Meskers, Khana, Arzeno Break Trust on Local Control

Meskers, Khana, Arzeno Break Trust on Local Control 

To the Editor:

Greenwich Democrat state Reps. Arzeno, Khanna, and Meskers promised over and over to support local control of zoning in their campaigns so they could get elected. However, they just voted with Democrat Hartford legislators in a party line vote to betray our town by taking away more of our local control by supporting passage of HB5390, Desegregate CT’s Transit Oriented Development bill.

The legislation pushes towns and cities to adopt “as of right” development near train and bus stations up to 9 units per building and any development 10 units or above and has 30% affordable units—and without customary environmental reviews. If a town does not agree to such an aggressive zoning plan, they lose priority for billions of state funding. It’s an “offer towns can’t refuse” so developers can get everything they want.

The funding tied to this aggressive zoning includes billions of dollars that are expended under “Urban Act” funds and “STEAP” Grants, which are major funding buckets that now will be prioritized to the towns with pro-developer zoning. Money in the state is limited which could turn off funding for Greenwich if our town doesn’t comply with the major pro-developer zoning.

On the other hand, Greenwich and other towns could try to keep the money by making major zoning changes. By allowing large apartment developments in “transit” areas. This could turn single family neighborhoods like Cos Cob, Belle Haven, Riverside, Old Greenwich into developer dreams with mid-sized and large apartment complexes where there are currently single-family homes and remake historic Greenwich neighborhoods.

Reps. Arzeno, Khanna, and Meskers promised again and again and again on the campaign trail over the years that they support “local control.” It turns out that was just lip service. When the Democrat bosses in the legislature pressured them, they buckled and voted for an anti-local control bill—the biggest one to pass the House in the last six years since Greenwich sent Meskers to Hartford.

 They have misled the public about why they voted for the bill. CT 169 Strong, the preeminent nonpartisan nonprofit organization in the state focused on defending local control of town’s decision making, adamantly opposed the bill and the Council on Small Towns opposed the bill. The bill explicitly bribes towns with billions of dollars into radically changing their zoning in a giveaway to developers. It could turn Cos Cob, Riverside, and Old Greenwich totally on their heads.

Greenwich Democrats Arzeno, Khanna, and Meskers broke their biggest promise violating their trust with voters.Voters should vote them out of office in November.

Jerry Cincotta

A Lesson in Representation

To the Editor:

Alright, class, today we’re going to talk about something important that’s happened recently in our town of Greenwich. It involves decisions made by people who were chosen to represent us—our state Representatives Arzeno, Khanna, and Meskers—and how their decisions impact our community.

These three representatives made a promise during their campaigns—that they would support local control over zoning. Zoning, in simple terms, is how areas in our town are divided and used, like which areas are for houses, which are for businesses, and so forth. Local control means that these decisions are supposed to be made by our town, not by someone from outside.

However, something different happened after they were elected. They agreed to support a new law called HB5390, proposed by a group called Desegregate CT. This law aims to change how certain areas near train and bus stations are developed. Under this new law, developers—people who build houses and apartments—can now build more units in these areas, up to 9 units in a building by default. And if the building has more than 10 units, it must include some affordable homes, which are meant to help people with less money afford a place to live.

The tricky part? If our town doesn’t agree to these new rules, it might lose a lot of money from the state that could go towards other important things. This kind of situation is tough because it feels like we’re being forced to agree, or else we lose out.

So why is this a big deal? Well, changing how areas are zoned can really change the feel of a neighborhood. Places like Cos Cob, Belle Haven, Riverside, and Old Greenwich could see a lot more large apartment buildings. This might not fit with how people in these areas want their community to look and feel.

When our representatives chose to support this bill, many people felt betrayed because they expected them to stand up for local control, as they promised during their campaigns. Now, there’s a lot of discussion about whether these representatives should be re-elected.

This situation is a great example of why it’s important to be informed and involved in our community decisions. It shows how the actions of a few can affect many and highlights the value of holding our elected officials accountable for the promises they make.

So, what do you all think? How important do you think it is for our local representatives to keep their promises? What do you think you would do in a situation like this? Let’s discuss.


Steve Warzoha

As Democrats Betray Greenwich Fazio Comes to the Rescue

As Democrats Betray Greenwich Fazio Comes to the Rescue

Can you believe it? In a surprising twist of fate for Greenwich, our own state Representatives Arzeno, Khanna, and Meskers, all Democrats, sided with broader state policies that diverged starkly from their campaign assurances on local zoning control. They voted in favor of HB5390, the Transit Oriented Development bill, spearheaded by Desegregate CT, which aimed to diminish our town’s authority over zoning decisions near transit hubs betraying the very town that they represent. 

However, the story took a remarkable turn when our State Senator, Republican Ryan Fazio, stepped in and successfully thwarted the bill’s ultimate passage by effectively killing it in the Senate. Thank God for Ryan Fazio, whose decisive action safeguarded our local control and upheld the values Greenwich residents hold dear.

This proposed legislation would have allowed developments of up to 9 units by default and mandated that larger developments include affordable housing, all bypassing usual environmental checks. Such changes would override local governance, effectively dictating the developmental future of our town without our input.  Its impact on Riverside and OldGreenwich would be especially harsh. 

This isn’t just a minor policy shuffle; it represented a significant betrayal of trust. Representatives Arzeno, Khanna, and Meskers consistently campaigned on platforms of local autonomy, pledging to protect our right to dictate our community’s development. Yet, under pressure from their party leaders, they abandoned these commitments.

However, thanks to Senator Fazio’s intervention and leadership, Greenwich’s unique character and local decision-making power remain intact. His actions remind us of the importance of vigilant and responsive representation in government, capable of defending our community’s interests against overarching state mandates.

Our representatives played their hand, showing a readiness to substitute local preference for state imposition, and a willingness to forsake environmental considerations for unchecked development permissions. As voters and residents, our response must be clear and resolute. We must hold these elected officials accountable for their actions, remembering who truly stands for Greenwich’s interests.  Let there be no misunderstanding---Meskers, Arzeno and Khana will not protect Greenwich.

As the next election approaches, let’s reflect on the dedication of those who genuinely advocate for us, and consider the impact of each vote on the future of our community. It’s a crucial time to critically assess who has Greenwich’s best interests at heart and to act accordingly at the polls.

Thank you Senator Ryan Fazio. 

Edward Dadakis has been involved in local Greenwich government for more than 40 years.