In the midst of election madness, a new face joined the ranks of the Ridgefield Planning and Zoning Department.

Daniel Robinson, 42, was hired as the town’s assistant planner on Oct. 30. The Bridgeport resident will replace the town’s previous assistant planner, Adam Schnell, who left to pursue a job in Florida back in March.

“I was looking at a number of opportunities within a few miles of home, and this one came up,” said Robinson.

As assistant planner, Robinson will help Planning and Zoning Director Richard Baldelli in meeting with potential developers and ensuring projects meet the town’s planning and zoning regulations.

‘Digestible’ information

He also acts as something of a translator, boiling the technical jargon of planning “into a staff report that is digestible not just to the commissioners, but to the public as well,” he said.

It helps the public “understand exactly what they’re getting,” from a new project, he added, to decide whether they should turn out in support or opposition.

A New Jersey native, Robinson worked for a decade as a planner. He is certified with the American Institute of Certified Planners, and holds a master’s degree in marine affairs from the University of Rhode Island, with a concentration in planning.

He worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in coastal management, and up until a week ago, worked as a coastal program analyst and planner at the California Coastal Commission.

Environmental  

Rebecca Mucchetti, chairwoman of the Planning and Zoning Commission, believes Robinson’s environmental background will greatly benefit the town.

“Daniel brings a background in planning with an environmentally sensitive perspective that will be invaluable to the town as we consider increasingly complex development applications,” said “I think planning is very environmental,” added Robinson. “It’s not just development standards — it’s looking at what’s on the site … and ensuring that development is done in a sound and respectful manner where it can be.”

Robinson will be working closely with Glenn Chalder, a consultant hired by the commission, to complete a revision of the 10-year-old town plan.

“I think Ridgefield is very interesting from what I can tell. It’s got a lot of folks who are very proud of their town,” said Robinson.