Democratic candidate for Mayor of Norwalk Harry Rilling announced a plan to restart what he describes as Norwalk's "stalled development."
If elected mayor, Rilling said he would be "focused on development every day of every week of every month of every year.”
Holding up an article about the city's development in a 1955 issue of The Hour, Rilling described Norwalk's development as "stalled."
“While Stamford is starting the largest development project in their history, Norwalk is still trying to finish projects started decades ago. Over the past eight years, the city has received no new additional net revenue from these development projects and now developments are asking for extensions," Rilling said on Saturday. Pledging to make sure city departments work with developers, Rilling said, “We need Norwalk’s Planning and Zoning Department and the Redevelopment Agency to work together, not against each other."
Rilling has also said he would hold developers accountable for securing appropriate project financing and for progress they promise.
“I'll hold monthly meetings with developers and City Hall. I will pull the plug if things aren't happening fast enough and will promote relationships only with developers that act responsibly," Rilling said in the release.
In reference to development at the intersection of I-95 and Rt 7, Rilling cited a Financial Times prediction that 15% of America's regional malls would fail in the next five years and asked, "Is this really the best use for this development?”
“Everywhere I go I hear complaints about a confusing and unhelpful permit process that requires people to go to too many different places at too many different times,” said Rilling in the release. “Whether building a deck on your house or redoing your bathroom or renovating an entire building, city hall needs to be a partner with the people of Norwalk.”
Rilling was a member of the Norwalk Police for 41 years, and retired in 2012 after serving as police chief for 17 years.