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Mushak takes on Maslan over traffic study, Norwalk BJ’s

Norwalk BJ's Wholesale Club Zoning debate 100
Zoning Commissioner Mike Mushak holds up an email exchange referring to the Norwalk Transportation Management Plan at Thursday’s Plan Review Committee meeting.

NORWALK, Conn. – A relentless Norwalk zoning commissioner fought ardently Thursday night to get more information regarding traffic near a proposed big box store, earning repeated applause from some audience members and angry tones from a lawyer representing the applicant.

Zoning Commissioner Mike Mushak debated Norwalk Corporation Counsel Bob Maslan for about 30 minutes, insisting, as he has often in the recent past, that a study that cost the city $500,000 should not be ignored. Maslan replied that it wasn’t being ignored, that it was being used appropriately, by the Department of Public Works. Mushak was free to express his opinion, he said, but the Zoning Commission needs to apply zoning regulations, not a recommendation made for planning purposes. Zoning regulations cannot be changed while an application is in progress, he said.

Mushak was campaigning to get the commission to invest some city money in getting independent traffic analysis regarding the application to put a BJ’s Wholesale Club at 272-280 Main Ave., the former site of ELINCO (Electric Indicator Co.), long vacant due to pollution concerns and a government cleanup in progress. The “peer review” would encompass a much greater area than just the six intersections near the proposed BJ’s.

“We don’t know how much that’s going to cost. But, just to pick a number, if it’s $10,000 or $20,000 for a fee, to me that’s the cost of a funeral of someone who may get hit, if you want to put it in terms of cost to the city if we don’t do peer review,” Mushak said.

Attorney Frank Zullo, there to represent BJ’s, took note of that quote, asking associates to write it down.

Mushak referred to both the Norwalk Transportation Management Plan completed in September and the Westport-North Main Corridor Study and Plan completed in December 2006.

Mushak mentioned other documents as well. He said the city’s master plan recommends a maximum building size of 10,000 square feet on Main Avenue, a stark contrast to the 109,908 square feet planned by BJ’s. The South Western Regional Planning Agenc y (SWRPA) had done a study that declared that Main Avenue has “one of the poorest bicycle pedestrian safety records of any state highway in the region,” he said.

Mushak had brought up the Norwalk Transportation Management Plan and it’s $500,000 price tag over and over again at last month’s committee meeting, asking why the city was ignoring it. On Wednesday, he said he had learned that the DPW and other city departments are using it, and asked why it wasn’t being used by zoning.

Norwalk Corporation Counsel Bob Maslan studies a model of the BJ’s Wholesale Club proposed for Main Avenue as the Plan Review Committee meeting moves on.

Maslan said the plan is “a guidance document, not a regulation per se.”

“I don’t think it was ever intended to be incorporated into administrative regulations of planning and zoning department or the traffic department of public works,” he said.

The Zoning Commission has one major concern when it makes a decision, he said.

“The ultimate question is, is this going to hold up in court?” he said. “So, for example, if you were to require an analysis of an intersection that’s a mile from the site, a judge is going to look at it and say is there any evidence or any reasonable basis for that requirement. If the answer is no, and you’re turning it down because of traffic, that’s not going to be upheld, it’s probably not going to be upheld on an appeal.”

Mushak said he wasn’t satisfied by answers provided by BJ’s traffic consultant Michael Galante of Frederick P. Clarke Associates at last month’s committee meeting. Galante studied the six intersections near the proposed BJ’s, based on requirements stated by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT), he said. Another employee had had a conversation with DPW engineers, he said.

Both the state and the DPW would study the applicant’s traffic study, as per standard practice, Mushak was told.

Mushak protested that the DPW is run by an official appointed by Mayor Richard Moccia, who supports the BJ’s, Mushak said. Zoning Commissioner James White protested the mention of politics.

Mushak argued that the commission could make a special requirement to look at the traffic impact on a wider scale.

“There’s going to be, I believe, very substantial impacts much further out,” he said. “… To just look at the stretch on Main Avenue, in front of the project, and not further out to me is not doing our due diligence.”

Maslan told him that the recommendations had not become regulations, and therefore not binding.

“You have the ability as a commissioner to ask questions and see what the answers are. If you’re not satisfied … you have a vote along with everyone else,” he said. “You’re entitled to your own opinion, basically. That’s why commissions are made up of more than one person.”

Finally, Mushak asked why the 2006 study had not been used to come up with different regulations.

Planning and Zoning Assistant Director Michael Wrinn  said that was up to the commission.

“The Zoning Commission takes up what they want to take up,” he said.

Maslan had the last word on the topic.

“For one thing, it’s not mandatory, it’s a recommendation,” he said.

Mushak, prompted by an audience member, said that part of the requirements of a special permit was that it comply with the city’s master plan.

“I think the residents of Norwalk want us to consider it,” he said, getting his first round of applause from four or five people in attendance.

He said he wasn’t looking for applause, but he got it again when he mentioned another recent project that was endorsed by a traffic engineer, the Dunkin Donuts on the corner of New Canaan Avenue and Main Avenue.

“I think the city should be doing its due diligence so we don’t end up with – what we have is a Dunkin Donuts on the corner with a bad left turn – times a thousand,” he said. “That’s really what we’re talking about here, is a project that’s going to have an impact, that’s going to be much greater than that Dunkin Donuts, which has really affected everyone’s life, even though it’s just a Dunkin Donuts.”

A vote on additional traffic studies would have to be held in a meeting of the full commission, Mushak was told.

Zoning Commission Chairwoman Emily Wilson, Commissioner Jill Jacobsen and White indicated they wouldn’t vote for it because it would entail changing the rules in the middle of the game.

Laura Lamorte, a Rolling Ridge Condominium resident, was among those sitting in the audience, applauding Mushak. She said she didn’t think it fair that BJ’s has been working on the project for more than a year and the residents of the area had just found out about it.

The commission plans to hold a hearing on the project next month, but Lamorte was not comforted, because, she said, “It’s a fait accompli.”

About 10 people, many of them Rolling Ridge residents, gathered in the corridor after leaving the meeting, making plans to organize to fight the project.

The latest model of the BJ’s Wholesale Club proposed for Main Avenue includes additional trees, as requested by Zoning Commission members.

Comments

32 responses to “Mushak takes on Maslan over traffic study, Norwalk BJ’s”

  1. Norwalk lifer

    Dear Mr. Mushak:

    Thank you for your continued dedication as a volunteer who has the competency to review this proposal.

    Knowing full well that the study should be extended, and that all proof of investigation documents are usually vetted by a panel of peers, your actions are well within the limits of one who has the skill set to assess this proposal.

    There is a difference between a technical approach and a programmatic approach; While Mr. Maslan is the programmatic side, I do understand that many are behind you in making sure that this study, (and of course, to the untrained eye, the very title “improve traffic” is less than believable) in pursuing a broader study to determine if this will hinder or improve traffic flow thru that corridor.

    You have every right to question the veracity of the study, afterall, we, the taxpayers of Norwalk “paid” for it.

    Regards
    Norwalk Lifer

  2. M. Murray’s

    What is it with bicycles? What is the percentage of bicycles to motor vehicles on these roads? Maybe we coul take a page from the interstates and ban bicycles from the main roads to make it safer and they can use the less busy roads.

  3. notaffiliated

    BJ’s? Too funny

  4. MikeB

    Maslan’s attitude never ceases to surprise me

  5. L boogie

    He is also moccia’s private attorney. What a joke?

  6. NorwalkVoter

    Maslan is just doing Moccia’s bidding. Sad, isn’t it? Thank you Mr. Mushak for doing your job. It can be lonely out there.

  7. EveT

    Priceless quote: “if it’s $10,000 or $20,000 for a fee, … that’s the cost of a funeral of someone who may get hit”! Why is Mushak the only P&Z member who takes a realistic view of what’s going on in this town?
    How can anyone say with a straight face that the BJ’s traffic study is valid and relevant when it covers just one tiny little stretch of Rte 7 and ignores the Merrit and New Canaan Ave?

  8. Suzanne

    So many weird anomalies, so little time. First, when does Maslan’s pervasive representation of all interested parties become a conflict of interest????? What comes first? His representation as Corporate Counsel? His personal representation of the Mayor? His role as attorney for the BJ’s development? And where in this ever strange scenario do the interests of Norwalk taxpayer’s come in?

    The model of this debacle, 10 times larger than the recommended size of the building for this sized lot, according to this article, is a joke. It never ceases to impress me how much $4 or $5 dollars worth of pipe cleaner trees stuck to a board on a model seems to impress these gullible commissioners. Want to mitigate a huge project of any kind in the City of Norwalk Zoning Commission? Show them pretty pictures with friendly people walking (not in this case! Too much traffic!), a Mom with a pram and lots of trees and, Presto! You have your approval. These developers aren’t stupid – countless project presentations are very, very pretty and highly inappropriate for the context and, guess what? They get approved. (the last was the housing in a flood plain scenario showing fantastic urban streets ready to be washed away with the next surge….)

    And why commission traffic studies, master plans and other consultations when they are considered merely “recommendations” and not in any way used as binding? This is ridiculous. It means that all of those smart people who came in, studied the ENTIRE context of Norwalk or the ENTIRETY of downtown have simply been wasting their time and our tax dollars. Too bad for good ideas: according to Maslan, they wouldn’t hold up in court anyway, so why bother?

    It is disingenuous if not outright dishonest to protest the political in what is clearly a highly politicized process. Regulations or no, those neighbors at Rolling Ridge have learned another hard lesson, as do many neighborhoods, that would be the people who LIVE in Norwalk, that with the Zoning Commission, City Counsel and all others with governance in these issues, the regulations stipulate that neighbors be the LAST to give input into projects materially affecting their everyday life. Permits are granted developers for every conceivable aspect of a project and only then do public meetings get held for those in the immediate neighborhood who are affected. This MUST be changed!!!!!

    It is sad to see what the resident above describes as a “fait accompli” in yet another neighborhood issue where the people who live in the area get the beat down by these Commissions. The whole process is basically a “screw you” by the City government to the people and, frankly, I don’t care who on the Commission objects to this characterization. Mr. Mushak, the exception with extensive training in land use planning, is the lone voice willing to also take the beat down in the face of these other volunteers, largely Moccia aligned, who have no clue as to the basic vocabulary or context to which Mr. Mushak refers. Instead of condemnatory and argumentative response, it might behoove those uninformed Commissioners to look a bit less at the regulations and a bit more at the City of Norwalk whose interests they serve. As a reminder, that would be the PEOPLE OF NORWALK who LIVE in the NEIGHBORHOOD they seem so eager to ruin for the sake of a few shoppers and a tax base (still unclear as to that advantage since this development will be receiving so many “breaks” in order to “attract” its invaluable business to the City.)

  9. L boogie

    Thank you, Mr. Mushak. Standing up against Moccia Inc is not easy. Maslan should not do private legal work for. Moccia. How does one know which hat he is wearing? The whole thing stinks.

  10. Mike Mushak

    For clarification, here is the link to the chapter on improving Norwalk’s traffic studies in the taxpayer-funded $500k Norwalk Comprehensive Traffic Management Plan (NCTMP), which was strongly supported by Mayor Moccia and Hal Alvord 3 years ago and deemed “urgent” when it was approved by the Common Council:
    .

    http://www.vhb.com/norwalktmp/pdf/final/Chapter%202-4%20-%20Traffic%20Impact%20Guidelines.pdf

    In the introduction to that chapter, here is the directive that guided my position in the meeting last night:
    .

    “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.”
    .

    In that chapter, guidelines are listed that say any project over 20,000 SF (BJ’s is 109,908 SF) and more than 100 parking spaces (BJ’s has 402 spaces), SHOULD have a traffic study that includes ALL intersections “with an increase of 25 or more cars per peak hour.” This would expand the study to include many more intersections in that part of the city that would be impacted than the six that are currently included on Main Avenue only.
    .
    The study also recommends: “If deemed necessary, the City may choose to hire a peer review consultant to perform an independent review of the study and provide technical comments. The City would then either approve the TIAS (traffic study) as is or provide comments to have the developer revise the study.”
    .
    My point last night was that considering that this dangerous stretch of road is deemed a “high priority corridor” by SWRPA, our regional planning association, because it has “one of the poorest bicycle and pedestrian safety records of any state highway in the region”, with 20 mostly pedestrian accidents per mile (17 ped., 3 bike), and because it also has a very high vehicle accident rate, and because our own Master Plan calls for a maximum size of 10,000 square feet on this site, why wouldn’t the City of Norwalk do its due diligence to protect the public health and safety of Norwalk residents and businesses and “deem necessary” to have a peer review traffic study to confirm all the recommendations and complicated technical changes the BJ’s consultant has made to 6 major intersections on Main Avenue that affect thousands every day, not to mention the more outlying intersections sure to be affected according to the NCTMP guidelines?

    Mr. Maslan seemed unaware of this entire chapter and how it relates directly to the Planning and Zoning Department specifically, when he stated on the record that this study is NOT meant to be considered by the P and Z Department. So I guess Norwalk taxpayers just paid $500k for a study that means nothing! Unbelievable.
    .

    Here are the facts:

    This study was completed in September of 2012, almost a year ago. That is around the same time BJ’s started negotiating with the city (unbeknownst to the public or this Zoning Commissioner by the way.) If, as Councilman McCarthy, chair of the Public Works Committee has stated, this study was in force as soon as it was completed (in contrast to Maslan’s odd and desperate assertion last night that this study has not been “adopted” yet, just to confuse the issue) then why wouldn’t the above statement hold true for the P and Z Department, and why wouldn’t our regulations directly reflect the findings in this study?
    .

    It is like our city is being run by the Keystone Kops: expensive studies are completed, yet they are not applied, and in many cases key staff like the Director of Planning and Zoning seem to not even know they exist.
    .

    This also apples to the 2006 Westport-North-Main Study, which called for a maximum retail on the BJ’s site of 10,000 square feet, which our 2008 Master Plan of Conservation and Development specifically refers to in this action item, which is up to the Planning and Zoning Director to implement (that’s his job):
    .

    Page 37, E.3.1.11: “Implement the recommendations of the Westport-North_Main Plan and Study.”

    That was 5 years ago! Yet, last night, our assistant Planning and Zoning Director Mike Wrinn said it was up to the Zoning Commission to do this. Let me get this straight: we taxpayers pay staff six-figure salaries (among the highest in the state)to implement the Master Plan of Conservation and Development, a state-mandated document that is the most important planning tool in the city, and yet it’s up to a bunch of volunteers who show up once a month to do all the hard work? This is convenient finger-pointing and nothing else.
    .

    This just proves how dysfunctional our planning process is in Norwalk, and why it needs a serious overhaul. No one is in charge, and we have an obsolete zoning code in need of a serious professional review.
    .

    If the city was properly managed, and the staff had done their jobs in implementing the Master Plan which is what we pay them to do, we would not have a BJ’s apllication before us, as that area would have been re-zoned years ago as our professionally prepared Master Plan dictated.
    .

    So here we are, 7 years after an expensive taxpayer-funded study performed by professional planners determined this site could not support a big box store, and we have an application over TEN TIMES the recommended size before us, with staff telling the volunteer Zoning Commission it was OUR job to update the obsolete zoning code which allowed this, not theirs! And folks wonder why I am so annoyed at times!
    .

    Lastly, the Special Permit regulations state the following, in contrast with Mr. Maslan’s WRONG assertion on the record last night that the Zoning Commission is NOT to consider the Master Plan in it’s decisions, only zoning regulations (a serious violation of our own regulations):
    .

    K.) “Compliance with the Zoning Code AND Plan of Development”. (my capitals for emphasis)
    .

    Interesting to note that Mr. Maslan advised the Commission in another recent application which had much publicity and was denied by a majority of the Commission, to FOLLOW the Special Permit rules including this one I quote, despite the fact that that application adhered to all of our Zoning regulations. I also want to say that the traffic consultant on the BJ’s application is the same one on the other application I just mentioned, and in that case, the consultant’s findings were seriously questioned by the SAME Commissioners who are now asking the public to trust him to re-design a significant length of Main Avenue, and who in this case has also stated that this application will actually IMPROVE traffic conditions. So, skeptical on one project, and fully confident on the next. Curious? Yes, me too.
    .

    And, as I have said before, I have no opinion about this project at this time, and am waiting for the applicant to prove it will work. I only am referring to our Master Plan and other regulations and studies which we are SUPPOSED to consider in our decisions, despite what our Corporation Counsel says to the contrary. (Maslan is appointed by Mayor Moccia, who publicly supports this application, and is also his personal attorney.)

    Have you ever noticed the strong stench around City Hall like I have?

  11. oldtimer

    Is Maslan saying the recommendations of the study have no effect until after the Zoning commission votes to include them in the zoning regulations and that cannot be done while an application is pending ? When can it be done ? Isn’t there always some application pending ? He argues Zoning cannot change the rules now, until after ruling in this application. Sounds easy enough, vote this application down because the applicant’s traffic study is incredible.

  12. Silverminer

    Just to clarify, Frank Zullo is the attorney for BJs, though it is easy to see how someone could be confused.
    Maslan does represent our mayor well.
    It will be interesting to see what the backlash is, if as they propose, it is to be voted on in September, passing without them having done their due diligence (by getting more information rather than taking the word of the developers hired gun).
    Does Moccia really believe that the November election is that far away?!? Short sighted….. As in all things.

  13. Lisa Thomson

    Stamford gets NBC Sports and we get traffic and big box stores like Lowes and BJs. Depressing!

  14. jlightfield

    There seems to some confusion as to how the master plan gets implemented. The policy making body is in fact the Zoning Commission. Staff implements what the Commission (as a body) puts forward as regulation. So, if a policy implementation states in a particular zone that building size can’t be more than X, then a corresponding regulation is needed to specify that requirement in that zone etc. A study reflects policy recommendations. Having served on the Westport Ave./ Main Ave study, I can speak to the reality that it reflected many possible policy options for the Commission to consider. One of those policy options was the requirement for buildings in this zone to require two floors. That policy was adopted and the result is that all applicants must comply. Unless the Commission chooses to change the regulation, which it recently did to allow the single story Lowe’s facility on Connecticut Ave.

  15. David

    Lisa, I think you nailed it there. Someone else said in another post that Norwalk should be attracting high-quality (or high paying) jobs instead of the lowest common denominator.
    .
    This really shows the level of creativity and leadership that starts at the top of Norwalk’s political system.

  16. M. Murray’s

    I like Costco. I think BJ’s provides quality goods at a good price also. The route 7 connector and West Rocks Rd run parallel to Main Av, so people should be able to avoid Main Av if it gets congested.

  17. Debora

    I’m guessing the urgency around the expensive traffic study had more to do with getting state money for all those fancy traffic cameras and the new traffic lights. Now its inconvenient.

    I think that someone pointed out that the traffic study done by the developer was limited to those few intersections required by the state. But it seems clear that the city requires more.

  18. Joe Espo

    Lisa Thomson: If Stamford had the same Luddite retrograde moonbat malcontents that we have here in Norwalk, Stamford wouldn’t get NBC Sports or anything else unless that’s more useful than a vegetarian restaurant, a bicycle repair shop or a Birkenstock shoe store.

  19. Karen Bartron

    My heart goes out to the Rolling Ridge residents who oppose this project, and feel that it is a “fait accompli”. We do not all have the “deep pockets” of developers to fight a project. There is something so wrong with a process that allows developers to work with planning and zoning, present their plan at a hearing where the public cannot speak and finally go to a public hearing where supposedly the public is allowed input. (If the vote is on the agenda, the zoning commission can vote to approve at that very same meeting.) Additionally, our Special Permit section of the codes allows for far too much discretion. Why don’t we do what needs to be done to protect our city from over-development?–Change the process so the public has input from the start and strengthen and revise our zoning regulations.

  20. Laura

    M. Murray, when you say that “people should be able to avoid Main Av if it gets congested” you prove our point exactly. The traffic will overflow onto Ward Street, Aiken Street, West Rocks Road, and Linden, which will create massive congestion on our already heavily-trafficked local streets, just down the hill from West Rocks Middle School. The area of Main Ave for the proposed BJs is a most inappropriate location for a store of this type. It is UNCONSCIONABLE of our elected officials and their appointees to cavalierly neglect the impact this will have on our neighborhoods and property values. If they had the will, they would find a way to do a credible traffic study that includes the surrounding neighborhoods. The question remains as to why only Mushak was advocating for more study, while the rest sat and bobbed their heads in thrall to the BJs plan. I read that Mayor Moccia won the last election by 200 votes. There are 200 residents in the Rolling Ridge Condos alone, more in Winnipauk and Sunrise. We will remember well in November the decisions that our elected officials make surrounding this issue. That will be the ultimate “fait accompli.”

  21. RU4REAL

    Thank you Laura for the response to the silly post by Murray. He was joking right?

  22. Joe Espo

    Does that bicycle study Mike’s waving about contemplate the impact on the personal hygiene for the perspiring denizens of the bus-truck-car-dodger bicyclers on their way to work in a sweaty smelly brooks brothers suit or on their way to the grocery store with body odor indistinguishable from the cod fish catch of the day?

    I dunno…

    Just wondering.

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

  23. Lifelong Teacher

    I have to agree with Lisa Thompson. BJs will bring minimum wage part time jobs, very little tax revenue, and an environmental and traffic mess. You can’t raise a family or buy a home with what their employees will earn. The last thing Norwalk needs is another big box store.

    We should be following Stamford’s model and bringing quality development to our city. Remember this in November.

  24. Lisa Thomson

    I just read on another news site, It’s Relevant, that hedge fund, Bridgewater is putting $5M worth of investments back into Stamford for an animal shelter, improvements to a marina, improvements to a couple of their city parks, and contributions to the city’s fireworks.

    Of course, the development is not without its controversy, they bought a plot of land to build a campus where there was an old boat yard. But my point is that, once again, Stamford gets a hedge fund company or NBC Sports and we get big box.

    What are either BJs or Lowes planning to give back to Norwalk other than minimum wage jobs and traffic headaches?

    (Apologies in advance if I cut and pasted the link incorrectly, but I’m sure readers get my point)

    Planning%20Board%20Postpones%20BLT%20Hearing&body=http%3A%2F%2Fstamford.itsrelevant.com%2Fcontent%2F15270%2FPlanning-Board-Postpones-BLT-Hearing

  25. Debora

    Lisa,

    Bridgewater is a poor example. The money they are plowing into those improvements came from the state to lure them
    to Stamford from Westport (I believe it was First Five money), robbing Peter to pay Paul. Lowe’s did, in fact grant one of Norwalk’s parks something like $12, 000 (I don’t remember the exact amount). Unfortunately, that gift was suspiciously timed. It coincided with an exception to the zoning requirement for retail stores of that size to have a second floor on CT Avenue that looked a lot like “spot zoning”.

    People genuinely want to see development that brings jobs that allow people to afford living in Norwalk. They also want to know that our city isn’t cutting deals that only benefit the developers.

  26. RU4REAL

    @Espo
    It is fine to voice your opinions but you don’t have to be an … about it.
    You should be ashamed of yourself.

  27. Diane C2

    I want to ask two seemingly dumb, but not so dumb questions, yes, sprinkled with sarcasm:

    1) What’s up with these behemoth development reviews happening in Julys and Augusts? Just sayin….

    2) Do planning and zoning staff work for the developers and their attorneys, or do they work for us, the residents and taxpayers? Just askin…

  28. Suzanne

    Both fundamentally excellent questions and what, I believe, is underlying the entire development of Norwalk right now. (The obvious answers being, “To slide by the constituency whose residences are most affected in high summer when everyone is on vacation” and “Clearly the developers because the constituency is the last to have a say and the Commission doesn’t listen anyway.”)

  29. English student

    Either the person posting as JOE ESPO is a pretty good mimic of writing styles and may even have worked his way through college writing papers for other students. Or, that person is one of the severest critics of those of us who choose to comment under pen names, when he is commenting under his given name. (Bill Something ?) Whatever, although the comments are sometimes clever enough, for William Safire fans, JOE ESPO is no William Safire. Then again, his client is no Spiro Agnew.

  30. Piberman

    The smart money is betting on attorney former Democrat Mayor Zullo whom I believe has an unmatched record of successfully securing P&Z approval for his clients. Mr Mushak’s efforts illustrate unfortunately that in Norwalk there are “facts” and “realities”. No set of “facts” are likely to overturn the desires of the City’s governing elite from pursuing Big Box. Norwalk attorneys do well with advocating Big Box.. Even when they are Democrat leaders. What other demonstrations of business development can they offer ?
    Eventually Norwalk will run out of Big Box space. That will cause a problem for the governing elites. It wasn’t always like this. Once upon a time Norwalk actually had two vibrant political parties with real independent spirits on the P&Z like Mr Mushak. Without an active opposition the P&Z remains a “rubber stamp”. Big Box is really Norwalk GOP triumphant. So enjoy the “celebration”. Norwalk is the Big Box City writ large with stagnant Grand and property lists. Hail Big Box. We are Fairfild County’s Big Box champions. Who is not proud of that lofty distinction ? Big Box, Big Box. Who knows when the next Big Box is coming ? And who it will be ? That’s the real mystery about Norwalk ! Glory be.

  31. The Whole Truth

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but is the lawyer representing BJ’s the same lawyer for the Mayor and City? Isn’t this a conflict of interest?

    (Editor’s note: No. Mr. Zullo is a former Norwalk mayor who represents developers who want to do projects in the city. Robert Maslan is Norwalk’s corporation counsel; Jeffry Spahr is the deputy corporation counsel. See the full staff at http://www.norwalkct.org/Directory.aspx?DID=64)

  32. The Whole Truth

    The Zoning & Planning hear for this debacle will be held on Sept. 19 in the Community Room at City Hall, 125 East Ave. Be there and make your presence heard.

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