NORWALK, Conn. — Some Norwalk political notes for you:
- A virtual Jan. 6 ‘Vigil for Democracy’
- Sikh temple hearing resumes Thursday
- Your opinion wanted: What should be built on the waterfront?
- Redevelopment looking at South Norwalk train station area
- Manresa hearing set
Planning to ‘strengthen democracy’
The one-year anniversary of the attack on the nation’s Capitol is a major topic on some television news networks, and Attorney General Merrick Garland created headlines Wednesday by promising that the Justice Department will hold all “perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law –whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy.”
Locally, you could mark the anniversary by attending a Westport-based Zoom event, a “Vigil for Democracy,” where U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Greenwich) and Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill are expected to offer remarks.
The goal is to “talk about the significance of the January 6 insurrection and what we can, and must, do now and going forward to protect and strengthen our democracy,” according to organizers Common Cause in Connecticut, Indivisible CT-4, League of Women Voters of Connecticut, Resisters, Voter Choice Connecticut and the Unitarian Church in Westport-UUtheVote.
The Rev. John Morehouse of the Unitarian Church, LWV of Connecticut President Laura Smits, Connecticut Common Cause Executive Director Cheri Quickmire and leaders of democracy-oriented grassroots organizations will also speak.
It begins at 7 p.m. More information is here.
Organizers say, “Following the remarks, there will be a real-time call to action, then we’ll break into smaller groups to share our feelings about what happened last January, to draw inspiration from each other, and to discuss what else we can do individually and collectively to protect and strengthen our precious democracy.”
Gurudwara discussion resumes, with vote possible
Also today, Jan. 6: the Norwalk Zoning Commission resumes its public hearing on the Sikh religious center proposed for 283 Richards Ave.
Nearly 200 people attended December’s part I of the public hearing on Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji Foundation’s application to build a 18,000 square foot, two-and-a-half story gurudwara on 1.01 acres of land in an AAA residence zone via a special permit. Tonight’s event will probably lead to a vote, given that the Zoning Commission is merging with the Planning Commission next week.
Opponents predict traffic problems and say the site won’t include enough parking for worshippers or special events at the gurudwara. Applicants say they’ve arranged for off-site parking at Fox Run Elementary School, when it’s needed. Norwalk Community College is also a possibility.
Principal Planner Bryan Baker has issued Zoning Commissioners a memo listing the issues and offering draft resolutions for denial or approval.
“Staff maintains that the bulk requirements for the application, including required parking spaces, setbacks, maximum building area, maximum building height and number of stories complies with the applicable sections of the Norwalk Building Zone Regulations,” Baker wrote.
P&Z to begin waterfront land use public input sessions
Utile, a Boston-based consulting firm, began work here in 2020 as the winner of a $100,000 contract to conduct an industrial zones study. The waterfront area was broken out for separate scrutiny and now the Planning and Zoning Department wants your input.
The first public engagement meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Jan. 18 and bad weather isn’t likely to be a roadblock as it’s all online.
It’s your “opportunity to share your opinions on land use scenarios for industrial and commercial land uses along the upper to mid landward areas around the Norwalk Harbor!” P&Z states.
The goal is to develop “a balanced vision for the waterfront that has broad support, that isn’t just representing one stakeholder group or one vision,” Zoe Mueller, Utile’s project manager, said recently.
Redevelopment wants opinions on SoNo development
The Norwalk Redevelopment Agency is seeking input on the South Norwalk train station area study, in a virtual public hearing scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Jan. 12.
A brief presentation will be followed by a community conversation on:
- Neighborhood and station integration and connectivity
- Development opportunities for sites adjacent to the train station
More project details can be found here.
- Zoom Webinar Link: https://vhb.zoom.us/j/87513467788?pwd=NUJrT2JIM3lXWk9hTlorL1d6VVJEdz09
- Or, head to https://zoom.us/join and enter
- Webinar ID: 875 1346 7788
- Passcode: 084063
Citizens challenge ConnDOT’s Manresa plan
The wheels are turning at their usual rate as State government sets up a public hearing on the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s plan to use Manresa Island for Walk Bridge construction work.
- The public hearing is set to begin 3 p.m. Feb. 23 on Zoom
- The deadline for written comment is 5 p.m. Feb. 28
- A follow-up evidentiary hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Feb. 28 on Zoom
- A second evidentiary hearing would be held in March 2
ConnDOT needs approval from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the hearing process has been forced by both the Norwalk Harbor Management Commission and by a coalition of neighborhood groups, Hearing Officer Kathleen Reiser said Wednesday in a pre-hearing status conference held online.
Reiser plans to visit the site ahead of the hearings.
The neighborhood groups have launched an informational website and will be distributing fliers across the city with hopes of “inundating” DEEP with comments from the public, according to Mark Smith, who attended Wednesday’s hearing. He said, “The anecdotal feedback I’ve gotten is that almost everyone opposes the use of Manresa, but that will bear itself out in the next few weeks, if I’m correct.”
Information added, 3:22 p.m.