To the Editor:
Fairfield’s Town Plan and Zoning Commission (TPZ) has been under Republican control for decades and requires new, qualified leadership to chart a better course for our Town’s future. Fairfield currently lags similar Connecticut towns, falling behind on building affordable housing and failing to adopt up-to-date planning practices.
In 2022, Fairfield’s affordable housing was a mere 3% of all available housing, far below the State’s mandated 10% target. Republican TPZ members argue that state regulations undercount, overreach, are unfair, and that Fairfield TPZ should have more local control. These excuses shirk accountability, show inexperience, and reflect an incomplete understanding of State regulations.
Somehow, other town’s TPZ boards do not make the same excuses and have more successfully addressed affordable housing shortages and smart growth.
Greenwich has double Fairfield’s rate of affordable housing.
Communities with better leadership will achieve the State’s 10% target. Right here in affluent Fairfield County, the towns of Westport, Wilton, Darien, and Trumbull have all managed to exceed Fairfield’s affordability rate. Fairfield’s TPZ seems to lack solutions or vision, offering only excuses and finger pointing.
The Republican-led TPZ’s inability to plan effectively has legally opened the door to private sector developers, permitted by state statute 8-30g, to bypass Fairfield’s zoning laws and construct out-of-place apartment buildings anywhere in town.
Oversized 8-30g apartment buildings on Unquowa Road, High Street, and other objectionable locations is a direct result of the Republican TPZ’s inadequate planning.
The first selectwoman shirks responsibility, blaming “predatory developers.”
Fairfield’s locally-controlled TPZ is to blame for the lack of planning, not developers who are following State law. The right to build apartments anywhere is a penalty imposed on our Town because of poor Republican TPZ leadership.
Planning and zoning demands more than good efforts, good intentions, and newsletters. Fairfield TPZ needs representatives informed in planning and zoning issues, coupled with a vision and experience; skills that are currently lacking on Fairfield’s TPZ.
If elected to the TPZ, I will bring 35 years of professional experience in planning, architecture, finance, management, and development, and 25 years of local knowledge as a town resident, to Fairfield’s TPZ and do my best to get our Town planning on track.
We must collectively develop a vision for Fairfield’s future, fostering the architectural features of a New England town, not further encouraging the development of strip malls and shoddy apartments.
If you oppose randomly located and unsightly 8-30g apartments and want fewer strip developments in Fairfield, I urge you to cast your vote for the Democrats in row A for the Plan and Zoning Commission.
Randolph is a Democratic candidate for Fairfield Town Plan and Zoning Commission