that should and must be handled in executive session. Personnel matters, litigation, etc.
    .
    The agenda listing the executive session must be specfic enough to know what kind of discussion is taking place but not the details. When these rules are not followed in the spirit of being as informative as possible, ie mysterious executive sessions, uninformative minutes, decisions getting made without any evidence of discussion in open meetingsn etc, then you get a public that feels like back room deals are being cut.
    .
    It may be time for officials to brush up on the use of executive sessions within the scope of their duties.
    .
    And if these sessions are being abused intentionally as some suspect, the public should take note and hold those officials accountable at the polls.
    .
    http://www.ct.gov/foi/cwp/view.asp?a=4163&Q=489158
    .
    http://www.ct.gov/foi/cwp/view.asp?a=4163&Q=489170

  49. Suzanne

    Dear “Don’t Panic”, Thank you for the clarification. Commissions and the City Council should read your information as well as every citizen who attends said meetings. I have been told on a few occasions by Commissions, particularly Planning and/or Zoning, that all of the public must leave the room when a vote is being taken. Discussion out of ear shot then ensues while we all dutifully file out of the room. I was told by individuals who have participated in the FOIA process that this is “illegal”. I actually never pursued those parameters other than the very cursory about what executive sessions are for (or removing the public from public meetings is for or allowed.) I must say I felt very foolish at not having insisted on remaining IN the room while votes on given issues were being taken. I felt naive, taken advantage of, that I left these rooms without protest relying on the Commissions for correct process and procedure. Then I felt manipulated. I will be printing out your references for future use. If I must leave as these Commissions are saying “while a vote is being taken” at least I will have the correct information to cite and read into the record. Thanks again.

  50. LWitherspoon

    @Mike Mushak
    .
    Thank you for the excerpts from the master plan. I greatly appreciate it when you provide evidence that supports your position.

  51. RU4REEL

    Thank you Panic, very informative. They need to be called out on EVERY aspect of the rules when they go into E session. Is not following the rules a crime?

  52. Don’t Panic

    @RU4REEL,
    .
    As I understand it (and my understanding may not be perfect), any citizen who felt that the rules were violated has the right to file a complaint with FOI and it results in a review of the evidence. FOI then makes a determination as to whether any harm was done and any penalty to be assessed.
    .
    Given the nature of the process, I expect a lot of folks won’t go through the bother to pursue an individual complaint. However, there is nothing to stop us, as citizens, voters and taxpayers, from keeping score and holding those that are routinely failing to live up to our expectations accountable.
    .
    The folks in Hartford take a lot of abuse, but if you take the time to read through the entire FOI law, you can see that they put in a great deal of thought into balancing the public’s need to know, the protection of truly privileged information, and the burden on the agencies involved. It’s not perfect, but it works well only to the extent that everyone understands it and applies it properly.
    .
    If I had my druthers, the first thing the city or any commission, authority or agency would do after someone is elected or appointed, is to send them for training on:
    1) FOI
    2) conducting meetings under Robert’s Rules and
    3) the charter and by-laws for their particular entity.

  53. Don’t Panic

    Thank you Mike Mushak for your vocal leadership. The recommended changes to the regs that were at issue should be rolled out immediately to avoid a repeat while there is no pending application.
    .
    Hopefully BJs can find a more suitable location and the owners of the old Elinco site can find a more suitable tenant.

Leave a Reply


Recent Comments