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Norwalkers push Planning Committee for better planning, citing ‘cat and mouse game,’ political pressure

From left, Planning Committee Chairman Doug Hempstead (R-At Large)
From left, Planning Committee Chairman Doug Hempstead (R-At Large), Michael McGuire and Lisa Thomson.

NORWALK, Conn. – The push for planning was sprung on Norwalk Common Council members Thursday as four citizens urged the Planning Committee to change the way business is done, invoking the recent spectacles of a proposed BJ’s Wholesale Club and the mosque proposed for 127 Fillow St., as well as the plan to enlarge a house in the middle of Rowayton’s Farm Creek.

Michael McGuire, Jackie Lightfield and Lisa Thomson each struck similar notes.  

“Following the recent mosque settlement vote, I was angered and frustrated by the self-congratulatory tone exhibited by several Common Council members,” Thomson said. “It’s not that I disagreed with the vote. In light of pending litigation, I thought it a mathematical no-brainer to do the settlement. But what it proved to me that the buck stops with the Common Council when it comes to land uses and if the buck stops with the Common Council, my thought is why doesn’t it start with you?”

“All cities have their problems and issues, but tonight I want to suggest to you that our’s, Norwalk’s, stems from a planning and management format that creates problems that are often not seen for up to a decade or more,” McGuire said. “We start these things way back but it takes until now to see them. The primary culprit is a lack of real, organized, long-term coherent planning that takes into account the possible impact of each commission’s decisions relative to the whole. Sound business practices would suggest we hire an advisor to keep us out of these ongoing problems.”

“I echo what Lisa Thomson and Mike McGuire said,” Lightfield said. “There should be somebody from the planning department that staffs this particular committee. It’s not a complicated thing. In Stamford they have a similar committee, they refer to it as the land use committee and it is staffed by the land use department for the city of Stamford.”

Committee Chairman Doug Hempstead (R-At Large) said it was an interesting issue but he didn’t know the history of the organizational system. He asked McGuire and Thomson to email their comments to committee members so their ideas could be examined more fully, given that the item was not on the committee’s agenda and there was other work to be done.

There will be plenty to go over.

“While P&Z codes need updating for 2014, I think a larger contributor to our disputes are our processes,” Thomson said. “There’s a perception by regular residents that application processes are inconsistent and kind of give way to gate-keeping or cronyism or maybe even sometimes partisanship. As a homeowner, I find it disheartening because I look at us as ‘seaside town with a river running through it, a city with so much potential.’

Thomson said the neighborhoods contribute 89 percent of the tax base to the city, but do not have their own master plan.

“Why does the Common Council seem to only listen to the neighborhoods when we’re in Concert Hall crisis mode?” Thomson asked. “Another way the Common Council could demonstrate transparency would be to advocate for policies that are fair to all. Why can’t public hearings occur earlier in a development application process, instead of at the end when a project considered a fait accompli? Why aren’t architectural or building site plans posted on the building sites themselves, for all to see? It’s kind of like a cat and mouse game.”

Rowayton is waiting to see what architect Bruce Beinfield will do with the house at 2 Nearwater Drive, she said, repeating that it’s a cat and mouse game.

She suggested that the reform at the Board of Education be used as an example of the approach needed by the Common Council.

“Reform minded leadership needs to be adopted by the Common Council and it needs to trickle down to the land use and development boards and commissions,” Thomson said. “The perceived loopholes that are enjoyed by some, and I say they are perceived, seems in stark contrast to really good ordinance enforcement we seem to have over what I would consider to be petty violations.”

The quick response to a complaint about banners on her property and the Mike Mushak Flower Pot Incident are in stark contrast to “to bigger issues like truckloads of dirt coming in that change the grade and change the height of buildings or maybe lack of blight enforcement,” she said, as well as “questionable conservation land easements or public parking policies.”

“The mayor recently indicated in his State of the City Speech that he wanted to reform planning, development and zoning so common sense could prevail and Norwalk could reach its full, 21st Century potential,” Thomson said. “… As the highest-ranking government entity serving voters, the Common Council needs to support the mayor and lead this initiative. Norwalk’s future depends on it.”

“In following what happened with the Al Madany mosque, I began to realize what Norwalk is missing in the way of departmental coordination,” McGuire said. “However, this issue is much deeper, and more subtle than simply revamping P&Z with some new players … I am here to encourage the Common Council to hire a highly qualified non-politically appointed Economic Development/City Planning professional with oversight over P&Z, Redevelopment, Department of Public Works and Economic Development.   This needs to be a long-term staff position with absolutely no political affiliations associated with it.”

He offered examples of why Norwalk needs an Economic Development/City Planning professional:

The Norwalk Parking Authority

“NPA’s myopic view of being a self-sustaining entity, couple this with it’s politically pressured actions has resulted in lower property values in the urban core,” McGuire said.

“The (Parking Authority’s) need to be self-sufficient has resulted in costly SoNo parking fees that when coupled to draconian enforcement is directly chasing away customers and business. Result – lost opportunity, lower grand list and fewer jobs.”

“This (political pressure) is never more clear or evident than in 2006 when they cut the heads off the parking meters on Wall Street,” McGuire said. “Having a fee-based street parking was vital for the survival of the retail businesses there.  To date we have lost almost all of the new tenants who had come in by then in 2006 and they have been backfilled with lower quality tenants. Recently we have just lost two more, one who directly sites the lack of street parking. That’s The Stand. They’re moving downtown. They said, ‘Nobody can park in front of our building.’”

Planning and Zoning

The Planning and Zoning Department’s “reluctance to address the Restricted Industrial District” is “costing Norwalk millions in grand list value, jobs and businesses,” McGuire said.

“Industrial land for contractors in Stamford sells for $50-$60 per square foot,” McGuire said. “I have a client with a half-acre parcel on Martin Luther King. It’s in restricted industrial zone and it’s worth no more at this point than $10 a square foot due to the highly restrictive nature of restricted industrial zone which caters to a manufacturing that we just don’t have anymore. It’s ironic because also have, on the same property, we have an offer for over $30 a square foot simply to park trucks, but we can’t do it. Why? Because zoning precludes us from doing it.”

“The land use issues that are brought before you should be communicated to the planning department,” Lightfield said. “The fact that you don’t have anybody here from planning department is a rather interesting one.”

She said she understood Hempstead’s “nobody has thought about this before” perspective but said, “It is a question that I think you should spend a little more time on because while the Redevelopment Agency does great job and does the work they do which is great for the urban renewal areas, that is not the entire city. Your role as Common Council people is to look at the entire city.”

“One of the things I think Tim (Sheehan) has consistently pointed to over the years… is this amazing process by which the Redevelopment Agency can create a plan and you can adopt that plan as part of the redevelopment parcels and somehow the underlying zoning policy or the underlying planning policy that needs to be adopted never gets moved over to the Planning and Zoning department,” Lightfield said. “Part of that is, well, they’re not at the table and as advisement to you from the city side you should have someone from planning department who vets what the Redevelopment Agency says as what the plan should be and whether it’s good for the city or not good for the city. That check and balance is not in evidence here and hasn’t been in evidence for a number of years.”

Hempstead’ said, “It’s complicated,” an echo of a comment often made by Councilman Bruce Kimmel (D-At Large).

“I didn’t say it tonight,” Kimmel said.

Lightfield pressed. She said, “Out of the 169 different cities that do this we are the only one that doesn’t have anybody from the land use department staffing the legislative body when it comes to land use and planning issues.”

Comments

20 responses to “Norwalkers push Planning Committee for better planning, citing ‘cat and mouse game,’ political pressure”

  1. John Hamlin

    “It’s complicated.” Really? No one is in charge of, responsible for, or accountable for planning in Norwalk. That certainly makes lots of things very complicated. Coupled with the fact that there are no trained, credentialed, and experienced professional planners (that anyone can point to) in City government, it’s no wonder the City drifts from crisis to crisis down the highway of dysfunction. The Common Council should listen to these justifiably concerned and frustrated citizens.

  2. Bruce Kimmel

    This was an excellent discussion. All of the public participants made points that need to be taken seriously. The city’s been trundling along with its fingers crossed, dodging bullets — aware that our zoning regulations are inappropriate and out of date, aware that we do not have experienced planners in city government.
    .
    We need to reorganize P&Z and our other land use bodies so that a certified planner is in charge. Right now we have a “master plan” that nobody takes seriously, a council planning committee that really only pays attention to our redevelopment zones, and a planning commission that does… actually, I’m not sure what it does.
    .
    We are a colonial city with an incredible history; we have the longest coastline in the state; we have a couple of rivers running through the city; we have urban, rural and suburban communities… we seem to have it all, yet we can’t seem to get it together when it comes to planning a future we can all be proud of. This time, it definitely is NOT complicated.

  3. Mike Mushak

    All the great points made here by the speakers at the meeting, which I agree with, all relate to a completely dysfunctional planning process in Norwalk. How many times will city leaders need to hear this to do something about it? Who can honestly think that having Mike Greene, with his dubious professional qualifications and arrogant superior attitude, at the Planning Committee meetings instead of Tim Sheehan from Redevelopment is going to make any difference at all?
    .
    The broken process all relates back to Mike Greene, who has sat back for decades and taken a lazy approach to planning our city, finding excuse after excuse as to why none of it is his job to do, while following the predictable pattern of what wholly incompetent and fraudulent employees do to be able to live with themselves, which is compensate by skillfully deceiving themselves and others into believing that they are much more competent than they really are. That is why Greene despises real professional planners, ignores millions of dollars of expert studies, and thinks our Master Plan is useless. And why he is left skillfully manipulating the commissions into following his own lack of vision and warped ideas of planning that have little to do with real planning. Read the American Planning Association’s website and just weep for Norwalk. Where is our Sustainability Plan that every other smart city now has? Not a mention of it in Norwalk, as if the largest trend in professional planning and best practices across the country somehow does not apply in Norwalk. Unbelievable.
    .
    When someone doesn’t know how to plan their way out of a paper bag let alone plan a whole city, their only defense is to build a wall of arrogance and superiority around them and pretend they are the smartest person in the room when it is obvious to everyone with even minimal planning qualifications they don’t have a clue what they are doing. I mean, just look at the continuing blight on Wall Street as Exhibit One, where millions of dollars of taxpayer investment has been wasted by Greene over the decades with poor planning and vision, and little coordination between the well known arch rivals in City Hall, the Redevelopment Agency and P and Z. It’s like the insane are running the asylum.
    .
    That is where Norwalk finds itself after decades of cronyism and bad planning decisions, and an under qualified and arrogant Planning and Zoning Director who thinks he is above by-laws, performance reviews, supervision by the Zoning Commission (which is the actual check and balance of his position in the City Charter), and the actual law.
    .
    Last year he said to the zoning commission, as my mouth dropped to the floor, that he and he alone has the power to interpret zoning regulations any way he wants when I presented evidence he was approving parking lots in violation of our own regulations and state laws, that illegally drained toxic polluted effluent into our harbor ever time it rains. I am not making this up. That’s truly how bad it is.
    .
    The list is almost endless of examples like this, yet we all pretend that Mr Greene can’t be forced out of his position because of vague union rules. No union would ever defend the blatant violations of process and law that Greene has done, if they had any integrity at all. But we still sit here wasting millions of potential property tax income, and years of lost potential on bad planning, and years of meetings and heart-felt efforts by well- intentioned citizens who are deceived into thinking that somehow Mike Greene is going to miraculously develop a professional planning background and do what we are paying him $165,000 a year and giving him 2 full months of paid vacation to do, which is actually plan our city.
    .
    Good luck with that. Watch the sad spectacle of Greene suddenly realize he needs to pretend more than ever he knows what he is doing, and watch his dwindling supporters from another era jump through hoops to explain the mess we are in. What a huge unnecessary waste of everyone’s time and energy and our taxpayer resources.
    .
    Replace Greene with a qualified professional with actual up-to-date planning credentials, and we won’t need a new position just to compensate for his currently useless and dysfunctional position, which is what I see some now trying to do.
    .
    When will we learn in Norwalk that municipal employees are not permanent or guaranteed for life, including Mike Greene, no matter how badly that perform or under qualified they are to hold their positions? And where are the fiscal conservatives in Norwalk on this? They should be all over it in the face of such fraud and abuse of our trust and our taxes. Wake up folks!

  4. EveT

    If the item was not on the committee’s agenda, how were these members of the public allowed to speak about it? Hasn’t the public been told we can only comment on matters that are on the agenda for a give meeting? Or does it depend what kind of meeting it is?

  5. Lisa Thomson

    @Eve- It was my understanding that public comments were allowed at this sort of sub-committee meeting (having viewed previous meeting minutes on the City’s website) and so I spoke. While specific land use examples were referenced – the topic was one of city planning in general and who owns it? Since the title of ‘planning’ is in this committee’s title, it seemed appropriate to start with them.

  6. EveT

    @Lisa Thomson, don’t get me wrong I’m very glad you and other citizens were allowed to speak. At other board & commission meetings I understand there’s often a very strict interpretation of what topics are considered pertinent to the agenda. I’m glad at least this CC subcommittee gave a broader interpretation and accepted these important comments.

  7. piberman

    Even if the City had more “advanced” planning and zoning regulations there’s no guarantee a determined religious or other applicant will not seek litigation to achieve a desired land use. Given the difficulty over recent decades in controlling City budgets the broader issue may well be how to secure better governance in Norwalk. By the litmus test of property values its punitive tax levels rather than zoning deficiencies that mostly explain stagnation. Improving City covernance may well require a City Manager to replace back slappiing Council members.

  8. Debora

    @Eve,
    Generally, that is true, but the Chairman has discretion and Councilman Hempstead was gracious in allowing us to address the committee so long as we were brief.

  9. Victor Cavallo

    I’m at a loss to explain why Councilman Kimmel, as erudite as he is percieved to be, has been willing to admit, twice within one week, his ignorance of what the Planning Commission does. Is it a not so veiled insult to the Commissioners designed to undermine the Commission’s function in the course of the ongoing debate about Norwalk’s planning and zoning governance? And this despite the fact that I posted earlier three functions that the Planning Commission is mandated to execute but which functions have been impeded by his Council’s failure to comply with the Charter and Code. And I hope I disabused him of the notion that we are staffed by the Redevelopment agency.

    I’d be happy to hold for his benefit a 15 minute primer/seminar before the next council meeting.

  10. diane lauricella

    Some cautionary notes:

    While accountability of a Department Director with proper credentials is imperative, please do not leave out holding other senior staff to account, for there are many other commissions others staff in the City Org chart that have heaviy influence on planning management decisionmaking. Unless these staff will claim they have been held back by their leader, we also pay all the staff to be professionals… and some of us have witnessed other staff misdirect or fail to include credible reports and planning policies.
    *
    *
    Second, I do not agree that there is no market for clean manufacturing or need to preserve all of our industrial zones. We have “given away” important industrial land for residential use (think back area of Norden) or for commercial use like a sports gym. More Manufacturing would bring more well-paying jobs and a more stable tax base that would reduce our heavy reliance on residential property taxes.
    *
    Other cities like Danbury preserve their industrial zones and use better long term judgement, instead of allowing short term gain alone in a piecemeal away.
    *
    We have not seemed to comprehensively look for or plan for additional manufacturing…we should not believe the myth that manufacturing is passé… if you don’t look for it you will NEVER find it!
    *
    I distinctly remember one well-known longtime land use lawyer who would say that “manufacturing is dead!”…because his clients were residential or big biz owners….until he got a manufacturing client that wanted his services….

  11. Taxpayer Fatigue

    The Planning Commission needs to step up to the plate and enforce its code mandated duties – not sit around, whine and say “poor, poor me, nobody talks to us”. Someone also needs to explain to them the difference between the Planning Committee of the Common Council and their Commission.

  12. Mike Mushak

    Victor Cavallo, you repeatedly blame the Council for not following the City Charter when it comes to working with the Planning Commission. This has been going on for decades, and is not new. The Planning Commission’s staff member is P and Z Director Mike Greene. Why hasn’t he, as the staff to the PC and a highly paid department head ($165k a year and 2 full months of paid vacation a year), fixed this problem years ago? Why would he witness this year after year and not make any fuss about it? Is it because it makes his job easier perhaps not to have to work with the Common Council?
    .
    Mr. Greene has become an expert at saying “it’s not my job” whenever he is reminded of his Charter-mandated and Master Plan-related responsibilities. Recently he even had the nerve to tell the BET, much to everyone’s astonishment, that our own state-mandated Master Plan is “advisory only” and basically useless, which is totally based on his incorrect interpretation of state statutes and his arrogance towards established professional planning standards and best practices in any form.. He got away with this nonsense for decades, but in the age of Google, he just cant pull off this charade any longer. It is embarrassing, really, that Norwalk has such and unqualified and arrogant Director of Planning and Zoning calling the shots on the future of our once-great city.

    This is just one more example of so many where Mr.. Greene has dropped the ball on his responsibilities to the taxpayers of Norwalk. All the evidence is pointing to Mr. Greene spending more time apparently just planning his next vacation instead of planning the city. For the umpteenth time I have asked you and others, please ask Mr. Greeene for his professional planning credentials, so the whole city can know how qualified he is and decide if their investment of millions of taxpayer dollars in this dubious public servant is worth it. Stop pointing fingers at the Council and others when the breakdown of the Planning Commission into a mere shadow of what it should be is wholly to blame on one self-serving person alone who is the crucial staff to that entity, and that is Mike Greene.

  13. Suzanne

    While one step toward ridding Norwalk once and for all of incompetent management, I would suggest that not only the training and qualifications of Mr. Greene be examined. As a public servant, I think his work record and effectiveness as demonstrated by not only his “Works Well with Others” quotient in addition to his management skills and concrete accomplishments be examined.
    *
    After all, no one can fire without cause. A comprehensive examination within the government, not assessments on these threads, will be what leads to an evaluation of responsibilities for Mr. Greene’s position, his lack of effectiveness and, then, a country wide search for the appropriate candidate with the appropriate training and municipal and political experience can be found.
    *
    The lingering effects of this one man, who sets the stage for so many vital aspects of city governance, certainly needs to be replaced along with, as mentioned by DL above, a lot of others in our City government waiting for retirement and their pensions.
    *
    I am asking then, as a taxpayer and resident, that a nationwide search be conducted to replace Mike Greene, similar to that for Mr. Rivera and the BOE. Too much time is being spent tip-toeing around political rather than functional realities of this town. Norwalk needs to get on with the task of being an effective, well-run, supportive community to its residents. Enough talk.

  14. Mike Mushak

    Suzanne, right on! How many more years of wasted time and the waste of millions of taxpayer dollars from incompetence can we tolerate? Anyone who is for efficient government and wise spending and smart planning should absolutely see the need to replace Mike Greene sooner rather than later. Someone is laughing all the way to the bank, and it isn’t Norwalk taxpayers who have paid out millions of dollars to this public servant and who will owe him millions more in in his retirement pension for an employee who spends most of his time lecturing us on how our Master Plan doesn’t matter and how the hard work of actually planning Norwalk is not his job. It is simply a colossal waste of everyone’s time, energy, and money to continue with this nonsense. City jobs are NOT guaranteed for life, and no union rep would ever defend Mr. Greene’s abysmal record as P and Z Director, including mishandling important applications like the mosque, if they had a shred of intelligence or integrity. Stop the madness already!

  15. Oldtimer

    Greene has been around a long, long, time and is probably looking forward to retirement. Hiring somebody with the right credentials and some demonstrated experience will not be all that easy, but needs to be done. The requirements for his replacement need to be established now, before any search process. It looks like he is grooming his assistant to take over when he leaves.

  16. Taxpayer Fatigue

    It looks like there is strong, bipartisan support to finally do something about Planning and Zoning. We have 12 months to the next municipal election – let’s see if our Democratic Mayor and Republican-led Council can actually accomplish something – otherwise, let’s throw them all out. This will be a campaign issue next year and isn’t going to go away by just ignoring it. It is only a matter of time until the next disastrous zoning application is filed by some developer…

  17. Michael McGuire

    I had the opportunity to bring a project issue to Mike Greene a couple of months ago. I shared with Mike Greene why the Restricted Industrial zone should be changed for a host of positive economic reasons (and not all areas of RI). I was hoping that he would see the soundness of this argument and suggest this be brought to the P&Z commission at the next meeting.
    .

    However, Mike Greene was very clear with me that P&Z staff does not take into account the positive or negative economic impact of a P&Z issue when providing guidance on the suitability of a particular project. He, Mike Greene, stated point blank that P&Z solely focused on whether a project conforms to current zoning regulations, regardless if those regulations are out of date or not. So we left the meeting wondering who we speak to about this. Clearly Mike Greene is the “Zoning” guy of P&Z but he clearly stated he was not the “Planning” guy of P&Z.
    .

    It took a while to realize the City does not have a qualified Economic Development/City Planning professional on staff. Once I saw that a host of the City’s development and stagnating neighborhood problems came into view which led me to speak at the Common Council meeting and highlight just a few of the issue we face due to this shortfall.
    .

    Personally, I don’t know where that skill set should reside at the City level, but I do know we need it. And I do know that only the Common Council has the authority to engage/hire that expertise.

  18. Suzanne

    Mr. McGuire, It is concretely illustrative, your experience with the Zoning Office and Mike Greene and, thus, a valuable piece of information in untangling the morass of government policies and positions in Norwalk.
    *
    I am wondering, however, about adding another layer, although I think it sounds like a good move given the constraints that currently exist, to an already bloated bureaucracy. While the position you suggest, Economic Development/City Planning professional, makes sense, I again am wondering why existing departments are so regimented and simply don’t work for the City.
    *
    In other words, the position you suggest sounds very valuable and makes sense but I can’t imagine such a position actually being able to accomplish anything given the state of our government departments and the City Council.
    *
    Again, thank you for the meeting report. Your entry is especially helpful in understanding just what Zoning does or does not do.

  19. EveT

    I agree with those who say hiring a city planner won’t fix the problem as long as we have entrenched departments that don’t want to talk to each other, don’t want input from the public, and don’t want to have to improve their track record in actually making Norwalk a better place.
    Such a hire would just be a colossal waste of money and add another layer of bureaucracy behind which departments could try to hide. Either that or, if the newly hired person was really serious about addressing these long-standing problems, the departments would make his/her life so miserable that he/she would soon quit.

  20. Mike Mushak

    Eve T, and Mike McGuire, I agree. Although I don’t see the need for another position to do what the P and Z Director SHOULD be doing. Over the years, I have heard stories of highly qualified employees in the P and Z Department who were hired to try to improve our planning process, but soon left after dealing with the pathologies of Mike’ Green’s controlling and retaliatory personality. We lost great qualified planning talent over the years, sadly resulting in a dumbed-down department that wastes taxpayer dollars doling out petty enforcement actions against Greene’s perceived enemies, and bestowing favors on those who worship at his feet. All this happens while the city grows in a haphazard, unplanned way that is like a sick game of reactionary “whac-a-mole” instead of following any real plans (Greene says our Master Plan is “advisory only” and can be ignored, which is NOT true as he is wrongly interpreting state statutes simply to reduce his responsibilities, a great talent he has to not work very hard as he gets rewarded with automatic raises every year with no performance reviews). Unbelievable.
    .
    It is a corrupt system, and I am amused that now so many do-gooders out there, which I consider myself one of (consisting of people who care deeply about the future of our struggling city), are now calling for another bureaucratic position to make up for Greene’s incompetence. Stamford had a Planning and Zoning Director named Robin Stein for decades who did all the things Greene should be doing but wouldn’t even know where to start, as he has no skills and knowledge of planning. That is why he keeps his professional credentials a secret from the public that pays his salary.
    .
    Greene has already cost Norwalk millions in bad planning decisions and lost investment opportunities (see Wall Street as Exhibit One), as well as mishandled applications, while taxpayers have spent millions on his salary for basically doing nothing to prepare our city for the future, and now we are expected to spend millions more on a new position to do Greene’s job that he refuses to do?

    I say ask for Greene’s resignation and if he refuses, fire him. Let him sue, as there will be property owners and businesses all over the city who would surely testify to offer their own nightmares of how they were treated by this retaliatory P and Z Department run into the ground under Mike Greene. The reason you don’t hear more from these folks now is that many have been silenced by the threat of retaliation by P and Z staff, who are relentless in their zeal to punish anyone who dares to challenge the P and Z staff for more accountability and transparency, creating Kafkaesque nightmares, some involving dozens of petty violations, that have at times literally shut down businesses and driven many investors and good people out of town. This is no way to run a city but Greene has managed to create an independent corrupt fiefdom in City Hall where professionalism and accountability and even laws do not matter at all, as Green has said he and he alone interprets the regulations any way he wants in a shocking display of arrogance and self-delusion.
    .
    Waiting until he retires is not an option anymore, as we just can’t afford 8 or 10 more years of this nonsense. I recently joined the Chamber of Commerce and am already learning more about Greene’s failed policies from insiders as they relate to business and the strong perception that Norwalk is a city without a strong vision for the future. Well, when you have a P and Z Director who thinks Master Plans are useless and real planning is just a waste of time and not his job, and who spends most of his time finding excuses to not do his job, this is what you will get.
    .
    It is time to get real and move beyond the dysfunctional Greene era that has lasted decades, sooner rather than later. Norwalk taxpayers, our neighborhoods, and our business community deserve excellence, not ongoing mediocrity, in our P and Z Department for what we all are paying in taxes.

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