Amazingly, on 9/26/11, the Stamford Zoning Board allowed Nagi Osta to present his current proposal to build 22 apartments and a day-care center on the very same property for which they had previously rejected his similar proposal to build “only” 10 apartments and the day-care center.
To add to the confusion, the Zoning Board also decided to hear Nagi’s latest proposal in spite of the fact that he is SUING the Board for denying his previous proposal! Yes--on 2/7/11, Nagi (under “Procurement LLC”) filed a suit in Superior Court against the Zoning Board to appeal their decision:
FST-CV11-6008292-S PROCUREMENT, LLC v. CITY OF STAMFORD ZON
Click this link for the case details: CV-11-6008292-S
Now, you might think that, when Nagi's "Procurement LLC" sues a municipal board, any out-of-court activity regarding the issue in dispute would cease until the case is decided in court. (Yeah, that’s what I would have thought, too.) But, in this case, Nagi was apparently “given a pass” to try again with the Board.
Add to this the fact that Nagi has repeatedly promised to “donate” $100,000 for a traffic light on High Ridge Road at Bradley Place, and you have the classic “carrot-and-stick” routine, which Nagi is employing to get what he wants.
Here are relevant excerpts from the Zoning Board’s draft minutes of its 9/26/11 public hearing:
- Mr. Mills opened the public hearing on application 211-23 and 211-24. Mrs. Cosentini asked if these applications should be considered different applications from what the Board had already heard and denied on the subject property. Mr. Mills replied yes these are new applications.
- Mr. Leydon started by explaining this application is a response to the previous denial and that the Applicant tried to address the concerns which lead to the denial.
- Mr. Leydon next commented that if the current application was approved with reasonable conditions, the first appeal would be rendered moot. However, if application is approved and gets appealed they are not sure what will happen so they want to have what existed before part of the current file.
- Mr. Michelson said he wasn’t sure if it was common practice for the Board to accept another application on something being appealed and questioned if State Statues even permitted the Board from accepting and holding a hearing on an application when there was litigation relating to a previous application for the same property. Mr. Dumais commented that there is nothing in the Charter that precludes the Board from hearing this application and said that Mr. Cole could speak to the past practice question.
- Mr. Mills noted Mr. Michelson’s questions and asked Staff to get an opinion from Corporation Counsel.
- Mr. Leydon said they had mediation with the judge and the City on the previous application and articulated their intentions and was told to go forward with this application. Mr. Leydon commented on the $100K contribution for the traffic light and discussed traffic improvements on High Ridge Road. He noted that Mr. Poola’s favorable comments are not dependent on a traffic light and that the Applicant can’t control the installation of a light but would like to see one.
- Mr. Michelson asked about the $100K submitted for the traffic light and where it was going to be applied. Mr. Leydon answered Mr. Poola told them they can’t guarantee the City will fund a light as part of the capital budget but that the money for light was on the table before and it’s on the table now.
- Mr. Parson expressed concern over the $100K that the longer it stays on the table it could morph into whatever.
(You said it, Mr. Parson: ”whatever”...)
Maybe we should file a Freedom-of-Information-Act request for Corporation Counsel Michael Larobina’s written legal opinion on Thomas Mills’ decision to hear Nagi’s current proposal, despite Nagi’s pending lawsuit against the Board (if, indeed, such an opinion exists). I would like to see the legal reasoning behind this decision, other than the obvious one:
“Hey, we’ve GOT to hear this guy’s new proposal...he’s holding a GUN to our heads!”
So, basically, Nagi is tying up the City of Stamford (i.e., its taxpayers...that would be us) in court, forcing us to spend perhaps hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars for city attorneys' legal salaries and fees for third-party firms, while Nagi submits one slightly different proposal after another in the hope that the City will eventually “see the light” and give him the housing project that he so desperately needs. THIS is what Nagi apparently calls “being a good neighbor.”
BACKGROUND ON NAGI’S PREVIOUS PROPOSAL:
To become even more educated, check out the archived articles on the Advocate’s website, below. (Before someone apparently “turned up the heat” on her, Elizabeth Kim covered Nagi’s proposals, and the Zoning Board’s rejection of them, in some detail, at least for the Advocate.)
Stamford businessman makes second attempt to develop nearby High Ridge property (Advocate, 5/26/10)
High Ridge businessman's development plan faces last hurdles (Advocate, 12/8/10)
Board rejects plan for housing and day care on High Ridge (Advocate, 1/12/11)