RON CORWIN: COALITION for WESTPORT CANDIDATE for
PLANNING & ZONING.
The Coalition for Westport is proud to announce its nomination of Ron Corwin as its candidate in the November 2 election for the Planning and Zoning Commission.
As one of the Coalition founders, Ron kept the spotlight on issues that had a tangible, positive impact on the everyday lives of Westporters.
Corwin chaired the P&Z from 2007 to 2011 where he had a record of success championing imaginative initiatives. Under his leadership, the Commission greatly expanded the number of restaurants, enacted regulations to permit outdoor dining, approved lights on the athletic fields at Staples and Bedford schools, and approved the relocation and construction of the Y at Mahackeno, all while advocating historic preservation initiatives.
As Westport continues to grow, Ron has turned his attention to initiatives to improve public transportation, address traffic concerns with a “complete” streets policy for vehicular, bike and pedestrian movement, and an upgraded infrastructure to assure safe passage throughout our community. Ron is also “in favor of diversity and housing opportunity, efforts to mitigate flooding and property damage due to climate change, and supports the goals of Sustainable Westport”. See below for more.
Formed in 2013, the Coalition, Westport’s forward-looking party, has fielded candidates in every election steadily gaining supporters with its positive influence on Westport land use policies and practices. Ron Corwin has been a Westport neighbor for 35 years, and he thrives on being of service to the town. He is married to Beth Blumenthal, and all 3 of their children are Staples graduates. Ron Corwin’s goal for P&Z is to support an economically successful, vibrant, and livable environment in Westport. He has shown that he was in tune with the needs of Westport and that there is no better candidate for the P&Z.
VOTE FOR RON CORWIN ON THE COALITION for WESTPORT LINE
The Coalition for Westport supports the following Statement of Principles:
- We support diversity – social, economic, and racial, We applaud what the P&Z has done to increase availability of affordable housing and authorizing ADUs but there is more to be done.
- We believe in vibrant commercial activity, downtown and throughout Westport. We favor judicious relaxation of zoning restrictions to encourage more varied and interesting streetscapes and interaction of public and private spaces.
- We support initiatives to improve public transportation, bus shelters, and the creation of a Town Office of Transportation headed by a full-time Transportation Director. Properly done and adequately funded, (in part by available federal programs), these steps will contribute to a reduction in traffic.
- We support a “Complete Streets” policy to provide safe and convenient pedestrian and bicycle lanes as another step in the broader effort to address traffic concerns.
- We support continuous upgrading of above-ground infrastructure to assure safe and efficient passage throughout town.
- We think the time is now to take steps to minimize flooding and property damage resulting from rising sea levels and the increasing frequency and severity of storms caused by climate change.
- We support the goals of Sustainable Westport and implementation of a Net Zero policy sooner than is contemplated by the most recent POCD.
- The Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD), which is required to be updated every 10 years but may be revised more frequently, should be a dynamic document which serves as a blueprint for Westport as it confronts change. It should present a vision of what we want the town to look like, how it should function, and what should be its role in the wider community. Such a document should be informed by broad-based community input and should plan for the inevitability of growth while acknowledging the importance of historic preservation. A thoughtful, realistic POCD will also serve as a touchstone for the incoming administration, helping it to shape policy and plan for the future needs of the town. The most recent POCD is inadequate, having been adopted without wide spread citizen comment and failing to present a well thought out plan for future contingencies such as the effects of climate change. Revising the POCD should be a first priority for the P&Z.
Vote for Ron Corwin on the Coalition Line, on Tuesday November 2, Ron is commited to these principles and brings a wealth of experience to the job
Westport League of Women Voters posed the following question to all the Candidates for the Planning & Zoning Commission
What are the most important values you hold with regard to the mission, philosophy and direction of Westport’s Planning & Zoning Commission going forward?
Response from Ron Corwin
Planning & Zoning is the expression of neighbors. It is how we manage where we live, work, shop, and send our kids to school. It is both democracy at the local level and an agency of change.
My values for P&Z are to provide a fair, efficient and equitable forum for applicants and the public on all land use applications, proposals and planning.
The P&Z plays an important role in the life of our town. It is a forum for open, transparent and civil discussions to:
- Add to the vitality of our town;
- Protect its natural beauty and ecological well-being;
- Preserve critical environmental areas;
- Integrate aesthetics and historical character that define Connecticut;
- Manage continuity with the past;
- Provide a variety of transportation choices;
- Address community facility and infrastructure needs;
- Increase housing opportunities and choices;
- Promote Sustainable Initiatives.
When I chaired the P&Z (2007 to 2011) we approved major increases in the number of restaurants, permitted outdoor dining, lights at Staples and Bedford sports fields, addressed issues of historic preservation, doubled the number of permitted home offices, and approved the relocation of the “Y” at Mahackeno.
I welcome the opportunity to serve again.
Ron Corwin 9.29.2021
Westport Journal posed the following question to all the Candidates for the Planning & Zoning Commission
If you had the power to completely overhaul Westport in relation to Planning & Zoning, what would you prioritize? (Please include reference to Baron’s South & Downtown)
Response from Ron Corwin
I would actively participate in the key proposals and zoning changes that affect Westporters’ everyday lives.
First, I would establish a new process for routine applications through more efficient Commission subcommittees. This would speed up response time to residents and allow the Commission to focus on town-wide planning and proposals.
Next, I would set up 2 working groups to review all the zoning changes and plans currently in discussion, on the shelf, or languishing in the Commission’s work flow. Each group would then bring their recommendations to the full Commission within reasonable time frames to hold hearings and get public input. And make decisions.
And, most importantly, I would put priorities of Westporters on the Commission front burner:
- Realistic plans for converting Baron’s South from unused, wasted and inaccessible property into a major green open space that town residents can enjoy, an enhanced Senior Center and potentially an assisted care facility using no more than 3 of the 22 open space acres;
- A plan to optimize our beautiful riverfront for the enjoyment of shoppers, residents and visitors, instead of an asphalted parking lot along the river. The Coalition has backed this concept since 2012.
- A downtown parking plan that works for shoppers merchants and diners and which pays attention to flooding and climate issues.
- An activist program for preservation of our most distinctive natural and built resources.
In sum, I would be an engaged participant in an efficient, well-functioning Commission, focused on planning for both immediate and future needs.
Ron Corwin 10.12.2021