A Mulligan For Parks Commission, Second Vote Scheduled For Rejected Solar Facility On Closed Dump

Two weeks to the day the Parks Commission unanimously rejected Mayor Bill Finch’s proposal for construction of a solar generating facility on the former landfill at Seaside Park, the board is scheduled to meet again for what the mayor hopes this time is approval of a 20-year arrangement with United Illuminating. The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Morton Government Center, conference rooms A&B first floor. Hey, for the Parks Commission that oversees lots of mulligans on the city’s two golf courses this is shot for a do-over.

The solar proposal is also the last item on the City Council agenda for Monday night. It’s unclear if the council will actually take a vote Monday night if the Parks Commission approves the proposal. Mayoral advisers say the Parks Commission was not completely apprised of the benefits of the proposal when the body voted to deny solar panels in all city parks. Monday’s special meeting was called by Mayor Bill Finch and Parks Commission Chairman Mark Marko.

Parks Commission agenda for Monday:



III. MOTION TO RESCIND AND/OR RECONSIDER THE VOTE ON FEBRUARY 17, 2014 “to deny the use of the landfill site at Seaside Park or any City of Bridgeport Park for the construction of a solar electricity generating facility to be built and operated by the United Illuminating Company.”



Concerning Recommendation in favor of and Approval of a Ground Lease Agreement Between the City of Bridgeport and United Illuminating Company (UI) to facilitate the construction of a Solar Electricity-Generating Facility on the Landfill near Seaside Park and the construction of a Fuel Cell Facility on Adjacent Land. (proposed resolution attached)

  1. OPENING REMARKS AND PRESENTATION by City representatives, including but not limited to David Kooris, Dir. of Office of Planning and Economic Development; Ronald J. Pacacha, Associate City Attorney; and Mark T. Anastasi, City Attorney and representatives of United Illuminating Company (Anthony J. Marone, Senior Vice President of Business Services and others) requesting to speak to the Board in regards to a Seaside Solar Project.


C. CLOSING REMARKS by representatives of the City Administration and UI.



From City Council agenda

Contracts Committee Report re: Resolution concerning Ground Lease with United Illuminating Company to facilitate the construction of a Solar Electricity-Generating Facility on the Landfill near Seaside Park and the construction of a Fuel Cell Facility on Adjacent Land.

City Council agenda here.



  1. I was at the last Parks Commission meeting, the board was given the full benefits and support this solar energy industrial plant rundown by Sue Brannelly, however, she was the only pro voice out of more than 25 at the meeting. Time for the city to load the room with their group that actually do not present the facts … the best testimony in favor of the solar park at the city council hearing was by the brother of Jack Banta, who is a science professor who claimed the concrete in the landfill is creating radon, which does cause cancer, for which the city will be liable forever for any UI worker who works on the site.
    The REAL question is, who called this meeting?
    There is a meeting Saturday at 10:30 at Harborview Market for the Friends of Seaside Park. I humbly suggest people should take some time to go to the meeting Saturday.

          1. That’s what I thought. Not a bad strategy if you ask me. The meeting appears to have been sprung on the board and questionably timed as to preclude strong opposition from being able to attend.

    1. Sec. 7-163e. Public hearing on the sale, lease or transfer of real property owned by a municipality. (a) The legislative body of a municipality, or in any municipality where the legislative body is a town meeting or representative town meeting, the board of selectmen, shall conduct a public hearing on the sale, lease or transfer of real property owned by the municipality prior to final approval of such sale, lease or transfer. Notice of the hearing shall be published in a newspaper having a general circulation in such municipality where the real property that is the subject of the hearing is located at least twice, at intervals of not less than two days, the first not more than fifteen days or less than ten days and the last not less than two days before the date set for the hearing. The municipality shall also post a sign conspicuously on the real property that is the subject of the public hearing.

  2. It seems the will of the Parks Commission and the will of the people who attended the last meeting is of no consequence to this administration. All that matters is the will of Bill. Outrageous!

    1. Monday evenings in Bridgeport … City Council first and third Mondays with PUBLIC SPEAKING at 6:30 PM with Council meetings at 7:00 PM. Guess Sue Brannelly will not be available for this round of support for the project.

      On alternate Monday evenings you can attend BOE meetings with an opportunity to speak as a member of the public for two minutes or so.

      I do not know what the “public speaking or questioning” policy is for the Parks Board. However, since this is being announced as a hearing I assume the public can speak and the members can listen.

      Perhaps the Mayor will consider forming a new City Commission to deal with property that requires remediation at some level to become fit for humans. Last year a Nutrition Council was formed amidst much public notice about food store deserts, juvenile obesity, etc. but is there anything new to report?

      Because of Remgrit, GE 17-acre land donation for Harding, Seaside Park Solar project and Knowlton Park ‘cleanup’ we might call such a new group “Nitty Gritty City Dirt Band” perhaps. They can accumulate reports that have been made over the years about soil, water toxicity, costs/benefits of remediation, and the potential for future use in a City that needs more taxpaying development to balance operating budgets and future commitments. The Nitty Gritty City Group might include a general educational component in each meeting so we may become more knowledgeable about land use potential and the technology of remediation.
      All of this will serve the purpose of going from “dirty” where we are in so many places and ways to a “greening” of Bridgeport with solid understanding of alternate courses of action and costs and consequences for the options. Time will tell.

  3. Okay, now I’m confused. Last week the Park commissioners voted against the solar project in the park. Finch’s response was to send Anastasi out and say, after checking the charter, it didn’t matter what the commissioners voted because the landfill wasn’t part of the park. Now, a week later, Finch sets up another vote for the park commission to vote again. What’s going on here? Which is it? I’d imagine other towns must just sit back and laugh at this buffoon. For Finch to be taking such desperate measures to get this ridiculous project going, he must have a lot on the line for himself somehow.

  4. Boy, things just get crazier and crazier. Finch’s desperation and willingness to saddle the city with potential liability issues makes one wonder about his honesty and efforts to self-promote at our expense.
    The latest from the city Electricity-Generating Facility on the LANDFILL NEAR E Seaside Park:
    The city at the first park board meeting stated land records show the dump as part of Seaside Park.

  5. Sounds like they have all been warned and risk their membership. What else could it be? They’re gonna ramrod this right through … bets? Mark Marko, we are watching!

    1. Hard to imagine sitting on one of Finch’s commissions is a privilege. By the way, I think the term of every member of the Parks board has expired. I wonder what the logic of not reappointing members could be? Sword of Damocles hanging over their head? Doubtful. Like I said, sitting on one of these boards has got to be thankless–hardly a privilege.

      1. There are maybe 142,000 residents of Bridgeport. There are perhaps 3500 people employed by City departments or the Board of Education. And we elect fewer than 30 people to do public service as Mayor, City Clerk, Registrars of Voters, Sheriffs and City Council members. City governance activities including land use decisionmaking, school building, library management and stewardship of programs and property like Parks and Recreation, WPCA, Police and Fire, etc. call upon up to 200 other citizens to serve without pay.
        You may find it ridiculous or “thankless” but there are many who see it as a privilege, a way to repay their community for the quality of life they enjoy. Think of service on the Ethics Commission in a City such as ours. Brings you up close to the facts of many circulating rumors, and may convince you we need more and better rules and language than we have.

        Think of your work on behalf of the community as participation in a long-term relay race. Someone ran the distance before you and hands off a baton to you to proudly and responsibly carry for a time and then someone else will be ready to take the baton on the next lap. Part of the self-governance process in a free society … and many will term it a privilege. What I believe is due these volunteers is an evaluation before their term expires and a re-appointment to another fixed term if they are deserving. They also deserve training around ethical behavior, the rules of their body, and their purpose as set out by Charter/Ordinance within the structure of State law. When the chief elected City official has a large number of appointments and ignores the timely appointment or re-appointment of group members, there is a greater opportunity for decisions that do not show the objectivity and impartiality that otherwise should be operating. When 80% or more of terms have expired and there are vacancies as well, the business of the community is set back. Does Bill Finch care about this? Has he set it as a priority in his State of the City addresses in the past six years? Or is it too easy to game the system in this way? Time will tell.

  6. Andy,
    Under Robert’s Rules of Order, standard operating procedures would allow for a motion to reconsider at the next meeting immediately following the meeting in which the original vote was taken. There are no rules concerning the vote to approve other than a simple majority with the motion to reconsider being made by a member who voted with the prevailing side in the original vote, i.e. someone who voted to reject the proposal must be the person who makes the motion to reconsider.
    Now if the Parks Board in their own rules have restrictions on reconsideration, those rules would prevail.

  7. To me the bigger question is what happens with the lease payments?
    Under the charter, if parkland is sold then the proceeds from that sale must go to the parks capital funds of which the Parks Board has total control. Since a 20-year capital lease is in lieu of a sale since the environmental contamination of the property caused by the City of Bridgeport is what has significantly reduced the value or made in unsaleable, the lease proceeds should not go to the city’s general fund.
    Any vote by the Parks Commission that does not demand such language clearly demonstrates they have abdicated their role as conservator of parkland.

  8. Perhaps the first questions at the hearing ought to be about the Board’s operating rules regarding taking up the same or similar issue in such close time fashion.
    Next the Charter language regarding Parks group responsibility for and stewardship of the land and their powers over. That is necessary because of the rapid report from City Attorney the Parks group vote is only advisory.

    Following that would be Bob’s notion of where the funds will go, as well as the review of the contract itself to include City “hold harmless” language. After all, if the “dumping area” were capped in some fashion in the past, and the soil barrier is not disturbed by the solar installation, then there is no expectation of leakage and therefore a low enough risk to UI workers, no? Time will tell.

  9. *** Second time around means a “done deal” for the Mayor’s proposal and his green team of misfits all in line following orders to the letter. Who knows, maybe it will turn out to be a good thing instead of what’s there now, that’s basically a smelly eyesore right next to the beach! And if the Parks Board rolls over, you can expect the city council to do the same, no? ***

  10. Mojo is on target. Does anyone seriously believe this administration would schedule a second vote unless they had enough to reconsider and approve? Did the Mayor appoint any new members to replace those who will not change their vote?

  11. Tom, I don’t think the Mayor will worry about replacing anyone at this moment because he is using a vetting process and as recently as Monday evening last, there was no one to fill the vacancy for the Parks group meeting with Miscellaneous Matters.

    However, when it comes to mulligans or “do-overs,” the Mayor is taking that second swing frequently, isn’t he? For instance the first time he went to Hartford regarding postponing the revaluation he got lost in the rough. So now he has evidently replaced it with a larger ball to the State and certainly imagines he will be allowed to play with a “made-up” Grand List, factually phony, pretending to be fair to all taxpayers but obviously assisting those with values closer to those from 2008 (or perhaps in excess?) while making those (who have suffered absolute fair market value reductions that decreased and stayed down) suffer additionally because they will be paying the next two year’s taxes on a revised mil rate based on the budget while their real values are lower than that used to tax them. Will anyone want to FOI the Mayor for the digital output from Vision Government Solutions? Will anyone sue the City for actual (and likely very demonstrable) unequal treatment under the law? And that is the reason for asking for revaluations every five years. Let’s see what’s behind the superficial answers provided by the Finch administration. Time will tell.

  12. I think Mother Nature might have something to say. There’s a huge snowstorm that might be hitting the east coast on Sun/Mon and might postpone any meeting.
    Hey Bill, the golf god is going to get even!!! A mulligan is not allowed in golf (legitimately) and is actually
    “Hitting 3.”

        1. No, I have not forgotten absentee ballots. I was just under the impression the administration wants bad weather so the turnout is low, and they have a better shot at winning via absentee ballots. So good weather is bad for Finch supporters, because turnout will be higher. I could have it all wrong though, what am I missing?

  13. Was it Plato who said things will not change until leaders become wise men and wise men become leaders? The very fact they are calling a second meeting so soon does not bode well for this happening in this Administration.

    I guess they were “only kidding” when they made the first vote. Right, Mark Marko?

  14. Okay, thanks Lennie for confirming. Received a flyer in the mail today that said vote top line Democrat then said voting will take place at St. Ann’s gym. I was like huh, was not sure if this was true or not but thanks for confirming it Lennie. Hopefully we can park in the parking lot of St. Ann’s because it’s always a hard to find parking when voting at Black Rock school. I usually walk when I vote but with eight inches on the ground I refuse to.

  15. donj, should you need a ride we would be obliged to provide you with one, just let us know, we are also looking for volunteers if you’d like to be part of something special.
    Hector (203)727-4085


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