Byrnes appointed to fill ZBA alternate seat

The Zoning Board of Appeals voted unanimously to appoint Democrat Robert Byrnes to fill a three-year alternate seat at its meeting Monday, Dec. 4.

“Mr. Byrnes was nominated by the Democratic Town Committee and was the only applicant who appeared for the seat,” said Zoning Board of Appeals paralegal and administrator Kelly Ryan.

The Democratic Town Committee endorsed Byrnes in a meeting on Thursday, Nov. 30, according to a letter written to the board by DTC Chairman Tom Madden.

Byrnes is a co-owner of both Swoon Gluten-Free Bakery on Danbury Road and The Cake Box cake shop on Big Shop Lane. The Cake Box also has a location in Westport.

“Ridgefield has been very good to me, both as a resident and as a small business owner,” Byrnes said in an email to The Press. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., he moved to town in the spring of 2008.

“Joining the ZBA seems like a great way to give a little back to the town I love,” Byrnes added. He is also a member of the Ridgefield Bicycle and Running Club.

Byrnes opened Swoon in February 2013, along with his partner, Jordan Gregory, who grew up in Ridgefield.

“We decided to open a gluten-free bakery when The Cake Box outgrew our Copps Hill Marketplace location because we have been making gluten-free treats for customers that requested them,” Gregory told The Press at the time.

Three for three

The alternate seat was left vacant after Democrat Mark Seavy resigned the position to take a full five-year seat on the ZBA, which he won in this year’s municipal election. Seavy ran unopposed for the three-year seat, and also won it.

Because Seavy is a Democrat, by Town Charter the seat had to go to a candidate of the same party.

Seavy also ran for a two-year alternate seat on the ZBA. He won that race — completing a three-for-three sweep — against Republican candidate John McNicholas. Seavy also resigned that seat, which went to McNicholas.

By the requirements of the Town Charter, elected officials are barred from holding more than one public office.

The three alternate members of the ZBA fill in for full members when the full members are either unable to attend a meeting or feel “there is a potential conflict in sitting on a particular appeal,” the town’s website notes.