POKO extension given nod by Norwalk Council committee


POKO Partners is clearing asbestos out of its Wall Street property, Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Tim Sheehan said.

NORWALK, Conn. – POKO Partners is getting five more days in its search for another 150 days for Wall Street Place as the Common Council Planning Committee voted Thursday to advance the request to the full council, rather than stop it at the committee level.

The vote was 4 to 3, though that really didn’t matter — Committee Chairman Doug Hempstead (R-At Large) said he would have sent it to the full Council meeting next Tuesday no matter what. “It’s too big of an issue in my eyes for just one committee to be able to control this,” Hempstead said.

The Redevelopment Agency is also scheduled to make a decision on the extension Tuesday. Both governmental bodies are up against it: the Land Disposition Agreement (LDA) between POKO Partners and Norwalk expires Sept. 1.

Hempstead said that whatever happens Tuesday, he will keep POKO on the Council agenda as a revolving item. Updates will be needed whether it is in arbitration  — a given is the extension is denied, Council members agree — or if POKO is trying to live up to the deadlines written into the extension.

Council members expressed concern about the vote Tuesday – there are four primaries going on. Councilman Bruce Kimmel (D-At Large) suggested that there might be people missing.

Councilman Rich Bonenfant (R-At Large) agreed. “I wouldn’t want to win or lose on something where six people were out because they were helping out a candidate. You know what I mean? Let’s let it be for real at least,” Bonenfant said.

Hempstead said he had asked and everyone seems to be around. He said he would check again.

Hempstead said everyone could vote their heart without pressureThursday because he would send it to the council either way. The vote was along party lines. Shannon O’Toole Giandurco (R-District D), Hempstead and Bonenfant voted against it.  John Kydes (D-District C), Travis Simms (D-District B), Sharon Stewart (D-At Large) and Kimmel voted for it.


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