In The Spirit Of Business Friendly, Zoners Consider Liquor Store Expansion

Land use attorney Chuck Willinger. CT Post image Autumn Driscoll.

The city is giving new meaning to saluting “business friendly.” The Planning and Zoning Commission Monday night will take up a “Petition of Office of Planning & Economic Development (OPED) – Seeking to establish a comprehensive approach to all establishments serving or selling liquor within the City limits excluding full service restaurants under Sec. 12-10 of the City of Bridgeport Zoning Regulations.” See agenda here.

CT Post reporter Brian Lockhart has more:

Zoning Attorney Chuck Willinger made a bold claim.

“Of the entire United States, Bridgeport has the most restrictive liquor regulations,” he said in an interview Friday.

Well, at least the strictest in Connecticut. That is according to an analysis by Lynn Haig, Bridgeport’s director of planning. So on Monday Haig will ask the zoning commission to adopt rule changes that could allow more package stores to open.

Willinger inspired the effort. He has been fighting for nearly two years to find some way around a court ruling that tossed out a politically connected client’s zoning approvals for a new liquor store at 1044 Brooklawn Avenue in the North End.

Full story here.



  1. Does the sale of alcohol products within a stable population relatively dense area reach all willing buyers with stable prices? After that if you add outlets, won’t they be eating the business of others and not increase economic success in a community? Of all the economic development questions or issues that this OPED employee could have “studied” as part of her duties, was this the highest value on the agenda of Joe Ganim and Tom Gill? What is the ‘trickle down’ effect fiscally on social service needs in the community or any change in Taxable Grand List? Time will tell.

  2. Let’s see.

    Michael DeFilippo is connected to Democrat Town Committee Chair Mario Testa.(Works for him as a bartender)

    Michael DeFilippo just won the Democrat party primary for city council and is the defacto council representative starting in December.

    Chuck Willinger was the “unindicted co-conspirator” in the Ganim trial in which Ganim was convicted of felony crimes, including lying under oath.

    Lynn Haig serves in the role of Director of Planning at the pleasure of Mayor Ganim.

    Ganim reclaimed the office of Mayor with the help of DTC Chairman Testa.

    Easy to connect the dots on this one.

    National headlines for Bridgeport.

  3. This is the real life version of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. only thing missing is actual boardwalk (steelpoint?) and Casino (MGM). Politics is broken from local all the way up to national. both “parties” complicit.

  4. This is not a location specific application. In fact, under the present boardwalk location scenario, a mega-store like Total wouldn’t be allowed at Steelpointe. Too close to Saint Michael’s Church and Bridge Academy.

    See you tomorrow night.

  5. “Willinger… has been fighting for nearly two years to find some way around a court ruling that tossed out a politically connected client’s zoning approvals for a new liquor store at 1044 Brooklawn Avenue in the North End.”

    Who is paying Mr. Willinger’s legal fees? I can’t think of one attorney that would put two years into a zoning appeal pro bono. 

    1. Those are the priorities of the Ganim administration and his goombah, a casino and a liquor store. This the sort of immoral leadership the voters of the East Side wanted.

      Well past time to draw everyone’s attention to this loser. For all his posturing in a South End church two years ago Ganim II is an abject failure. Gun violence, unemployment, poverty and despar still prevail in many neighborhoods.

      Ganim is incapable of balancing the budget because Tio Mario has too many stooges on the municipal payroll, incompetents that owe their positions more to political patronage than job qualification. A lot of mouths to feed, gots to keep the trough full of bacon.

      And what about all those tax abatements of decades past? Can’t seize those properties through eminent domain because the corporate fat cats that abandoned them still make campaign contributions at Joe’s fundraisers. (No one wants to pas up an opportunity to smoke Cuban stogies and drink Napoleon brandy at a thousand dollars a pop.) Who cares if O & G is spreading clouds of toxic dust over residential neighborhoods? It’s all in the name of campaign donations, Joe Ganim’s quixotic persuit of the governor’s mansion. Now he wants to change the zoning regulations to ease the way for Nario Testa’s bartender to open a goddamned liquor store on Brooklawn Avenue.

      Priorities, priorities.

  6. So now Joe&Mario are changing zoning regs for their friends?…Can you imagine what would go on if Joe ever became governor??.”Only Italian Restaurants in the north end of Bpt,can be open on Saturday nights”,,lol

  7. This is not the first time zoning has been changed. Look at all the new homes built in the North end near Exeter Street. When Fabrizi was on the zoning commission he did not want all those homes built,that all changed when he was elected mayor. Now that area is oversaturated especially on Lakeside Drive.

  8. I hope it gets reported somewhere in the media how the P and Z filibustered the meeting last night. 10 45 and only one in the opposition was getting to speak, He was right on point however and Mel Riley told him his time was up at which point there was almost a riot in the crowd shouting at the commissioners to let him finish, and he did and he got a loud round of applause. Meeting over.
    Such a round of spin doctoring from the City Planning Department I’ve never seen.
    NO we don’t want more liquor stores in Bridgeport. !!

  9. Mel Riley is dumber than dirt. You would think after all of these years on the commission he would have learned something. Nope! he and the rest of zoning and zoning board of appeals are all bought and paid for. If you want to see a ZBA fiasco go to Davenport St and see the construction Material recycling building located less than 100 Ft from a grade school. I wonder what that cost I am not talking about the cost of the building


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