Finally, Stamford residents had the opportunity to voice their concerns and opinions on South End development at a public hearing on Monday evening, and they did so with vigor.
T auditorium was filled to capacity, with the participants evenly split between those for BLT's newest developments at South End, which include a hotel and a ballroom. The and Save the Boatyard were among groups against BLT's application, while South End supporters simply identified themselves as one group.
"You heard it in its totality, because they concluded it on ," DSSD representative and local attorney Michael Cacace told the zoning board, in reference to BLT's presentation. According to Cacace, a week after Jan. 9's public hearing, BLT removed their pending application and resubmitted it with modifications.
Based on the new application, the zoning board voted on whether or not to continue the public hearing, thus saving BLT's bid to develop land at the South End of Stamford. The vote was favorable, but not unanimous.
"You can't shuffle around applications. It's like going to New York and watching someone scam people on the street with a game of three-card," Cacace said.
Not everyone held a degree of mistrust for BLT, however.
"Everybody needs to be included, and everybody needs a chance to make it work. Now the other thing is, we trying to look at this as a thing that people can just manipulate or chess-board while there's people out there not working," one South End resident said. "We asked for a grocery store, we got it. We asked for a bank, we got it. Everyone knows that for your property value, you gotta have certain things, and these people gave us what we wanted. We're not turning a blind eye to what they're doing; we talk to them all the time about what's happening. The thing is, this hotel is something we need...we need to survive down there, and we need all the jobs that we can get."
"A city this size can only maintain one downtown," one anti-development resident stated.
"Since the application is to approve final site plans for Harbor Point, and since the proposal still does not address a consensual plan for retention and improvement of the boatyard, we suggest that the application be denied, pending a presentation to the zoning board of such plans, and until a final resolution of the boatyard is resolved," Save the Boatyard's Maureen Boylan said. "How can you allow the modification to be approved when they can't even be trusted on a previous zoning law agreement?"
Nearly twenty Stamford residents and group representatives spoke at Monday's public hearing, which has recessed, and will continue on March 5.