Norwalk. A love story for developers.

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I do not live in East Norwalk but as a resident of Norwalk, East Norwalk is a unique and charming crown jewel and the gateway to a gorgeous waterfront community where Norwalkers live, work, walk, shop and eat. Everyone visits East Norwalk and this area of Norwalk belongs to all of us in a special way. It is where we visit as the weather warms and we see friendly faces as we walk the beach or visit the cove marina for a morning cup of coffee. It is where we have memories of pushing our grandkids on a swing or bringing our own children to see the fireworks on the 4th of July. It is a place where moms get together to cool off the kids at the splash pad and enjoy some adult chit chat while the kids have a blast. It is where Norwalk students take their field trip and learn about Long Island Sound, sea creatures, oysters and collect seashells. It is the place where we meet family and old friends to see an outdoor concert or have a bite to eat and sit around the firepit at Ripkas and watch the January full moon. East Norwalk is home to some fabulous local eats and home to our seniors with two assisted living facilities. It is where 400+ students attend school September-June and learn, play and thrive. 

The Mill Pond Development is the perfect illustration of why I believe the people of the city of Norwalk have lost their voice. Our city’s rapid approval process in favor of developments does not provide the proper checks and balances to ensure input from its residents. It’s no secret that the East Norwalk community came out and passionately voiced their opposition to the plan as it had been submitted. Almost 800 residents and stakeholders signed a petition asking the decision makers to scale the project back. So what happened? 

Why are residents dismissed? Why are their legitimate requests and concerns not deserving of action? It seems Norwalkers no longer get a say as to what they want for our community and the concerns fall on deaf ears of those that are appointed by our Mayor.  So many spoke at public hearings and stressed that despite studies they already felt the impacts and negative quality of life aspects and that further excessive development in this area would only add to these effects and in turn impact their daily life. The residents’ voices were silenced and the developers prevailed. I believe strongly that the layout as approved was designed to maximize the developers’ profits. Incidentally, the developer who in 2019 and 2021 donated the maximum allowable amount to the Rilling for Mayor campaign. Maybe it is just a coincidence? 

I support transit-oriented development for future projects but the area that this development exists leaves great concern regarding quality of life and infrastructure impacts. For TOD to work it has to be a benefit for the public, not the developer and the project locations need to be carefully considered. This location cannot support such a high density development project as Mill Pond. Residents’ concerns regarding the traffic study that was performed was done in March and anyone who lives in Norwalk knows that East Norwalk in the late spring and summer months is a very crowded place and traffic studies taking place before late May are flawed and should have not even been considered by the decision makers.  

With that, this project does not embrace our communities passion for environment, nature and open space landscape accessible to all. This area is the gateway of a small harborside neighborhood and overdeveloping that area will have great impacts to Mill Pond’s ecosystem that includes plants, organisms and animals. Residents deserve clean water and air, the right to bike and walk safely and the right to access their beaches, parks and water with ease. 

Stop valuing profits over people. Our city has a responsibility to the residents that live here and to treat residents as if their voices matter. We are not the villains but the victims. 

Vinny Scicchitano

Republican Mayoral Candidate


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12 responses to “Norwalk. A love story for developers.”

  1. bryanmeek

    Not to worry. Paper straws served up in plastic wrappers will make sure the sea levels no longer rise and flood this parking lot every few years like they have since forever. And our 20 year 1/4, maybe half funded plan to stop dumping billions of gallons of untreated sewage into the sound will make 100,000s more toilets totally sustainable. The reduced emissions from everyone walking to the train and riding their bikes to stews to get milk and ice cream should also put a stop to these things they call tides.

    Seriously, at some point you’ll have to walk everywhere in this city if you want to get anywhere inside of an hour. Our roads have NEVER been in worse shape with pot holes, sink holes, temporary patching, broken traffic signals, and no serious plan to address the real issues. The infrastructure priorities are so out of whack, this city is going to choke to itself to death with bone crushing traffic if common sense doesn’t come back into play soon.

    Just a few examples you say? Ok.

    $850,000 to replace a traffic light at Eversley that for the most part works a lot better than the brand new ones on West Avenue that turn red for no reason with no one coming the other way. $850,000 for 24 light bulbs, a few mast arms, and some software. More than the average house costs.

    Handicap ramps to nowhere on Bayne. Who asked for these? Why do some of them not even connect to a walk way? Why was this more important than fixing the lunar crater landscape of a road on West Rocks. I heard Panera is moving into the old NSS. A tire and suspension shop could make a mint there.

    I could go on, but further, alowing DOT to do whatever it wants to this city, whenever it wants, and take as long as it wants NEEDS to STOP.

    WE need a Mayor and other leaders that actually stand up for us instead of bending over to Hartford’s wishes constantly. How many more years is the Strawberry Hill Ave overpass going to take? Does anyone really believe the Walk bridge will be done inside of 5 years? The DOT is on year 13 on the Merritt from the shovel ready jobs and still have not connected 15 to 7 which will take another 5 years just to plan. This job security / longevity game at Norwalk’s expense is unacceptable.

    Most I know aren’t against progress, but the planning and execution we are witnessing is plain and simply incompetent. You don’t build apartments out the wazoo with subsidies and then figure out the infrastructure problems later. You build the infrastructure out first, then let the development naturally happen under market forces, not with land grabs of tax breaks and incentives. It may be working for a few, but it is not working for most of us.

    I love East Norwalk too. I also used to love being able to drive down there inside of 15 minutes. It can take 45 minutes to get from Cranbury to Rowayton now thanks to the complete failure of proper urban planning

    Handicap ramps on Bayne St connected to nothing aren’t going to fix the issues.

  2. bryanmeek

    The editor needs work. No paragraphs? Just cuts off and posts at some word limit?.

  3. David Muccigrosso

    “where Norwalkers live, work, walk, shop and eat”

    Ummm… at what retail? East Norwalk has WAY less ground-floor retail than anywhere else in town. Don’t kid yourself.

    “I support transit-oriented development for future projects but the area that this development exists leaves great concern regarding quality of life and infrastructure impacts.”

    Translation: Not In My [Constituents’] Back Yard. Put the mean apartment people anywhere else and take all their tax money to subsidize East Norwalk, but just don’t disturb the vocal minority’s fantasy of freezing their neighborhoods in amber.

    To be clear, even though I generally support growth, I support halting further construction and focusing on the transportation issues in East Norwalk. East Ave is a hellish stroad that needs to be rehabilitated. But no one needs to indulge Vinny’s fantasy world in order to come to that same conclusion.

  4. Becca Stoll

    I don’t share the candidate’s views, but I’m actually just here to call out an assumption:

    “It is a place where moms get together to cool off the kids at the splash pad and enjoy some adult chit chat while the kids have a blast”

    Whether or not you meant to, the use of the specific word “moms” instead of, for example “parents,” reinforces the gender bias that women are the only ones tasked with caretaking of children. Even if that reflects your own lived experience, it’s important to use words, especially words about how you would like East Norwalk to be, that point towards the more egalitarian society I hope you and I both desire.

    And to the points about traffic, the whole point of TOD is less need for cars. I specifically moved to East Norwalk so that I could walk to the train, and make it to my job in NYC in less than 90 minutes. I would imagine those are exactly the kind of tenants a place like Mill Pond is meant for. The public WOULD ALL benefit from fewer cars on the roads, more sidewalks, better nighttime street lighting, more dedicated bike lanes, and more options for bus transit. THAT would actually fulfill your wish for us all to have “the right to bike and walk safely and the right to access their beaches, parks and water with ease.”

  5. John C. Miller Jr.

    Norwalk has more than enough ground-floor retail in every section of the city. There are four main arteries that run through East Norwalk and terminate at Calf Pasture Beach; Strawberry Hill Avenue, East Avenue, Gregory Boulevard and Seaview Avenue. Those who think that any of these roads are suitable for additional ground-floor retail are the ones who are living in a fantasy world (and it isn’t Vinny) and whining and using pejoratives like NIMBY won’t change that reality. Maybe someone can start a water taxi service from the head of harbor and through the raw sewage in the Norwalk River to Calf Pasture to alleviate some of the traffic problems. Just remember to hold your nose.

  6. David Muccigrosso

    @John, last time I was out on the water, there was zero smell. You’re imagining things.

    East Norwalk’s problem isn’t any lack of ground-floor retail, it’s just that for Vinny to say it’s a place for “shopping” is UTTERLY LAUGHABLE.

    NO ONE goes to East Norwalk for the shopping. They go there for the beach, for the ice cream, for a handful of auto shops, a handful of churches, that horrifically-placed Dunkin, and that’s about it.

    Again, let’s not kid ourselves here.

    Just because I’m calling Vinny a NIMBY doesn’t mean I can’t recognize that East Norwalk isn’t ready for change. But please, please, PLEASE, mother****ing PLEASE don’t get in the way of us developing whatever the heck we want over here in SoNo. Your neighborhood is YOURS, our neighborhood is OURS. You shouldn’t get to dictate terms to us any more than we get to dictate them to you.

  7. bryanmeek

    Some of the best deli’s in Norwalk are in East Norwalk. Too bad you can’t get there and back from Cranbury for lunch inside of 45 minutes. Anyone saying there is no smell or effluence in the river isn’t even worth debating. Anyone who has taken more than a few boat rides in their life has seen it first hand floating by. Ask the people living over on Charles or Platt if it smells ever.

    1. David Muccigrosso

      If the waste is overwhelming the system, then BUILD A BIGGER WASTEWATER PLANT.

      DUH, Bryan.

      All the hand-wringing and “we’re full” and “we can’t” is just flagrantly un-American. We are supposed to be a nation that builds things. Like wastewater plants. And houses.

      Your growing failure of imagination is only going to lead us to despair and stagnation. If the growth that you so deeply hate accommodating ever left, you’d be the first one complaining.

  8. David Muccigrosso

    Also, John, it’s telling that you think “NIMBY” is a pejorative.

    If you don’t like people calling “please don’t build this here, build it somewhere else” exactly what it is, then maybe the problem isn’t the people calling you out, it’s YOU.

    You can’t advocate for literal NIMBYism and then get mad when people call you a NIMBY. Or, if you actually do think the NIMBY philosophy is so shameful, then why are you advocating for NIMBY positions in practice?

  9. bryanmeek

    Unlike you David. I am actually informed on the subject. It’s the collection system that is in dire need of correction and like the Strawberry Hill Ave Bridge….it is SO important to those running this city, that we are going to try to fix that in the next 5 years with monies set aside that everyone knows are not nearly enough to fix the enormity of the problem. What we don’t have the money set aside for are the 20 year plans to refit/build out the plant itself. That is in the works.

    What the detractors say is the claim that 100,000s of additional flushes overloading the system is not true, they end the conversation there because deep down they know they are making an oversimplified straw-man argument to stifle conversations..

    Here’s the reality. An inch and a half of rain on the surface of the city is 1 billion gallons of water. A lot of this water soaks into the ground depending on how dry it is. And some (still a lot) drains off into our roadways and drainage systems that can not handle the volume. Where the drainage is not separated from the sewage system as it is in many cases it flows into that and causes the problem where we have to let the siphon open otherwise it would back up into the city streets. In the winter time, frozen turds in the street would not be a good look.

    By your tone and comments it seems you are ok with taxpayers subsidizing development, then on top if it paying for all the necessary infrastructure. I bet if you surveyed people outside of your bubble, you might be surprised to find out that most of us are not ok with this approach. I bet you’d find that most people would rather we focus with more urgency on the sewage spills and less time on plastic bags and leaf blowers.

    1. David Muccigrosso

      By your tone and comments it seems you are ok with taxpayers subsidizing development, then on top if it paying for all the necessary infrastructure. I bet if you surveyed people outside of your bubble, you might be surprised to find out that most of us are not ok with this approach. I bet you’d find that most people would rather we focus with more urgency on the sewage spills and less time on plastic bags and leaf blowers.

      Bryan — You know what they say about assuming.

      For one, I’ve argued VEHEMENTLY against the corrupt political machine subsidizing development. And I’ve directly told you on numerous occasions that I’d prefer the alternative of a universal by-right upzoning of one increment: slow, organic growth. I know you’ve got a lot of facts rattling around that head of yours, but come on, man. I don’t make this stuff a secret.

      But now that the infrastructure is here, YES WE NEED TO PAY FOR IT. And guess who’s paying for it? The highest revenue per square foot is in SoNo. Did the developers corruptly get themselves exempted from paying taxes? Of course. Does *MY* rent have my landlord’s property taxes priced in? He’d be a moron if he DIDN’T.

      I’m not the one locked in a bubble. I get out and about the neighborhood where I live. I’ve patronized almost every business here. I get out on the water and paddle up and down the river. I run across the Stroffolino bridge at least 4 times a week for a good 30 laps or so along the riverfront in Veterans’ Park. Most of the people from your district visit SoNo what, maybe a dozen or so times a year at best? They spend most of their time in their cars and their homes, go to the Post Road for their groceries and big box stores, and only come down here for a nice night out, or a kids’ soccer game, or the Oyster Festival. THAT sounds like the bubble to me here. Not the way *I* live.

  10. Tysen Canevari

    But just imagine. We are going to embrace no mow month so the ticks and garbage can collect at the traffic corners. Last year they included the library which was borderline disgusting. It was so bad that the library personnel had to get the dpw to come and use and extra big machine to cut it back down. Nice look for our town. Hey David, I have a boat in the water in East Norwalk. Come have a beer at low tide and tell me if you smell the poo poo plant nearby.

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