The "What": This Week in Southwest Connecticut

The "What": This Week in Southwest Connecticut
Your view of Coastal Connecticut—when it was just a little bit warmer and drier. Photo by Kelly Prinz.

Tuesday, January 18

Happy Tuesday! With the federal holiday yesterday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we thought it would be best to send the newsletter today.

First some big news: we’re officially launching the Coastal Connecticut Times website with our first story this Friday, January 21! As loyal email subscribers you’ll get notified that day when it goes live, but feel free to share with your family and friends beforehand.

Our weekly newsletter aims to provide you with information about important things happening across the area (Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, Norwalk, Westport, and Fairfield). Each week we'll have a run down on the “what”—meetings, hearings, programs, initiatives, events—taking place across the region. And later this week you'll get our first piece taking on the “why”—the stories behind what's happening.

(Please note: We try to link to agendas, documents, and other reports when we can, but that information is not always available at the time of publication.)

Let’s dive in!


The Board of Representatives’ Land Use and Urban Redevelopment Committee will be examining two big items—issues with noise and the process for appealing Zoning Board decisions—on Thursday, Jan. 20 at 7 p.m.

The first issue stems from complaints made by residents in the South End and District 1 area who reported quality of life issues related to loud noises and music, particularly related to late, outdoor activity during the summer, according to Rep. Bradley Bewkes, chair of the Land Use committee. Other representatives said this could be an opportunity to look into the city's noise ordinance to try and address these issues, and other noise concerns throughout the city. Business owners, city officials, and others are invited to the committee's meeting for a public hearing.

For the second issue, Board of Representatives members want to hear from city officials in the Land Use Bureau as well as the city's legal counsel, about the process for petitioning Zoning Board decisions, and specifically how it was followed in December.

Residents, particularly members of the Stamford Neighborhood Coalition, submitted a petition appealing changes the Zoning Board approved for Designed Commercial Districts in the city. According to the city's ordinances, petitions “shall be referred by the Zoning Board to the Board of Representatives within twenty days after such official publication.”

However in this case, the petition was reviewed by the Land Use Bureau, which determined that the signatures were not valid and that decision was backed up by Corporation Counsel, the city's legal counsel. The petition was never sent on.

Rep. Nina Sherwood, vice chair of the Board of Reps’ Land Use committee, said that “there is a fundamental problem when the applicant (the city in this case) is the one reviewing the signatures for the appeal,” which is why the committee plans to review the process itself, what happened in this case, and what the possible next steps might be.

The Board of Education’s Fiscal Committee will be reviewing the Superintendent’s budget on Tuesday, Jan. 18 at 6:30 p.m. Superintendent Tamu Lucero has proposed a $306.9 million budget, a 4.56% increase over last year. Social-emotional support for students, combating the academic impacts of COVID-19, increasing special education services, and creating pathways for career connected learning are some of the top priorities listed in the budget.

Other meetings this week include:


What do you want the future of the Norwalk Harbor to look like? You’re invited to share your feedback at a public engagement session on Tuesday, Jan. 18 at 5 p.m. This feedback aims to help guide the plan for land use around the Norwalk Harbor.  

The newly combined Planning and Zoning Commission has two Board of Education related items on Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 6 p.m.

  • New South Norwalk School: With new plans in the work for a 682-seat South Norwalk elementary school, the Board of Education is asking the commission to shift $76 million in already authorized funding for earlier proposals to a new plan that calls for acquiring a parcel of land in South Norwalk and constructing a new building for students in preschool through 5th grade.
  • New Cranbury Elementary School: There will be a public hearing on the plans for a new two-story building, which would be approximately 62,000 square feet. The new school will be built on its current site and the current building will be demolished once the new one is ready.

Other meetings this week include:


The Board of Selectmen, Representative Town Meeting, and Board of Finance will get an update on the ongoing fill pile remediation on Tuesday, Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. The fill pile was used to accept materials generated from construction and other public works projects, but was shut down in 2016 after contaminants were found. Multiple town officials and contractors related to Julian Development, which ran the site, have been arrested in connection to the illegal disposal of contaminants at the site. The fill has been used in dozens of sites across the city, with more than 50 sites have been identified and many remediation plans in the works.

Other meetings this week include:


The Representative Town Meeting, the town’s legislative body, will review the declaration of the town’s Affordable Housing Trust, which includes its rules, its purpose, and its governing regulations at its Tuesday, Jan. 18 meeting at 8 p.m.

Plans for adding a secure entrance at Greenwich High School and other modifications to the building will be before the Planning and Zoning Commission on Thursday, Jan. 20 at 4 p.m.

Other meetings this week include:


On Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 7 p.m., the Board of Finance will review a request to construct a new jetty, also called a “groin” at Burying Hill Beach. The jetty is “in a state of disrepair,” according to Peter Ratkiewich, the town's public works director and is not serving one of its main purposes—reducing sand movement. The jetty has also had a sign posted warning visitors to keep off the structure since 2016. The city is proposing to use $1.3 million in funds from the American Rescue Plan to construct a new one.

Other meetings this week include:


The Board of Education will be reviewing comments from the Board of Finance and the RTM’s Education Committee and Finance and Budget Committee on the upcoming budget at its Tuesday, Jan. 18 meeting at 7 p.m.

Also on Tuesday, Jan. 18, the Board of Selectmen will review and discuss funding a watershed study, among other business at its 9:30 a.m. meeting.

Other meetings this week include:

I can’t wait to send you news about our official launch coming in just a few days! In the meantime, if you’d like to let us know what you’d like to see from us and have a part in our work, please fill out this short survey.

Have a great week,

Kelly Prinz

Founder, Reporter at Coastal Connecticut Times