Mushak: My time on Norwalk Zoning Commission is over

Zoning Commissioner Mike Mushak

NORWALK, Conn. – Longtime Zoning Commissioner Mike Mushak, who is often in the middle of controversy, said he is not looking to be reappointed when his term is up July 1. Wednesday’s Zoning Commission meeting will be his last, he said.

“It was my decision. It was no one else’s decision,” Mushak said. “As chair of the new Bike/Walk Task Force, I am just overwhelmed with the amount of work. It’s time to let somebody else step in.”

Mayor Harry Rilling has been informed, he said. Rilling did not reply to emails asking about the topic. Zoning Commission Chairman Joe Santo did not return a phone call.

Rilling announced the Bike/Walk Task Force last month. Mushak has since been seen going in and out of City Hall with documents, and heading down the road in an SUV with Co-chairman Peter Libre.

As a zoning commissioner, Mushak regularly asks developers about pedestrian access.

“I enjoyed my time on the commission – you know, I shook things up, there’s no doubt,” Mushak said. “I believe in more accountability and transparency. I am not finished with that yet, but it’s not like it used to be. Decisions are not being made behind closed doors like they once were. I think there has been a huge improvement over the six years that I have been on. It’s time to move on and, as a member of the public, I will be very attentive to the actions of the Zoning Commission and to the future plans for Norwalk.”


21 responses to “Mushak: My time on Norwalk Zoning Commission is over”

  1. John Levin

    As a Norwalker, tax payer, and sustainable living favorerererer, I am sad Mike Mushak will not be on the Zoning Commission. Might he consider, and can he be asked, to serve on the Planning Commission? Is there a separate Planning Commission? I always thought most towns like Norwalk combined them to a single commission: P&Z. Anyway, I greatly appreciate the many contributions Mike Mushak has made to our town. We need more citizens like him who are willing to be active and vocal in the stuff that matters, big and little.

  2. Sara Sikes

    Thank you Michael for your extaordinary service to the people of Norwalk. I truly hope that you will continue to voice your concerns and keep us informed.

  3. peter parker

    Thank you Mr. Mushak for your tireless years of service to the City. You may be leaving the commission but I know your watchful eyes will stay focused on the Zoning commission and the welfare of our City. You will be missed.

  4. piberman

    Retiring ahead of the boondoggle mega mall being shoe horned into our already congested downtown ? Here’s a real chance to save Norwalk from the most destructive proposal hoisted by our politicians since the Big Box fiasco two decades ago. All that prevents the mega mall is a P&Z working in the public interest. Public service means just that – public service.

  5. M. Murray’s

    Just curious….do we have any figures on how much BJ’s and Walmart contribute to Norwalk in taxes on a yearly basis?

  6. Taxpayer Fatigue

    Berman – Zoning Commissioners are volunteers appointed to three year terms – no one “retires” from the position – their terms expire. You might be more effective in your complaining if you took some time to understand how our city government is structured. The republicans led by Emily “the mosque ” Wilson and Joe “big box store” Santo will decide whether or not a mall will be built in Norwalk as they control the Zoning Commission.

  7. Go For It

    Mike Mushak’e story is a little fishy. The real reason why he’s bolting is that Rilling wouldn’t dare reappoint him because he couldn’t get anywhere near the ten votes needed for a third term. Mushak has ripped the reputation of mearly every republican on the council . The reappointment would have gone down in flames and Rilling was duly warned.

  8. Al Raymond

    Thank You Michael you have done a great job & I only wish you would stay, You have done many wonderful things for Norwalk I hope you stay active, you are a great person. Thank you again.

  9. piberman

    Taxpayer fatique:

    You mean the P&Z members are just warming their seats ? Really ? I’d give the P&Z members more far more credit than that. Compared to the BET our P&Z members are a lively and effective group. I’d give Mayor Rilling the benefit of the doubt. He could change Mr Mushak’s mind about seeking a re-appointment. Mr Mushak may be a bit unorthodox for some but he does do his homework and takes time to explain his positions. Years ago when Norwalk was well governed Commission members were always a lively bunch. And attracted good audiences. City commissions have far too many wallflowers for my taste. Lets have some passion along with requisite respect for other opinions.

  10. CK

    Lost Jackie and now Mike, two committed citizen’s that care and put their time, sweat and on occasion tears of frustration from head banging so many walls, into making Norwalk a livable, desirable community to live work and raise a family. Genuine articles, that take a licking, kick back and keep on ticking. Thank you both for your service and your continuing efforts to make a difference. Please excuse the closed bobble heads that live in some higher loft than the rest of us mere peons. You guys did more than shake the trees, you guys planted some great seeds and some day they will reap a bountiful harvest for our little town. Neither fire, nor floods nor wind has extinguished Norwalk’s living breathing heart and soul. And, in the end, neither can closed minds. Feet on the ground, keep reaching for the stars…

  11. LWitherspoon

    A win for Norwalk. I have long felt that practicing politics from the Zoning Commission, as Mr. Mushak often did, was undesirable. Let’s hope Mr. Mushak’s efforts to create a more bikeable and walkable Norwalk find great success.

  12. John Hamlin

    Thank you Michael for your dedication — indeed, your passion — the Commission will be poorer without your insights. But I know your passion and hard work on behalf of Norwalk will continue, and we will all benefit from your contributions.

  13. Oldtimer

    The City will miss having somebody on the Zoning Board who reads all the applications and does his homework before the meetings instead of waiting to be told how he should vote.

  14. Adam blank

    Thanks for all your hard work Mike.

  15. EveT

    It’s a bit worrying to think what the Zoning Commission will do now that they are losing the one conscientious, community-minded member. We’ll be lucky if whoever is appointed to take Mike’s place manages to be half as effective as Mike has been.

  16. Mike Mushak

    Thank you for all the kind words, from most of you anyway! We are on the road to repairing a seriously broken planning system, and I was and still am glad to be part of it.
    I just love the criticism from Piberman above that I do not understand what public service is all about. That is precious, coming from a strictly keyboard critic who I believe has never served the city in any capacity. I never cease to be amazed at how someone like Piberman can ignore the blatant incompetence and corruption of process I have exposed over the years that wastes millions in taxpayer dollars, and he chooses instead to go after folks like me trying to reverse a decades-long trend for bad planning decisions and neglect of crucial infrastructure. His quixotic obsession with cutting salaries of staff only and ignoring bigger structural problems with our corrupted planning system in City Hall is baffling. I agree with much of what he says in theory but perhaps he may get more insight into what “public service” means if he would spend 2 or 3 UNPAID nights a week and many weekends at meetings and community events trying to improve Norwalk, instead of in front of the keyboard or TV accomplishing nothing. I recommend Piberman submit his resume to Mayor Rilling for consideration of a nomination to a board or commission position. Then let’s talk about what public service means.
    Just look around and tell me Norwalk has had good planning decisions over the last 4 decades, and I will sell you a bridge in Brooklyn! The process is still broken in many ways and will take some real shakeup to fix, and it will happen.
    Trust me, I am not going away and my decision to serve the city in a different capacity for now is certainly no indication of a change in my dedication to making Norwalk the best city it can be for everyone.

  17. Disappointed in Mike

    I’m truly disappointed that Mike is leaving.

    I believe there is more to it, than what he’s letting on.

    It sounds like he has come to a point where he can’t go any further and just gave up. That’s not a fighter in my book.

    If Mike’s intention is to fix a problem, then FIX IT. Don’t run away when you stumble upon a roadblock. That’s not a leader.

    It’s appreciated what you’ve done, but you’re pulling out too early. Is this what is to be expected on another board, if you don’t get your way, right away?

  18. Suzanne

    Um, “Disappointed in Mike”, unless you have “been there,done that”, I think your rather harsh judgement of Mike is questionable. Haven’t you been watching or listening? Zoning questions and controversies will NEVER END in this town. He could have stopped twenty years from now and there would still be fighting and debate. Sometimes, people need to put their energies elsewhere for their own reasons. I bet you have done the same at some point in your life. I find your lack of appreciation for what he accomplished a bit shiny, as in glaring, and think it is time for a thank you, not criticism.

  19. Disappointed in Mike

    Suzanne, get off the cross – someone else needs the wood.

    He needs to be a nag and continue his fight. Eventually, he will break through.

    I’m disappointed, period.

  20. Don’t Panic

    I have no doubt that Mr. Mushak will continue to serve Norwalk in the silent ways he always has, even though he will not be reappointed to this particular commission. Mike, please continue to be the “conscience” of the commission. Your voice will be missed.

  21. Suzanne

    “Disappointed in Mike”, Then step up to the plate and YOU become the conscience of the Zoning Commission. Otherwise, the cross you are bearing is just a big whine.

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