As a Stonington homeowner, I'm excited about re-electing Rob Simmons as Stonington First Selectman and electing John Prue as Stonington Selectman. John is a business owner who served on the Planning and Zoning Commission for six years and who will bring a thorough understanding of land use regulations and issues to the Board of Selectmen.
When Rob was elected in 2015, Stonington had been without a director of planning for almost four years. He understood that Stonington must attract commercial development to increase the grand list and reduce the tax burden on homeowners. Stonington required a qualified planning professional to direct the planning department. Filling this key position was a high priority for Rob.
In December, 2015, Rob announced the hiring of Jason Vincent as director of planning.
In August, 2016, Rob testified in support of the Greenway Development District. This new "floating zone" is the first step in the development of the Perkins Farm as a medical and research center, instead of a housing development. Owner David Lattizori predicts that the center will be the largest taxpayer in Stonington and will employ hundreds.
Last May, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved the Heritage Mill Zone to allow additional uses at certain commercial properties in Pawcatuck. Rob had supported creation of such a zone in 2015, following its recommendation by the Economic Development Commission. The new zone will make it easier to develop these properties and increase the likelihood that two mills in Pawcatuck will be sold and become busy workplaces again.
In September, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved the new PV-5 zone to promote commercial investment in Pawcatuck. In early October, rundown ‘Laura's Landing’ was sold, following bidding among five potential buyers that included four local residents who were aware of the new zone.
I am confident that the cumulative effect of innovative planning, as exemplified by these new zones, will be economic growth in Stonington at a time when state aid to Connecticut towns is disappearing. Let's continue the momentum by voting for Rob Simmons and John Prue.