Coalition P&Z Candidate – Joe Strickland

NOT ALL DEVELOPMENT IS BAD, but haphazard development without a comprehensive plan gives too much power to developers to determine what Westport will look like in years to come.

PRESERVE WHAT’S WORTH PRESERVING, but plan for the future and give control back to the people.




Joseph Strickland, Jr., a registered architect with over 40 years experience in architectural design and construction management has been nominated by the Coalition For Westport as its candidate for the upcoming election to the Planning & Zoning Commission (P&Z). A Westport resident for 34 years, Joe has built a unique career in the real estate and financial industries while also serving the community through his work on numerous local boards.  Joe and his wife Lauren have raised four daughters in Westport all of whom attended and graduated from Westport Public Schools.

Julie Belaga, CFW Nominating Committee Chair spoke on behalf of the committee in support of Joe, noting “that his exceptional and diverse qualifications provided him with outstanding credentials to serve on the P&Z”.   At a Coalition meeting that included members of the public, Joe was unanimously elected as the CFW candidate.  In addition to his wide-raging experience, Joe commented that “I share the CFW view that change and growth are a constant and it is necessary to have thoughtful people deliberate and decide within a process that works for all residence and business owners. My experience has covered many of the most important aspects of life in Westport”.

As Westport Public School system facilities director, Joe played a major role in the development and enhancement of all aspects of the system. During his tenure he oversaw all construction and maintenance for the system including code upgrades and expansions at CES, CMS, KHS, SHS, and LLS. His efforts contributed to the high regard with which the Westport school system is held across Connecticut and neighboring states.

Joe’s is also known for his work on the Public Site and Building Commission as a member for many years and currently as its chairman.  He is also the chairman of the Blight Board.  Joe was appointed to be a member of the Community Advisory Committee for CMS where he advocated for the return of CMS to the school for the fall, 2019.

Joe’s professional career began as an instructor in Lehigh University’s Graduate School of Education where he taught socially and emotionally disturbed high school students.  After three years he changed careers when he was accepted into Carnegie Mellon’s graduate program in architecture.  During his graduate studies Joe worked for the Pittsburgh Redevelopment Authority where he was later hired as the assistant architect.  He oversaw various real estate programs associated with Pittsburgh’s Renaissance II and many section 8 and Urban Development Action Grant projects.

After leaving Pittsburgh Joe made his mark at several architectural firms specializing in municipal infrastructure projects and historic preservation.  He was the resident project architect for the restoration of the oldest wooden structure in New York City, the Wyckoff House, a 1652 Dutch farmhouse that is now a city park and museum.  As an architect practicing in Westport he won an Historic Preservation Award for the renovation of and addition to, a Frazier Peter’s house.

Using his architectural expertise, Joe embarked on another career path to pursue a career in tax depreciation in the real estate industry.  Known as Cost Segregation, Joe has led cost segregation teams for a variety of firms including Deloitte & Touche, FTI, American Appraisal, and Arthur Andersen, where he was a principal.

Joe suspended his tenure as a tax consultant to join RB Financial in Westport.  At RB he helped develop commercial and residential properties in Westport, Milford, and Jupiter, Florida.

Joe returned to the Cost Segregation profession and is currently the practice leader for tax depreciation for MazarsUSA, a member firm of Mazars International (20,000 professionals in 85 countries).  As a Cost Segregation professional Joe works with some of the largest and smallest real estate deals in the country.

Joe is a certified soccer referee and for a change of pace he continues to officiate both youth and high school games.


The Coalition for Westport is a non-partisan political party whose mission is to safeguard Westport’s future by ensuring that our land use policies and decisions thoughtfully and proactively take into account the economic and social realities of 21st century living.

Do you wonder why certain decisions about land use were made? Frustrated when you think that Westport could and should be doing more to make our town more livable now and in the future?  Wonder why many stores are closed downtown and think Westport could do more to ensure that downtown thrives? 

The Planning & Zoning Commission is one of the town’s most powerful elected bodies, land use defines our community for years to come.  Change that respects our past while setting our Town on a course for a vibrant future. Westport needs people on the P&Z who care about land use issues and who want to work to help shape Westport’s future.  

When it comes to local planning and zoning matters, we have no concern for party politics, in the upcoming elections we want the best candidate for our community. 

October 15th 2019

The campaign for the Planning & Zoning Commission has taken an interesting turn.

The Republican incumbents running for re-election as a bloc, (which has the effect of obscuring their individual credentials), have positioned themselves as champions of the status quo and have become essentially the party of “no”. In a recent e-mail blast, they have characterized, and endeavored to insult, those who understand that change is inevitable as “local predatory urbanists”. (As anyone who has watched a P&Z hearing will attest, civility is not one of their strong points.)

Name calling aside, the difference between the two camps is a choice between clinging to an elusive past or planning for an inevitable future. The Coalition and its candidate Joe Strickland believe that our Commission should not be reacting to proposals but should be planning for them; thereby providing us with a measure of control over our community’s future. Sitting back and pretending we can avoid change is not a plan, but is, rather, an invitation for developmental chaos, which is what we have now.

If advocating for a downtown theater, using modern technology to relieve traffic congestion, promoting an exciting downtown experience, protecting our tax base, and planning for controlled residential expansion means that the Coalition and Joe Strickland  are “predatory urbanists”, we plead guilty.