Land use lawyer Chuck Willinger, on behalf of Community Solutions, Inc., is petitioning the Planning & Zoning Commission for approval of a halfway house for men in the West End. It appears that Willinger is reapplying a special permit application under the new 2010 zoning regulations following rejection by P&Z in February of the second extension request loaded with neighborhood protests. That decision, submitted under the old regulations, has been appealed in court. The new application is scheduled to be heard by P&Z July 25. From Willinger’s application:
The subject property (the “Property”) is located at the corner of Norman Street and Railroad Avenue, with the substantial portion of the site in the Light Industrial Zone and the balance of the Property in the Residence C zone. It was developed circa 1900, and was the former home of a corset manufacturing company. It has stood vacant for a number of years. The existing development of the Property and its location make it well suited to the proposed use.
The petitioner is seeking to utilize the Property as a halfway house. The Property will be renovated to provide housing and bedding for up to a maximum of 120 individuals who will be participating in programs underwritten by Community Solutions, Inc. The vast majority of the participants will be Bridgeport residents.
The property is owned by a limited liability company controlled by developer Sal DiNardo and his sister Nancy DiNardo, Democratic state party chair. Community Solutions www.csi-online.org operates several halfway houses transitioning federal and state offenders from Connecticut. The halfway house issue has galvanized neighborhood groups that question the burden on Bridgeport serving as the dumping ground for regional responsibility.