Illegal Apartments and Traffic Concerns

Peter and I have walked around much of the district and one particular issue that overwhelmingly effects the Cove is the case of illegal apartments. The issue with these apartments is they are not up to safety standards and add congestion on many of the streets in the area, because there is little no parking for the added residents.

I do not begrudge anyone who has taken the opportunity to get affordable housing in the city, but the issue of safety is a huge concern. These buildings usually only have one point of egress, and pay less in property taxes due to them being zoned as single family homes.

The issue of zoning in this city is a recurring theme, with only one current zoning inspector we can not keep up with the growing population and development of the city. As of right now the city considers a minimum income of over $60,000 as the benchmark for what is considered affordable housing. This leaves a huge chunk of working class citizens unable to get safe, affordable housing.

Stamford is not the first city to face a housing crisis related to illegal apartments and lack of affordable housing. Many cities in Long Island have dealt with similar problems in a variety of ways, whether it be providing zoning amnesty to apartments as long as they show good faith in bringing their buildings up to code or encouraging development of buildings that are affordable for the bulk of residents.

The Issues

We are pleased to launch our campaign website for Board of Representatives, District 1, in Stamford. We entered this race to answer the call of our times for all of us to get more involved in the decisions which impact our lives and the lives of our families. We stand with the “Reform Stamford” movement and its desire for positive change and for expanding participation in and the transparency of our local government. We support Mayor David Martin because, among the candidates running for Mayor, we believe he has the best chance to bring about the kind of positive change needed — which does not just look to preserve what is best of the past, but does so with a vision toward the future

Over the course of successive administrations, we have seen property taxes steadily rise. The residents of Shippan are now paying tens of thousands of dollars in property taxes. In the same period, we have seen the size of our City government balloon. We now have dozens of department heads alone and over a thousand City employees making more than $100,000 per year. The benefits of this rapid and exponential growth in the size of our government are not readily apparent, and yet the burden on the taxpayers grows heavier each year.

We need to level the playing field, so that each of us has an equal say. The developer BLT asserts that, in 2011, it had to tear down the Boatyard, with its 300 year history, because, in its view, the site was dangerously polluted. However, what entitles a developer to engage in self-help, without following proper legal procedures and without giving the public a chance to weigh in before it is too late?

In the Cove, we see the effects of overcrowding: in our schools, in the number of cars on our streets and in illegal apartments which appear to have cropped up everywhere in our City. As we recently learned in the fire that started in an illegal apartment behind Stamford Hospital, illegal apartments can result in nearly fatal consequences. Yet, our City’s zoning enforcement department is terribly under-staffed, with only two inspectors for the entire City. But inspections alone are not the answer. Without enough affordable housing, where are people supposed to live?

For many years now, the calls of Cove residents in our District for traffic control measures to address the rampant speeding on our streets have been ignored. Cars race to cut corners to and from Cummings Park and cars and motorcycles use our streets for drag-racing, imperiling not only other motorists, but pedestrians and school children walking to school or to the bus stop. While we have waited patiently, all we have seen so far are traffic studies.

We agree with the Reform Stamford movement that our political establishment needs a wake-up call and to not only listen to, but to act upon, the concerns of our neighborhood communities, like the Cove and Shippan. We also believe that we need to stop the excessive partisanship and work together to be forces for positive change. Stamford is a community filled with passionate, engaged people who love our City and want to see it thrive. We support the efforts of Reform Stamford and all good citizens to make Stamford everything we know it can be.

Announcing our Campaign

Hello, my name is Daniel Campana and my running mate is Peter Stroili, we are running for Board of Representatives for Stamford’s First District. Right now the two of us have been walking around our neighborhoods to meet as many of you as we can before the election on November 7. We have been hearing from you what the most important issues in our local neighborhoods are. I hope to see as many of you as possible before the election, and I hope that we will be able to serve you well on the Board of Representatives