The Debate: Where To House Former Offenders? P&Z Delays Decision

The Planning and Zoning Commission Monday night delayed decision on an application to extend a special permit to allow the establishment of a 120-bed halfway house for former male offenders by Community Solutions, Inc. The location is at Norman and Railroad Avenue, and numerous residents in the West End and South End have expressed opposition. Former offenders require transitional housing, they say, but why must these institutions that serve the region always be placed in Bridgeport?

34 Norman Street
34 Norman Street, more than 30,000 square feet, one of the parcels for the proposed halfway house, is owned by a limited liability company controlled by Nancy DiNardo, Democratic state party chair, according to city land records and state business filings.

A legal notice in the Connecticut Post created confusion over just what action the commission would take up. The commission was being asked to extend application approval for one year so the project could be finalized. The legal notice called for site and coastal plan reviews.

Chairman Mel Reilly announced the public could speak about any aspect of the proposal if the presentation moved ahead based on the legal notice language. Attorney Chuck Willinger, a land use specialist on behalf of the applicant, requested the delay. Concerned about public reaction, he had asked that public input be restricted to extension of the permit. Councilman Bob “Troll” Walsh briefly addressed the commission before he was cut off by Reilly. Walsh claimed the city’s master plan does not encourage this kind of development, arguing that the use is another example of the city absorbing a regional burden. Based on Willinger’s request the tabled application will likely be taken up at the next commission meeting. About 25 city residents showed up for the hearing.

The controlling property interests for the proposed halfway house facility include Nancy DiNardo, Democratic State Party chair and her brother, developer Sal DiNardo, according to city land records and state business filings. The property at 34 Norman Street, more than 30,000 square feet, appears to be a vacant factory. The annual tax bill is $18,407 and taxes are current based on the July payment, according to the Tax Collector’s Office. Two other affiliated properties 828 Railroad Avenue and 48 Norman Street are current based on July tax payments. Properties would be considered delinquent if the January payments were not received by close of business day Monday. The tax office, however, has not yet registered all due payments so it is possible the payments have been submitted pending processing.

Frank Borres, chairman of the West Side Neighborhood Revitalization Zone and member of the Citywide NRZ Leadership committee, weighs in with his opposition to the proposal. From Borres:

The West Side NRZ met on the issue of the P and Z application for the 120 bed institution planned for Norman and Railroad Avenue. We were unanimous in our opposition to it. Due to Bridgeport’s overwhelming representation of transitional housing and the lack of participation by our neighboring towns we felt that the application was discriminating to our mostly minority community. We see it as a civil rights issue. It would be an undue burden to Bridgeport taxpayers and would negatively affect the city’s ability to direct our economic development initiatives. We don’t see the hardship on the applicant and advise the P and Z to deny the application.

At this time the federal and state governments which are making funds like this available to non-profits should demand an assessment of where these facilities are located. If that were done and the groups did a better job of locating facilities region wide and the responsibility is spread evenly and justly to all communities then we could reconsider but currently it appears this group and many others have targeted urban areas state and nation wide to locate transitional facilities. We believe the sponsoring groups have a noble cause and can do a much better job at evenly distributing their facilities. Of course reality is if Bridgeport responds like our neighbors these organizations would be forced to go back to the government funders and demand mandates to suburban and rural communities.

Until then we must oppose institutions like this which provide an undue burden to minority and urban communities and their taxpayers who end up paying for services for years to come.

From Democratic mayoral candidate John Gomes:

Statement of John Gomes Calling on P&Z to Reject an Extension of Special Permit for 34 Norman Street

Members of the P and Z Commission:

I urge you to reject the extension of a special permit that would allow yet another Department of Corrections facility to be sited in Bridgeport.

1. There is already an overwhelming burden borne by the property tax payers in Bridgeport and if another property is taken off the rolls for use by a non-profit. This makes an already bad situation worse. Do not take this property off.

2. The residents of this area were not involved and were not consulted about this proposed site. Tonight it is apparent that they had to leave their homes and perhaps their job site to come here to tell you face to face not to approve this extension.

3. This facility is adjacent to a ball field use by the children in the neighborhood. They are put at risk. There is no other way to say it.

4. Approval of a special permit extension is not to the best interest of our citizens as it is to the best interest of a favored few … as usual …

5. Finally, how binding and legal can your decisions be if everyone has expired terms except for one commissioner.



  1. *** How many more non-profit transitional services will they dump in the West Side? Methadone Center on Park Ave., Prospect House, Home of the Brave, Bridge House, Isaiah House, Rescue Mission, Battered Women’s Center, etc. … put it in the city hall annex & collect the rent for revenue if it must go in Bpt. Let’s see where the city & state reps are on this one? (out to lunch) *** HERE WE GO! ***

  2. I was wondering which politically connected person(s) owns this building on Norman & Railroad? I hope the P&Z has the brains to deny this petition. Enough is enough.
    These transitional housing complexes are nothing more than out-and-out scams where certain people make tons of money.
    Bridgeport will have 120 former inmates just released from prison out on its streets during the day while looking for work.
    Will somebody please tell me how many transitional housing units are located in any of the suburban towns in this area? I will hazard a guess–ZERO.

  3. Bridgeport is a shit hole. The calamarians have denied our town any form of rehabilitation that would be attractive to investors. Naturally, whenever the state wants to build a criminally related halfway house or female juvenile detention or the like, it’s going to be placed in the least desirable location which is our town.

    I’d like to know if a goombah owns the proposed property.

    There are no similar facilities in Greenwich, West Hartford, Darien etc.

    Besides, what benefit comes from locating these facilities in Bridgeport? The newly released criminals walk out the door into the state’s highest drug density in the area, high crime rates with little enforcement (22 cops on the street per shift). Thrust right back into the criminal environment that put them in the clink in the first place. The solution is to build these facilities away from inner city criminal influence.

    As long as the calamarians are in control and Timpanelli does nothing to improve Bridgeport, we will remain a shit hole and such facilities will be placed here because no other communities want them. Nice situation we’re in, eh Mario?

  4. 120 beds, that is huge … this is not the size of a transitional housing project … it is more like a minimum security prison. Not appropriate in location, size or scope.

  5. TC,
    According to the State of CT Parole Department, there are 9 facilities totaling 260 residential beds in the Bridgeport Region. Mind you this covers most of Fairfield County although this is one of the few times Bridgeport gets top billing.
    Of that number, 2 operations with 45 beds are in Norwalk; the rest are in Bridgeport.
    Currently the largest facility in Bridgeport is 62 beds so this one proposed facility is close to a 50% increase in the number of beds and basically twice the size of the largest facility in the region today.

    PS The Planning and Zoning Department does not accept blogs as part of the public input process.

    1. Bob, thanks for the dig. I, unlike most in city elected positions, do not suffer from terminal dumb-ass. I am well aware that planning and zoning does not accept blogging as part of their official record.

  6. Let’s look at this in another way.

    Say we are successful in getting rid of Testa and Timpanelli. Now we have the very basics of the beginnings of true economic development in Bridgeport.

    If you had a whole bunch of money, would you be willing to invest in the development of property next door to a 120-bed facility for newly released criminals?

  7. yahooy,
    Although you probably already know the answer, two of the properties are owned by Norman Street Associates, LLC, 323 North Ave. The Secretary of the State’s CONCORD database lists Nancy DiNardo of 61 Suzane Cir., Trumbull as an LLC member. The 323 North Ave address is DiNardo Enterprises.
    The other property involved is owned by cuz Kenneth DiNardo.
    Let’s see what P&Z does.

  8. These transitional housing units are supposed to ease these former offenders into society and set them up with jobs. That’s all well and good but like yahooy said why are you housing them in the same type of area that got them in trouble in the first place?
    I would be willing to bet the majority of these people will be from other communities and few will be from Bridgeport.
    The one thing these advocates for the transitional housing will not tell us is how many of these former criminals just walk away from this type of facility and hide in the communities where they are housed and commit more crimes?
    I will bet a week’s pay this facility has someone who is politically connected whether it be here in Bridgeport or in Hartford.
    If you have ever been to one of these locations it’s hard to figure out who the former inmate is and who the so-called counselor is.
    I would hope Mayor Finch and the lemmings on the council will speak out against this. It’s time for Finch to contact each and every commissioner and express his displeasure with this proposal.
    Enough is Enough.


    Nine members appointed by Mayor and approved by City Council
    Act on Inlands/Wetlands issues as well
    Three alternates – Direct Mayoral Appointments
    Three year terms
    Members serve until a successor is appointed and has qualified.
    Regular Meetings: Last Monday of each month
    Contact: Dennis Buckley, Zoning Officer X7217
    Link to Land Use & Construction Review
    Schedule of Meetings for 2011
    Jose Tiago (D)
    2445 Park Avenue Unit #50
    Bridgeport, CT 06604
    Term Expires: 12/31/12

    Carl Kish (U)
    386 Grovers Avenue
    Bridgeport, CT 06605
    Term Expires: 12/31/07

    Anne Pappas-Phillips (D)
    3300 Park Avenue #5
    Bridgeport, CT 06604
    Term Expires: 12/31/10

    Melville Riley Jr. (R)
    2600 Park Avenue Unit 8T
    Bridgeport, CT 06604
    Term Expires: 12/31/2009

    Reginald Walker (D)
    48 Hazelwood Avenue
    Bridgeport, CT 06605
    Term Expires: 12/31/08

    Barbara A. Freddino (D)
    31 Rusling Place
    Bridgeport, CT 06604
    Term Expires: 12/31/2008

    Gail Solis (D)
    110 Seaver Circle
    Bridgeport, CT 06606
    Term Expires: 12/31/10

    Robert Morton (D)
    1274 Brooklawn Avenue
    Bridgeport, CT 06604
    Term Expires: 12/31/2009


    Term: 1/01/04 – 12/31/06

    Thomas Fedele (D)
    215 Burnsford Avenue
    Bridgeport CT, 06606
    Term Expires: 12/31/08

    1. To TC and Bob Walsh,
      So far you both have done a masterful job with a clear case made for the rejection of … yet another opportunity for a select few to feast at the trough … and leave the Bridgeport taxpayer deeper and deeper in the overwhelming debt this Administration is creating.
      Thanks for all your reasons and any more that you both have to share. Hopefully this will get rejected.

  10. Gossip of The Rialto!

    This just in!!! Charlie Carroll was just seen flying in under the radar from his trip to Florida last week.

    And they gave Super Bowl Mary a tough time for one day???

    1. Somebody call Charlie in Florida and tell him there’s a snow state of emergency until further notice. It’s okay to be a “no show” when you’re Fabs’ chief of staff but Charlie has a real job now. Be nice if he showed up for work once in awhile.

  11. TC if you missed it Sal DiNardo is the owner with his sister Nancy. How much more connected can you get than the Chairperson of the Democratic State Committee? When I first read the article from Lennie, Sal’s face was the 1st one that popped up, horns and tail included.

  12. Put it on 1883 Fairfield Beach Rd. or Trumbull where it belongs. Petition the Zoning Board for 2/3rds Vote

    Let’s hear from DiNardo’s publicist! From the Asphalt Plant to the Remington Plant, now this.
    The DiNardo’s are all Scumbags.
    Here’s my phone number Sal: 203-212-1481

  13. Just Amazed at how we continue in this vicious cycle of destroying our city. Put it somewhere else! How about New Haven, we have our share of issues and bringing more into Bridgeport will not better our city. I am all for rehabilitation and helping others become part of the community again, but Bridgeport cannot handle this mess right now! When will it stop? Why do we let this continue? … It is truly sad that so many are leaving (Florida must be where Jesus is, because everyone seems to be moving there … lol), so many continue to vacate our wonderful city. When are we going to see true sincerity, truthful transactions without lining someone’s pockets who has lined politicians pockets … seriously, something needs to be done!

  14. Here is some more gasoline for the “Don’t Dump On Me” fire.
    Of the Non-residential Programs run by the Department of Corrections, Bridgeport Parole District, they have contracted 2,055 slots for Non-residential programs.
    Of the six programs, 5 are located in Bridgeport consisting of 1,780 slots (87%).
    1 program or 275 slots (13%) are located elsewhere in the district.
    Repeat after me:
    Don’t Dump on Me;
    Don’t Dump on Bridgeport

  15. Attention yahooy, it is my understanding that Sal DiNardo has the same Publicist as Bob Scinto. However I don’t think that Lennie is the kind of guy who kisses & tells.

  16. I really hope all these Loyal Bloggers can tear themselves away from their computers this evening long enough to attend this meeting. We know your opinions can be read, but now we need your faces shown and your voices HEARD. We all need to tell DiNardo to go to a Realtor to sell his properties. Stop the corrupt abuse of your power within the Democratic machine. His political contributions are paying dividends—Sal, try paying your Back Taxes!!!

  17. Just a little more fuel for the fire.
    In a study conducted by Stephen M Cox, PhD, a professor at CCSU in the Dept of Criminology and Criminal Justice, it appears that his research found statewide that 40% of the residents in the Halfway Houses reported their town of residence to be one of the three large cities in the state. Another 14% said Other Urban areas while another 30% said urban periphery.
    So this study debunks the mindset that claims most of the people who live in Bridgeport Halfway House are from Bridgeport. Chances are that 60% are from other locations.

  18. *** How many of these halfway house inmates in community transition are ex-sex offenders to be housed next to a public park, 3 blocks from a charter school & public housing facilities; all looking for what jobs in the community? And may I add in a Latin King neighborhood! Then to top it off most of the P&Z board members’ times have expired! Forbes magazine sees the writing on the wall, time to go west & pan for “GOLD,” no? *** HERE WE GO! ***

  19. In the past four or so years there has been much vitriol passing between the posters debating this against that.

    Until now, I have not taken much of this banter too seriously.

    However, I have never been so enraged as I have become over the prospect of a Sal DiNardo-owned property being considered for a 120-bed transitional home for recently released criminals.

    My first issue is with the state for even considering property owned by a well placed politician who is related to a family that consistently thumbs their collective noses at people of their hometown. They don’t pay taxes. Their property is blight. They continually dream up projects that will hurt the city rather than enhance it. Imagine an asphalt plant in a residential area. “Who Cares?” I do. And now this.

    That’s the mindset of the calamarians. “We can shovel all the shit we want at the people of Bridgeport and they still will come back for more especially when it is served with a good helping of an appropriately named puttanesca alla u cazz’.

    Word at lunch today is this is a done deal. Probably is. Nancy is involved. She is more level than her brother Sal. Hell Ernest “T” is more level than Slick Sal.

    I asked this before. Who would want to spend investment dollars developing property in a town whose greatest number of new residents comes from the prison system?

  20. I heard that Mary-Jane Foster, who is out of town, has drafted a letter and requested that it be read and entered into the record against this zoning use.

    Did Bill Finch ever give back Sal those campaign funds he promised or his extra state senate salary to the Zoo???

    Inquiring minds and People for Excellence in Government would like to know!!!

  21. Isn’t that right next to Went Field where the Bassick football and soccer teams practice because they don’t have proper sports facilities? How much more can they pile on those kids?

    Can you imagine if this group living facility was proposed near where high school kids practice in any other town? Every politician in the state would be out there saying it was totally unacceptable and be trying to stop it. I haven’t heard from anybody yet.

  22. Maybe Sal should use the cranberry farm in Greenfield Hills that he got turned down on by Fairfield, or perhaps the ugly-ass house on Fairfield Beach. If there is such a thing as an ugly house on the Beach Sal would own it, it reminds me of his sports jackets, loud with lots of colors. If we allow this halfway house to go through zoning we citizens of Bpt deserve everything we get. We should be out on the streets like Egypt shouting Finch, DiNardo and Mario must leave Bpt.

  23. The problem with trying to stop this petition is that it already passed this planning and zoning commission once. They are now looking for an extension of the previous approval.
    Look at the makeup of the commission, all are pro-Finch people and with the exception of Freddino are all Finch appointees.
    Look at the list and you will see all but one of the commissioners’ terms have expired. Mel Riley was recently reappointed I think.
    Finch will not go against one of his biggest benefactors. We are screwed again.

  24. TC: Finch, DiNardo and zoning have no shame, as I have said before Sal is just a used-car salesmen whose father left him a lot of money and property but no dignity.

  25. bpt guy
    Include Timpanelli in your advice for the three of those clowns to leave town, but 3 of them have already left Bridgeport with the exception of Finch, the one who really ought to leave. A big disgrace, this group.

  26. How come this is the first we are hearing of this bull shit? Willinger wants to eliminate the neighborhood impact comments from the next meeting? When was the neighborhood impact issue discussed?

    1. yahooy, I’m looking into the public input history. The commission apparently was being asked for an extension on a decision approval in 2008. A legal notice snafu in the CT Post created confusion. Chairman Reilly ruled that if the discussion moved forward public comment would be wide open. Willinger didn’t want that because he knew it would be noisy. Decision delayed.

  27. Without sounding patronizing I would like to send an “ATTABOY” to OIB’s Lennie Grimaldi. If it weren’t for your coverage of this story the opposition to this P&Z meeting would have been non-existent thus leaving the chicken coop open to Willinger & DiNardo.

  28. Listen Bridgeport lovers the only way to win this thing is for us to come out in force at the next meeting. Second, flood the CT Post with your letters, call WICC and public-access TV talk shows, call your political leaders and find us lawyers willing to work pro bono to beat the evil Willinger and DiNardo gangs. Make this a viral and live campaign heard in all corners of Hartford and downtown Bridgeport. Let’s do this. We can beat the evil empire but it will take a victory by the rebels.

  29. *** Any feedback on this correctional non-profit debacle from the Dem. district town committee, city or state reps. that represent this district 131st Ed Gomes, E. Santiago, A. Ayala, or Ms. Moye? Sad very sad but this is what the voters apparently want & will continue voting for, no? Bpt community urban development @ its best! *** SAILOR’S QUOTE, AIN’T THAT A HOLE IN THE BOAT! ***

  30. “… Community Solutions Inc. was seeking site and coastal approvals for a 120-bed home for released inmates near Went Field Park. In fact, Community Solutions won those approvals in 2008, and is seeking a second 1-year extension to keep things moving …”

    Read more: www

    Lennie, this is–to me–a totally new and unexpected project considering how long this has been in the plans.
    I would like to know if in 2008–when CSI applied and received site and coastal approval–was there any mention that it would be for a 120-bed detention center? Sure, let’s say “the taxes were paid.” Were the taxes paid regularly and on time since, let’s say 2007? Wasn’t that around the time the City of Bridgeport forgave his taxes on his South Avenue property where the Asphalt Plant would have been located? Now that Caruso is not around, it seems like DiNardo and Company think they can get away with it. The idea of Nancy DiNardo profiting from Federal funds is just unethical. Lennie, when are you going to list all known Bridgeport properties under DiNardo control?

  31. Joel I found 21 properties using the DiNardo name. I did not find Remington Arms, South Ave Property or Bpt Machine buildings or the site where the buses are parked on Lindley St. They are under different names I am sure but I will keep looking. Here is the site., you will have to type it in the search area.

  32. Let’s put this issue into a proper perspective. Are we outraged that this property selected for a 120-bed transitional center for recently released criminals is owned by the despicable DiNardos or are we concerned that placing such a facility in our community will have a negative impact on any hopes for an effective economic development program?

    I am personally sick and tired of the DiNardos. I don’t think any of them should benefit in any way until all of their obligations to the city are resolved. They have taken far too many liberties at our expense and this has got to stop. It will stop when the entire calamarian scourge is run out of town including the worthless Timpanelli. It would be interesting to learn if Timpanelli is involved in the decision to AWARD the DiNardos with this.

    If Bridgeport is targeted as the dumping spot for the Department of Correction, that will be our reputation. Again and again and again, who in their right mind will want to invest in a community that caters to criminals?

  33. Mojo, good point, has this issue been told to them from those who oppose it? I know they should know about it but it is most important for concerned residents to demand their elected officials look into this issue and to act on their concerns.

    1. *** I’m sure people have called, besides most of the district Dem. town committee live in the area, so do Santiago, Moye & Ayala (?) and should be aware if they stop by a neighborhood NRZ meeting once in a while! There is no neighborhood safe anymore in Bpt from poor planned community urban development, master plan or not. It’s all about the benjamin$ for tax revenue & secret backdoor policies. *** This city needs a political “enema!” ***

  34. Observation:

    I see John Gomes released a statement against the home, but no one commented on it.
    I will. Thanks Mr. Gomes for being there and keeping an eye on things.
    I have been at council meetings and seen him there and read he never misses a BOE meeting.
    Keep up the good work.


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