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Norwalk Launches Initiatives To Improve Business, Zoning

Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling, alongside Brian Baxendale, Liz Stocker and Adam Blank, announces new initiatives to improve business development and zoning in the city.
Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling, alongside Brian Baxendale, Liz Stocker and Adam Blank, announces new initiatives to improve business development and zoning in the city. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling announced two initiatives on Tuesday, Oct. 7, intended to increase economic development and modernize and harmonize zoning regulations in the city.

The first initiative will be the creation of an Economic Development Action Plan, which Rilling said will be used to implement economic development goals identified in the city’s 2008 Plan of Conservation and Development.

The creation of the plan will be spearheaded by new Economic Development Director Liz Stocker, who will work with department heads, members of the Business Advisory Council, elected and appointed officials, and business owners from around the city.

“The idea behind this is to take a look at where Norwalk is now, and where we want to be two to five years from now. And it’s going to be something that will be built upon as time passes,” Rilling said.

“He has put together a very powerful group that will be working together, and I think with their assistance, not only folks who are serving on boards of the city and our staff, but also some business people in the city and stakeholders who will assist us in getting to where we need to go in order to identify those actions we will be taking in the next few years,” said Stocker.

The second initiative is the formation of a zoning task force that will review the Plan of Conservation and Development and other plans and studies the city has implemented over the years. The task force will be led by Adam Blank of the Zoning Commission, as well as Torgny Astrom of the Planning Commission and Felix Serrano of the Redevelopment Agency.

“I think initially the aim of the task force will be to simply take a look at what our regulations currently say as compared to both the Plan of Conservation and Development as well as a number of other studies by the city to determine what sort of easy fixes can be immediately made and can be suggested to Zoning Commission for implementation,” Blank said. He said the task force will also address issues such as bike lanes, parking, housing and density issues, and will work with other groups such as the Bike Walk Task Force.

Rilling said that both groups will begin working together soon to identify areas of improvement in business development and zoning in the city. The business initiative will kick off with a pair of workshops, led by Brian Baxendale of the Business Advisory Council and SCORE of Fairfield County, the first of which will be on Tuesday, Oct. 21.

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