Zoning race receives write-in candidate

The race for Planning and Zoning Commission just got a little more contested.

Circle Drive resident Bob Cousins registered Thursday, Oct. 19, to be a write-in candidate for the commission on Election Day. Cousins said he is running unaffiliated despite being a registered Republican.

The Democrats are running incumbents Joe Fossi (vice chairman) and Charles Robbins, as well as challenger Joe Dowdell, in the race. The Republicans are running incumbents Rebecca Mucchetti (current commissioner chair), Stephen Cole, George Hanlon, and Bob Cascella.  

“I haven’t met Dowdell but I’ve had a correspondence with him online and would support him, Cousins said. “I want the rest of the slate — the incumbents — gone.”

Cousins told The Press that the commission’s conduct at its Oct. 17 meeting is what inspired him to run for election.

The commission “was unprofessional and was egregious in their manners,” he said.

“We need unbiased and fair-minded people to serve the public in this role, and do not feel the current commissioners do this at all.”

Cousins, who has a background in criminal justice and technology, has never served as an elected official, but he did submit an application as a Republican candidate when the commission had an open seat in February. He lost to Cascella, who was appointed to fill the seat that Peter Chipouras left vacant.

“They favored his background, which is in commercial real estate,” Cousins said.

As for being the first write-in candidate to register since 2009, Cousins said the process was a breeze. He felt compelled to run, he said, after attending last week’s public hearing for a proposed bed-and-breakfast in his neighborhood.

“It was very easy,” he said. “It was so easy that the only cost was express mailing my application to the secretary of state’s office in Hartford.”

“Many people write in various names, but they don’t count unless they have been registered with the secretary of the state,” said Town Clerk Barbara Serfilippi.

“They don’t happen often.”

Cousins said he would attend the Republican Town Committee’s meet-and-greet at the recreation center Wednesday, Nov. 1, but hadn’t scheduled any other campaign events.

“We need to be able to have fair, open-minded discussions here in Ridgefield,” he said.