Friday, May 24, 2024

Zoning Candidates

Share

Linda Manos
Democrat
Candidate for Zoning Commission, Zone I

Linda, a lifelong resident and Stratford High School graduate, owned and operated for 35 years the Shakespeare Arms Restaurant (D.B.A.) Pepin’s Restaurant on Linden Avenue. She has previously served a 4-year term on the Zoning Commission, is currently an alternate, and served on the Building Needs Committee when the new Animal Control facility was built. Linda recently solicited IHOP Restaurant to our town and is currently overseeing the remodeling of their future location at Station House Square.

Why are you running for office?

My goal is to bring to town well-established, family-friendly businesses. I support economic growth that protects our town-owned resources and renovations, and upgrades at Sikorsky Airport that do not include runway expansion.

What are your qualifications for this position?

I am ready to represent you in partnership with all elected officials and Town Hall employees on updating the Zoning Regulations from day one, given my years of experience with the Zoning Commission, as a member and an alternate. I have knowledge of the benefits of being located in our historic town, have owned and operated a successful restaurant in town, and I have developed positive relationships that will future the growth of Stratford.

What is your vision for Stratford’s future? Please be as specific as possible.

We increase our grand list by creating incentives for business owners to employ adaptive re-use techniques to empty storefronts and underutilized commercial locations.

What do you consider to be the most important issue needing to be addressed in Stratford?

Ensuring sensible zoning regulations that support economic development and align with our new POCD priorities, while promoting and protecting residential zoning districts. We have a wonderful opportunity to do something special.

JF Ewald Joseph
Democrat
Candidate for Zoning Commission, Zone II

Ewald Joseph says that having lived in Stratford for over 17 years, he realizes that government decisions could be made differently to improve people’s quality of life. “But I did not feel that I was ready to make any difference. Now I believe I can step in.”

Ewald has a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He worked for 31 years for MBI, Inc, including the last 15 years in their finance department. He says his current work as a real estate sales associate will help him bring a balanced perspective to the job of overseeing the town’s zoning rules.

In the community, he volunteered with the VITA/ACE program and served as treasurer of several civic organizations. He successfully ran a soccer sport club. He is married, a proud father of 3, and an equally proud grandfather of 7.

“I am a good listener, a quick learner, and my mind is open for constructive propositions and guidance. My pathway has always been led by these two virtues: respect and honesty.”

Paula Sweeley
Democrat
Candidate for Zoning Board of Appeals, Zone I

Paula, a long-time public school teacher and educator, has lived in Stratford and been a homeowner for more than 40 years. Now she would like to increase her involvement in the government of the town she loves by serving on the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Paula received her undergraduate degree from the College of William & Mary, a master’s degree from the University of Bridgeport, and her Sixth-Year Certificate in Education from Southern Connecticut State University. She worked for decades as a public school teacher in Fairfield and is now retired. She is on the board of Retired Educators of Fairfield and is editor of the online blog for that organization.

The Lordship resident is active in the Lordship Improvement Association, helping to maintain the group’s public gardens. Paula also posts regularly on civic and ecology issues on various Stratford Facebook groups, and you can see her in the audience at most meetings of the Town Council and various Commissions when important issues come up.

“I want to continue to learn about and be actively involved in our town government and encourage the active involvement of our citizens.”

Why are you running for office?

I am looking for greater involvement in our town government. I would like to expand my knowledge base on current issues and get to know others with similar interests.

What are your qualifications for this position?

I have attended many forums and hearings and posted on Facebook and elsewhere notices regarding upcoming events of this kind to encourage others to attend such meetings and become more knowledgeable about our town government.

What is your vision for Stratford’s future? Please be as specific as possible.

I would like to see the Shakespeare Property become a thriving cultural center, and I would like Stratford to be a model of environmental preservation to name two issues that I feel are of prime importance. Beyond that, our schools need proper support so that our young people can be well prepared to go on to higher learning experiences, which will equip them for well-paying and satisfying jobs.

What do you consider to be the most important issue needing to be addressed in Stratford?

Town Government communication with the public and availability of access to communicate and receive response from our elected and appointed officials, boards and commissions. Currently, most emails are not responded to and boards and commissions have no email address. We have no occasions for Q and A to get questions answered by government representatives. For example, the Shakespeare property proposal at the high school was wonderful in that the public was enabled to ask questions there, but there has been no follow-up as to what will happen next and when. At hearings and forums, there is only the opportunity to speak, not to get responses.

Christopher Silhavey
Republican
Candidate for Zoning Board of Appeals, Zone IV

I am a lifelong Stratford resident, and my family has lived in Stratford and been active in the community for many years. I attended Albertus Magnus College (A.A., B.A.) and the University of New Haven (M.P.A.). For 20 years, I worked in Information Technology for Southern New England Telephone (SNET), which later merged with AT&T. I currently work as a Technology Consultant. I have been active in the community through my involvement with Holy Name of Jesus Church, where I am the Finance Board Chairman and part of Parish Leadership. I also served on the Stratford Library Strategic Planning Committee.

Why are you running for office?

Protecting our neighborhoods and keeping Stratford the beautiful community we all enjoy can only happen with smart and effective management of our land use laws. Further, Stratford residents deserve a ZBA Commissioner who will ensure that than anyone who appears before the board is treated respectfully and fairly.

What are your qualifications for this position?

My qualifications include service to the Town of Stratford as 8th District Councilman (2 years), Member and Chairman of the Planning Commission (4 years) and Member and Chairman of the Zoning Commission (12 years as a member, 8 years as Chairman). I am currently a Zoning Commission Alternate. I also served on the Stratford Housing Partnership and the 2014 Plan of Conservation and Development Steering Committee.

What is your vision for Stratford’s future? Please be as specific as possible.

From the perspective of the Zoning Board of Appeals, my vision of Stratford’s future is simply that Stratford’s neighborhoods are protected from overdevelopment, its shoreline and natural resources are protected, and we continually attract new businesses to town.

What do you consider to be the most important issue needing to be addressed in Stratford?

From a Zoning perspective, the most important issues are how we decide to redevelop the Stratford Army Engine Plant (SAEP) property, and how we continue to face issues related to the affordable housing laws (8-30g) and the increased density that it encourages.

As the largest underutilized piece of property in town, it represents a tremendous opportunity for future development and it will require thoughtful planning to ensure that it is put to the best use.

There is a concerted effort by some in Hartford and developers to keep pushing denser development in suburban towns like Stratford. Stratford has been proactive in adopting an affordable housing plan put forth by the Stratford Housing Partnership, but large scale developments will need to be evaluated very closely, especially when they may compromise public health and safety.

Karen Tracy
Democrat
Candidate for Zoning Board of Appeals, Zone V

Karen Tracy has Bachelor of Science degrees in biology from Villanova University and from Southern Connecticut State University in computer science. She has spent thirty-plus years as a software engineer and Director of Engineering at various companies. She moved to Stratford in 2010 and soon after joined the Stratford Animal Rescue Society. She was honored as the 2014 Volunteer of the Year, served as Vice President, Treasurer, and is currently the President of the beloved town organization.

Karen is a leader of the Stratford Democratic Town Committee, holding every position on campaigns, and the lead of the voter outreach and field strategy. She has a long history of Democratic Party involvement, dating back to when she helped her mother run for office by doing literature drops and knocking on doors. She stresses that land boards like the ZBA and proper use of our space are vital for Stratford’s future.

“We picked Stratford to be our home 13 years ago. Soon I volunteered with the wonderful organization that is STARS and would love to continue to give back to our own on a land board.”

Why are you running for office?

My mother was a person widely admired in West Haven where I grew up. The one thing she always stressed with her children was, “If you see a need in your community, you be the one to step up and make the difference.”  My land board district deserves the best possible voice, and I believe I am that person.

What are your qualifications for this position?

The Board of Zoning Appeals requires a person who can demonstrate a fair-minded approach balancing the needs of property owners with our zoning regulations. Joining a commission also requires a person who can come up to speed quickly on processes and policies and understand complex systems and issues.

As a Director of Software Engineering, I have spent my professional career managing and leading to fruition multiyear engineering projects.

What is your vision for Stratford’s future? Please be as specific as possible.

A great question and extremely hard to answer without acknowledging how shackled we are to the polluting practices of our industrial past. I think a strong vision for our future is to identify all these hazardous areas and have a practical, candid, and radical discussion with Stratford citizens about what we can do.

Other municipalities in Connecticut have managed to escape their polluted past. We simply need to…

What do you consider to be the most important issue needing to be addressed in Stratford?

One of the most frequent concerns I have heard from people is that the residential taxes are challenging for family budgets. Growing our grand list and alleviating the residential tax burden is our top issue.

Joseph Gerics
Democrat
Candidate for Planning Commission, District 1

My career has been in Catholic education. I taught for over two decades before completing doctoral studies at Teachers College, Columbia University, and becoming a principal and associate superintendent for the Diocese of Bridgeport and the Archdiocese of New York. I held leadership positions with CAS/CIAC as a member of its Board of Control and boys’ basketball community.  My community activities included board membership on Greater Bridgeport Interfaith Action, a coalition of 14 congregations mobilizing on non-partisan political issues.

My wife Susan and I reside in Lordship, and we have an adult son and daughter-in-law.

Why are you running for office?

As I walk through my neighborhood and drive around town, I see a lot of great places to live. But I also see missed opportunities:  prime waterfront property that could have been parks zoned for warehouses, large developments without provisions for affordable housing, and some pockets of blight. Our town needs longer-range planning and effective enforcement of existing regulations to protect the quality of life of our neighborhoods.

What are your qualifications for this position?

I was appointed to serve briefly on the Planning Commission to fill an unexpired term when the elected commissioner moved out of district, so I am familiar with the position and its demands. I am committed to study thoroughly every proposal that comes before the Planning Commission, and consider carefully its effects on the quality of life for the surrounding neighborhood.

What is your vision for Stratford’s future? Please be as specific as possible.

I envision a future in which our children and grandchildren can enjoy what we all love about our town. First, we need to protect our green spaces like Roosevelt Forest and Stratford Point, while enhancing access to our beautiful waterfront. The development of the Army Engine plant and Shakespeare Theater property present great opportunities for us. Second, I envision more vibrant pedestrian-oriented business districts at Paradise Green and Stratford Center.

What do you consider to be the most important issue needing to be addressed in Stratford?

The two most important issues are providing appropriate affordable housing and the future development of the airport.

Maxwell Dulin
Democrat
Candidate for Planning Commission, Zone II

I am proud to say I was born and raised in Stratford. I re-located to Charlotte, North Carolina as a teenager, and moved back after graduating. Stratford is not just my home, but my chosen home. I’ve served as a full-time caregiver for a homebound family member throughout the pandemic. I first got involved with Stratford’s Democratic Town Committee last year when I attended the annual fall picnic. From there it’s been a truly transformative experience. After working on Chris Green’s state senate campaign, I joined the DTC in January. I am so humbled to have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of our phenomenal public servants who have inspired me to run.

Why are you running for office?

I am honored to serve on such a diverse, passionate and qualified ticket — my fellow candidates and I really showcase the best that Stratford has to offer. I believe in the future of our town, and want to do my part to serve the place that shaped who I am. Running for office is one of the best ways I can do that. As for “why now?” I think to one of my all-time favorite quotes by the late John Lewis: “If not now, when?” There is no better time than the present to speak up and make your voice heard.

What are your qualifications for this position?

I have the vision, drive and tenacity to truly deliver for the town. When I work at something, I deliver. I have fresh ideas, an open mind, and a unique background that makes me an asset to my fellow citizens.

What is your vision for Stratford’s future? Please be as specific as possible.

I believe that Stratford, at its fullest potential, is a destination town. I see a town that attracts families, and most importantly inspires them to stay. Additionally, my experience as a caregiver has given me profound insight on the needs of Stratford’s disabled and elderly residents; if elected, I intend to advocate for disability justice and the right of our seniors to age-in-place.

What do you consider to be the most important issue needing to be addressed in Stratford?

The two biggest issues I see facing Stratford are our economy and our environment. Stratford has, in the past, been identified as a distressed municipality. Businesses are choosing to open elsewhere, and many family businesses that have been here for generations have gone under. Making sure our communities can thrive, as well as attracting new commerce will not only provide quality employment, but also increase our tax base, allowing us to fund public services while mitigating the need to increase the tax rate on residents. The Planning Commission also addresses Stratford’s coastal resiliency, something that will be a top priority to me while in office. I look forward to using evidence-rooted solutions in working with our leaders, to help Stratford continue to set itself apart as a leader in environmental stewardship. We are so fortunate to live in this beautiful town, and I humbly ask your vote and support as we continue to move Stratford forward. Thank you for your time.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Read more

Local News