Letter: Affordable housing rule not ‘tailor-made’ to fit Zemo project

To the Editor:

A letter to the editor from Mr. Ed Chrostowski is misleading and incorrect. It implies that Selectman Steve Zemo influences Planning and Zoning processes and decisions. To be clear, P&Z is a separate elected body as are the Board of Selectmen. Any project submitted by Mr. Zemo is subject to the same reviews as any other business. The change in the affordable housing requirements were not “tailor-made” to fit any individual or business’s needs. The changes were adopted to meet the needs of Ridgefield.

The recent change allows a needed change for mixed use development in the areas that are zoned for business use. The changes were the results of a year’s research by Assistant Town Planner Adam Schnell. His work resulted in a very professional and comprehensive proposal that meets the needs of our community. It is a welcome change as it will allow Ridgefield to maximize the use of properties in the zoned areas and also allows us to increase our inventory of affordable housing. Mr. Chrostowski like all citizens had ample opportunity to attend meetings and provide input to the ordinance.

The Economic and Community Development Commission is in full support of the change. It allows us to bring more residents into the central business district within a walkable distance and provides an increase in affordable housing for our town employees. To be clear there was no “zoning accommodation” for Mr. Zemo’s project. In fact, his project was approved prior to the change and Mr. Zemo after the change reinvested in his building, created a new architectural design and was able to add 5 affordable housing units when the previous design has none.

John B. Devine Jr.

ECDC, Vice Chair