The "What": This Week in Southwest Connecticut

The "What": This Week in Southwest Connecticut
This week in southwest Connecticut, a look around the region. (Photo by Kelly Prinz)

January 24th

Happy Monday! (To all you fellow NFL fans out there, hope you enjoyed this crazy, amazing weekend of football.)

On Friday, we officially launched our website! Our first series of stories covers how American Rescue Plan Act federal funds will affect our communities in southwest Connecticut. We looked at a breakdown of the funds by each municipality (Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, Norwalk, Westport, and Fairfield), and put together five quick facts in case you just wanted to see the highlights.

Keep your eyes out for more detailed reporting in the coming weeks about what’s in each municipality’s budget and what that means for you; how school districts are using their federal funding; and more.

Now, let’s dive into “The What”—your look at what’s happening in southwest Connecticut this week.

(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.)


The Zoning Board is hosting a public hearing on Monday, Jan. 24 at 6:30 p.m. on the South End Pacific LLC application for 648, 670, 686, 690 Pacific Street and 171 Henry Street. The applicant is proposing: building a six-story, 61-unit building that also includes retail and parking; “preserving and repurposing the historic firehouse with a mix of retail, commercial, and/or residential uses;” and preserving two other buildings—a two family home at 171 Henry Street and the Tabernacle of Grace Church. Note: This meeting was also supposed to include a public hearing on the proposed University and Research Overlay District (UROD), but that has been moved to the Feb. 28 Zoning Board meeting. There will be no discussion of it at this one.

The Board of Education will be discussing and potentially voting on a block schedule for the city’s high schools beginning with the 2022-2023 school year on Tuesday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m.

Stamford Cradle to Career, a community-wide partnership featuring more than 60  members across the city that aims to “ensure equity and excellence in education for every child,” is hosting two sessions this week on “supporting social emotional wellness for students.” The first session, on Monday, Jan. 24 at 6:30 p.m., is for parents, guardians, and other caregivers, while the second one on Tuesday, Jan. 25 at 12:30 p.m., is for youth serving organizations.

Other meetings this week include:


Design plans for the proposed new Norwalk High School will be reviewed at a joint meeting of the Common Council’s Land Use and Building Management Committee and the Board of Education’s Facilities Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 26 at 6 p.m.

The BOE’s Facilities Committee will also review the educational specifications for the new South Norwalk Elementary School, which include details about why the school is needed and what will be included in it. The proposed school, at an unspecified 12-acre site, will serve more than 680 students in the city’s most densely populated neighborhood—and an area that hasn’t had a neighborhood school. The new school plans to feature flexible maker spaces, a library media center, a lego/robotics lab, and a learning lab, and aims to help the district reduce overcrowding and “reconnect the school to the community.”

The Common Council will also be reviewing two items related to the new South Norwalk Elementary School at its meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m. They include: adopting the school district’s updated facilities strategy that calls for building a new South Norwalk Elementary School and approving the capital budget reallocation which would move the funding from the old school building plans to the new ones.

Other meetings this week include:


The Affordable Housing Committee will be reviewing a draft of the town’s proposed affordable plan with consultant Planimetrics at its meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m.

The Board of Education is hosting a special budget workshop on Tuesday, Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m. to discuss the Superintendent’s 2022-23 budget proposal.

The town also announced a new pilot program for glass recycling. Residents can voluntarily bring their glass recyclables to the Transfer Station at Richard White Way, where they’ll be crushed into a substance called pozzolan that can be used for cement. Recycling glass with other materials can damage equipment or make the other recycling less valuable, according to officials. Sorting out the glass benefits the environment and helps the town financially, according to First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick.

“I hope residents will take advantage of this opportunity which will help save the Town money in recycling costs—but also will help our efforts to be a more environmentally conscious community,” she said in a statement. “I want to thank DPW, and all the volunteers on the Sustainable Fairfield Task Force and Solid Waste & Recycling Commission for working to bring this new initiative forward.”

Other meetings this week include:


The First Selectman’s recommended budget, as well as the Superintendent’s proposed budget, will be presented at the Board of Estimate and Taxation Budget Committee on Tuesday, Jan. 25 at 6 p.m. This meeting will also be a public hearing so residents can weigh in on both.

Other meetings this week include:


The Representative Town Meeting will hear from the town’s health director on an update on COVID-19; from Norwalk’s Chief of Economic and Community Development on projects going on in the neighboring city; and from representatives from WESTCOG, a regional agency that provides transportation, environmental, and planning services to 18 municipalities in CT at its meeting on Monday, Jan. 24 at 8 p.m.

The Board of Selectmen will have three budget related meetings this week: a budget presentation on Monday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m.; a budget workshop on Tuesday, Jan. 25 at 5:30 p.m. featuring various boards and departments including the town administrator, finance department, registrar of voters, town clerk, harbor master, building department, human services, and the health department; and a workshop on Wednesday, Jan. 26 at 5:30 p.m. featuring police, library, and parks & recreation.

The Board of Education will host a special meeting to discuss the Open Choice Program—which allows students from urban districts to attend school in neighboring suburban districts. The state legislature voted in the 2021 session to allow students from Norwalk and Danbury to participate beginning with the 2022-23 school year.

The Planning and Zoning Commission will be deliberating and possibly deciding on the plans for 3 Parklands Drive that call for demolishing the office building and building about 60 apartments. There’s been multiple meetings featuring public hearings on this project, with the initial one on October 19. Residents have voiced their concerns about the project at each of those meetings.

Other meetings this week include:

  • Monday, Jan. 24: Public Health and Safety Committee of the Representative Town Meeting at 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 25: ARPA Committee at 1 p.m. (Check out our story for more on Darien’s ARPA plans so far.); Police Commission at 10 a.m.; Housing Authority at 6:30 p.m.; Board of Education at 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 26: Finance and Budget Committee of the Representative Town Meeting at 7:30 p.m.


The Board of Education will be reviewing the Superintendent’s proposed budget for the 2022-23 school year, as well as options for the Stepping Stones Preschool Facility, and a district transportation study on Monday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m.

Multiple committees of the Representative Town Meeting will be discussing ARPA funding this week. The Long Range Planning Committee will be discussing funding for the arts through ARPA on Thursday, Jan. 27 at 5:30 p.m., while a joint meeting of the Finance, Public Works, and Library, Museum & Arts Committees will be discussing the arts allocation and plans to construct a new Burying Hill Beach jetty on Thursday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m.

Other meetings this week include:

Thanks for reading. A special thank you to those of you who have filled out our survey about your news habits. We’ll be in touch with those of you who said you’d like to be involved with future projects soon. If you haven’t, please fill out this short survey, which will help inform our work.

Have a great week,

Kelly Prinz

Founder, Reporter at Coastal Connecticut Times