Zoners Raise DeFilippo’s Spirits

As CT Post reporter Brian Lockhart notes, persistence has paid off for City Councilman Michael DeFilippo’s quest for a booze zoning change.

He had to win three–Democratic primaries between last September and this April before finally being elected to help represent the North End on the City Council.

And two-and-a-half years after a Superior Court Judge shuttered Vitro’s, DeFilippo’s package store, DeFilippo on Monday won a lengthy battle to change Bridgeport’s booze laws, paving the way for his business to reopen.

Specifically, the zoning commission voted to revise the rules for opening a new liquor store, including putting in place more detailed criteria for applicants to meet. But commission members also halved the required 1,500 foot distance from schools, day care facilities, hospitals and houses of worship to 750 feet–the specific change DeFilippo spent months and months pursuing.

“My client is absolutely ecstatic,” DeFilippo’s attorney, Charles Willinger, said Tuesday. “And we intend to immediately apply for a certificate of approval of location in order to reopen his package store.”

Full story here.



  1. Another commission owned by Ganim and Testo. It is no surprise that these whores voted in favor of changing distances from schools churches etc to accommodate this new liquor store. This liquor store is the brain child of Mario Testa and not Defillippo.
    Most if not all of the commissioners terms have expired and they are serving at the pleasure of the mayor. BTW where is the person responsible for filling the boards and commissions? This person is another bought and paid for political whore named Angel Depara.
    The one person who should hang her head in shame is Lynn Haig. Shame on the whole bunch of them

  2. A great article 2 1/2 years in the making which points to total corruption of all parties involved in pushing this through. This was passed even though everyone knew it was being done for only 1 person. They used OPED to give it a last shot at attempting to circumvent the system in place which protected people,businesses and neighborhoods. They failed at all other previous attempts. Most people don’t understand that the only areas where more stores would be allowed would be in poorer, densely populated areas of the city where there is enough access to liquor and where more stores are not necessary. He will now attempt to open his location bringing traffic to an already pedestrian unsafe area, attracting some people who could be a detriment to that RESIDENTIAL area, and effect a lowering of the RESIDENTIAL property values in that immediate area. They went against ALL the concerns from the School Board, the NRZ, the Church groups, many Council persons who spoke against it, and a boatload of extremely well qualified people who testified at the many “kangaroo” sessions of the Zoning Board. The way to stem their new rules and regulations and protect the neighborhood in question and future neighborhoods that could be jeopardized by this CORRUPT decision is RELATIVELY SIMPLE. All that needs to be done is for members of the affected area to sign a simple petition listing the reasons that they DO NOT WANT a new liquor store in their neighborhood. That petition should then be brought in front of the zoning board and they would have no choice but to deny the applicant a license BASED ON THEIR OWN NEW LANGUAGE contained in the “NEW” rules that govern liquor permits. That petition would also have to be sent to the State Liquor Control Board before they meet to review the new liquor permit application. Contained in that package to the State should also be an addendum explaining the history of that location and how he got around the permit process the first time, how the Superior court shut him down, and all the attempts for 2 1/2 years trying to work the corrupt Bridgeport System into getting what he wanted. The article in today’s paper explains most of it already. I have ALL the other articles, testimonies, petitions, white paper studies, letters against it which were presented at all the Zoning Board hearings, etc. if anyone needs them.
    I have retired and do not live in Bridgeport any longer. I feel sorry for those left behind but I would come back for events that would help the residents and business people in Bridgeport fight this battle to the end. It doesn’t have to be over because of Monday night’s Zoning Board hearing. All it would take is what I have listed above. If anyone wants my assistance they know how I can be contacted. It is truly up to the citizens, and their ELECTED council people now…………..

  3. No different than the zone change that allowed Stop and Shop on Dewhirst property that has now been vacant for who know how many years – becoming a derelict property – so just wait for business to be so slow that it closes – the big chains are swallowing the Mom and Pop’s anyway

  4. *** Wine & Spirits type stores need a “just right” area to make money & stay in business. If the neighborhood doesn’t support the business, in time they will go out of business or move. Its up to the neighborhood now to make the business sink or swim, no? ***

      1. Free market, fair trade, and competition I have no problem with.
        It’s when scummy people bend the rules for themselves with no
        Regard for others or the rules that the majority follow. Grin you know
        How corruptive this whole process has been and competition, free market and fair trade have nothing to do with it. Remember- if it doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t make cents. !

          1. Thanks Tom I am enjoying it! Every day is like a Saturday or Sunday!! It will also afford me the time to go visit you guys at the deli etc and to go around and collect signatures. Now I will look at this as a hobby and not business. Cheers!

  5. So Grin believes there should be no zoning rules and regulations; period. That’s a free market.
    Let’s do it. At least it would put Willinger and Testa out of business.

  6. Oh great. In keeping with Bridgeport’s reputation for decadence it will now be possible to purchase alcoholic beverages and lottery tickets a short walk from church or school.

  7. Not that I against anyone who wants to open a business but the city can do without another liquor store.

    How about a hobby shop or a place to take music lessons or any business that will not degrade the neighborhood.

    Does anyone know what is the plan for the old Stop & Shop?

    It is owned by a partnership in Carlisle, PA

  8. Not a Horacio Alger story. Going from humble beginnings to a success story through hard work- NOT-however the dude did work hard-he got this through a corrupt system-and how it was exposed by the Court! I know he worked hard in cultivating friendships in high places
    But, WoW! This is what our Office of Planning and Economic Development thinks they should give a priority to?
    It is disingenuous to portray this as an Horacio Alger story

    This is what gives Beeport a bad rep- anethema to being a place where true Horacio Algers develop


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