Board of Representatives approves Zoning Board nominations

STAMFORD — The Board of Representatives approved Mayor Michael Pavia’s controversial Zoning Board nominees Monday night, settling weeks of speculation over the two critical seats.

The 40-member board voted in favor of Republican candidate Rosanne McManus, who failed to secure the Appointment Committee’s support last week. On Monday city Rep. Frank Cerasoli, R-15, voiced his opposition to her candidacy.

“My biggest concern is the lack of experience and lack of involvement of this individual in zoning,” Cerasoli said. “We’ve run the risk of gutting experience and knowledge from this very important board. I don’t think this approach serves the city well so I’ll be opposing this.”

City Rep. Harry Day, R-13, said McManus knows the community well even if she doesn’t have zoning or land use expertise.

“Over decades of public service and living in the city of Stamford and serving on the Board of Education — she knows every neighborhood,” Day said. “I don’t know if there’s any more important qualification than knowing every neighborhood street by street.”

The board voted to approve McManus with 28 representatives voting in favor, four against and seven abstaining. McManus will replace longtime Zoning Board member Audrey Cosentini, whom Pavia did not reappoint.

Pavia’s other Zoning Board nomination — which he withdrew this weekend before nullifying his withdrawal Monday — also gained Board of Representatives approval Monday night. City representatives approved Republican Barry Michelson’s candidacy in a 25-6-8 vote.

The Board of Representatives also unanimously voted to approve the nomination of Democrat Joanna Gwozdziowski to the Zoning Board as an alternate member, with only city Rep. Pat White, D-1, abstaining.

White did not participate in any of the  Zoning Board nomination votes Monday night.

“The candidates for the Zoning Board may well be qualified,” he said. “I disagree with the handling of the whole process of these nominees by the executive branch of government.”

Look for full coverage on the Zoning Board appointments in Wednesday’s Advocate.