Protect the Partrick Wetlands
and our Community

Protect us from our Protectors
Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

Three months ago I submitted a letter and an article was also published questioning Town Attorney Ira Bloom's opinions and guidance regarding the Partrick Wetlands.

I am now writing again because Mr. Bloom has become the central figure in the Planning and Zoning Commission's denial "without prejudice" of the ARS plan to develop that land. It was his guidance of First Selectman Diane Farrell and the Commission to use this seldom used denial in order to allow for independent environmental testing and then for a new application to be submitted once the results were known. Seemed like a fair, simple and straight forward concept.

But somehow an absurd idea has emerged that everything else applied for by ARS has been "passively approved" without even a moment's discussion by the commission. If Mr. Bloom knew this was a possibility why didn't he make it clear to the commission? Did Mr. Bloom even tell Ms. Farrell of this possibility before she requested this decision? And what is her reaction now?

I have decided to run for the Planning and Zoning Commission myself. I attended all the hearings and work sessions. Mr. Bloom spoke publically at these meetings and never once discussed any possibility of such a "passive approval." Any sudden change by his office to affirm this concept or say he advised the P&Z about it should be met with skepticism and great scrutiny. And would bring into question his ability to faithfully and effectively defend the Town's and the Commission's right and authority to review and decide the appropriateness and conformity of any future plan.

I have said for a long time that something didn't feel right about this whole process, especially in the face of what I believe has been the largest and most vocal opposition this town has seen in a long time. In my last letter I explained how three prior opinions by Mr. Bloom aided development, this situation could make four.

I am running for office because I believe there needs to be some changes made, but none of us will be able to make them if the town attorney continually ties our hands behind our backs in favor of development. If elected, will I be forced to sit there twiddling my thumbs because the Town Attorney failed to properly inform and advise the commission?

The time has indeed come for change. But many changes should not have to wait for November.

Jamie Cochrane