Letter — First selectman’s comments lacked true transparency
Last week the first selectman issued a statement on proposed development activities currently at various stages across town. Within her statement, the first selectman felt it important for residents to gain perspective on the historical context of this situation. However, her offering lacked any true transparency, one of the hallmarks of her campaign for office.
The zoning regulation change the first selectman referenced was an application to amend the
regulations to create a Multi-Family Overlay Zone. The proposed zone would be formed with the purpose of providing an opportunity within “areas no longer necessary for office or industrial
development yet have the necessary infrastructure to support multi-family use without additional
burden on municipal infrastructure.” This application to amend passed the Planning & Zoning Commission by a bipartisan 4-1 vote, with the lone dissenting vote coming from a Republican. It should also be noted that the mall property does not fall within this Multi-Family Overlay Zone.
Secondly, the first selectman takes issue with a tax abatement program that was re-engineered by the current Director of Economic & Community Development, along with a bipartisan tax partnership screening committee.
While providing an incentive, this revamped abatement program provides yet another layer of process for proposed projects to be screened and vetted before going to the Town Council for their ultimate resolution. The screening committee unanimously recommended the abatement program for the Oakview Drive project onto the Town Council, where the program for this project was approved by a bipartisan 15-1 vote as both sides recognized the long-term economic benefits this development would have on an otherwise underutilized property.
Each of these initiatives were shaped and supported through the dedicated efforts of elected
volunteers coming together with a unified objective to cultivate appropriate and controlled development in our town, now and in the years to come. For the first selectman to infer that either of these initiatives is antagonistic to the long-term vibrancy of our town is an unnecessary blow to the countless hours and vast efforts put in by community volunteers and staff. Furthermore, I’m concerned that pushing a message of “strong concerns,” “we will fight,” and being “so opposed” will perpetuate a conception that Trumbull’s door to appropriate development is closed, a theme the first selectman espoused during her campaign, and one which may cause interested developers to look elsewhere for a community friendly to growth.
There is no question that in order for Trumbull to compete with our expanding neighbors and remain a community of choice for both residents and businesses our landscape is going to have to evolve. It’s during these times where we need to set aside our past grudges and come together to develop and navigate a plan that will not only benefit our residents today, but keep our residents here for years to come.
Matt Caron, chairman
Trumbull Republican Town Committee