The Milford Mirror asked Planning & Zoning Board candidates to respond to two questions. Following are their answers. The candidates are listed in the order they will appear on the November ballot.
1st District
Jason Zammiello, Democrat

What are your qualifications for this position?

I am an experienced facilities and operations manager, earned an MBA degree from Fairfield University, and spent my career in the sports and non-profit industries prior to becoming an entrepreneur. As a homeowner and father of two children in the Milford schools, I am deeply concerned about the negative impact over-development is having on our neighborhoods. I am eager to utilize my experience and qualifications to protect all of our vested interests though the Planning & Zoning board.

What do you hope to accomplish?

Development and over-development is a result of the decisions made by the Planning and Zoning board and like many Milford residents, I am not pleased with the recent results. Far too little, if anything, has been done to protect our collective interests. My wife and I chose to raise our family in Milford for many reasons including the schools, beaches, downtown, the separation between commercial and residential, and its central location. The appeal of Milford also attracts development vultures that will manipulate state laws and steamroll the authority of local governments. It hurts the integrity of our neighborhoods and lowers property values.  Development is a key to economic growth and opportunity, but not like this. I am running against the incumbent Republican on the Planning & Zoning board because I want to stop over-development, protect our neighborhoods, and preserve property values. I will be proactive, not reactive in this fight. I hope to have your vote on November 3rd.

Thomas Panzella. Republican

What are your qualifications for this position?

Graduate - City University of New York /Civil Engineering; Retired Project Manager/Structural Engineer of a large engineering Firm, Local business owner in New Haven, CT. Organizations / Affiliations: Memberships — Current Member Milford Planning and Zoning, Member Milford Republican Town Committee, Member Milford Columbus Committee, Member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers

What do you hope to accomplish?

I would like to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the community by enhancing and protecting Milford’s quality of life with responsible growth and development, while preserving Milford’s unique character and natural environments, without State intervention.
2nd District
Sarah S. Ferrante, Democrat

What are your qualifications for this position?

As a current member of the Zoning Board of Appeals I have gained a thorough understanding of the city's zoning regulations, its strengths and its flaws. Through our public hearings, I have also learned what the people of Milford want for their city. I have a passion for our city's history and charm, and I have the desire to make it the community our residents want. I have spent much time understanding and evaluating the Milford Zoning Regulations, and I will be ready to hit the ground running if elected to the Planning & Zoning Board.

What do you hope to accomplish?

As a long-time resident of Milford, I have come to love and appreciate the city's character and sense of community. It is these qualities that make Milford the small city with a big heart. As a member of the Planning & Zoning Board I plan to honor the best of Milford and its history while working for its future. I seek a term that will balance the preservation of our city's communities, natural environments and coastline with development and progress.

Scott Marlow, Republican

What are your qualifications for this position?

My qualifications for the planning and zoning board would be my over 35 years experience in the construction industry. I work for a construction management company based in Stamford as a project manager, running large commercial projects. I understand plans, documents, and specifications for projects as well as Planning and Zoning regulations. I have much experience with the different town and city agencies, working with them on a regular basis. I will bring a practical and common sense approach to the board.

What do you hope to accomplish?

I want to see Milford able to maintain its small town charm while understanding the need for controlled development. I want to work with businesses that desire to move into Milford, expanding our tax base, but not compromise the local planning and zoning regulations that are there for good reason. I would look at ways to streamline the process, making it easier for businesses to locate and grow in Milford. I know that 8-30G (affordable housing) is mandated at the state level and it basically allows projects to skirt local P&Z regulations. I do not think this was the intent of the law, but it is being taken advantage of. I would want to work with the administration and our local legislators to find ways to make the process one that is fairer to Milford and allows us to keep the character of our neighborhoods. People bring their families to Milford for all that it offers. I will serve with the goals to keep Milford a place where businesses and residents want to stay and others want to move into.
3rd District
Joan Rousseau, Democrat

What are your qualifications for this position?

Government is best served by citizen involvement. My qualification is a love of our city and a willingness to dedicate myself to that purpose for the next four years. I am a long time Milford resident, happily married to my husband of 41 years, Eric. I work as a supervisor for The Bridgeport City Employees Federal Credit Union. I am an active member of VFW Post 7788 and have served as President and Treasurer of the Ladies Auxiliary. My husband and I have two daughters, Jonel and Erica and we are proud grandparents. I studied Accounting at Housatonic Community College.

What do you hope to accomplish?

My goal is to bring a common sense, matter of fact perspective to the Board. I hope to provide a voice representing all my neighbors on issues that will impact our neighborhoods and communities. I plan to find that balance between allowing for Milford to move forward into the 21st century without losing its small New England Town charm. Decisions made by the Planning and Zoning Board impact our quality of life, our property values and more. My goal is to ensure all of those things are taken into consideration by the Board. I want to join forces with Mayor Blake and his team to push back the overreach of developers who are using a state law, 830G, to overrule our local zoning regulations. My biggest goal is to look back four years from now and know I made a difference on the Planning and Zoning Board. That's a promise I make to the voters and to myself.

Edward Mead, Republican

What are your qualifications for this position?

I believe my qualifications for being on the P&Z board are,that i have previously served on the Zoning Board of Appeals for six years and have been on the Planning and Zoning board for six years. I have served as Vice Chairman for two years. I have attended several workshops over the years that have covered all aspects of zoning and land management. Over the course of the time I've been on the board there have been major projects that have been done in the City.

What do you hope to accomplish?

What I hope to accomplish when I'm re-elected to the board is to continue helping in the redevelopment of existing properties. There are commercial properties that have been redeveloped into new uses — ShopRite store, Smiles Amusement turned into a new small strip mall. These types of projects will help clean up empty storefronts and help grow business and increase our tax base.

There are still homes that need to be re-built from the hurricanes. The projects we see come to the board are both new homes and ones rebuilt to higher standards.

Until the State legislature changes or modifies the 8-30G laws on affordable housing and allows the Planning and Zoning to apply our regulations to these projects, I think it's important to try and work with the developers and the people in the neighborhoods that are affected by these projects. The law has the board’s hands tied on this matter. But I do believe that the developers are willing to come to agreement to satisfy both sides.
4th District
Richard Lutz, Democrat

What are your qualifications for this position?

My background allows me to understand the needs of our residents and businesses.

I have been a Milford Resident for over 40 years, and my wife and I raised our 3 children here. I have had the opportunity to interact with many Milford people and get a good feeling for their concerns because of my involvement in youth activities, citywide organizations, and governmental boards and commissions.

I earned an MBA and doctoral degree in business. During my career I have been a business executive, taught business, and been a business consultant. I understand the needs of business.

Most importantly, I have the time and desire to volunteer my efforts to serve.

What do you hope to accomplish?

Land use requirements are always evolving. Milford is in the enviable position of having a large grand list to generate sufficient taxes to maintain city services. The grand list is comprised of many businesses and beautiful residential neighborhoods. It is a good place to live or to do business. To maintain this balance requires ongoing city planning for development to maintain a good quality of life, to protect private property rights, and encourage business.

I hope to protect Milford’s neighborhoods to ensure a safe and desirable environment. Each proposed project must be closely examined to ensure that the project complies with current regulations and that the project does not overburden City infrastructure.

I hope to continue to encourage business in Milford. Milford has devoted large geographic areas for retail and industrial use. We must continue to maintain a good environment for business.

I hope to maintain and enhance Milford’s charm and character. We need to protect our New England identity.

Patrick Tokarz, Republican

What are your qualifications for this position?

I served on the Flood and Erosion Board for the City of Milford. I am currently serving my second term as Lieutenant Governor in the New England/Bermuda District of Kiwanis and represent Milford and Milford Kiwanis Club proudly. I am also an Eagle Scout and have learned to always be prepared and help individuals. I want to help make the right decisions for our community and encourage open discussions. I am a believer in transparency and feel our government should be the same.

What do you hope to accomplish?

As a resident of Milford, I have a vested interest in our community just as each Milford resident does. Milford is a wonderful place to live and raise a family. I want to ensure that Milford continues to grow and strengthen as a community, while being fiscally sound and responsible to all Milford residents. We need to consider carefully how we expand and the implications of each decision, particularly around 8-30g projects. The 8-30g regulation seems to have created an overabundance of requests to build in Milford and bypass the standard requirements. We need to preserve space and build smartly.
5th District
Charles Montalbano, Democrat

What are your qualifications for this position?

I studied engineering in college. In addition, as a designer of home furnishings I have the ability to visualize a project, building or renovation from the blueprints. I understand space and distance and I believe this is important as so many projects seem to be a surprise when completed. No more surprises.

What do you hope to accomplish?

I want to participate in the healthy development of Milford. Our charming city must retain its character while providing opportunity for businesses to thrive and people of all incomes to enjoy. Sensible growth is attained through proper planning, working with developers and enforcing regulations. It has been my honor to serve the people of Milford in one capacity or another since 1983 and I would be proud to continue that service on the Planning and Zoning board.

John L. Grant, Republican and Independent Candidate

What are your qualifications for this position?

AAS in Architectural Technology; U. S. Navy Seabee Construction A & B Trade Schools; Current Board Member – Chairman of Regulations Committee; Strong working knowledge of Milford’s Zoning Regulations and Permitting Procedures with over 25 years of experience in preparing zoning, wetlands, CAM and ZBA documents; CT Registered Design Professional – Principle Owner of Milford based  JLG Designs, LLC; CT Licensed Building Official – City of Bridgeport; Served on Professional Advisement Committee for Zoning changes in Orange, CT; Completed Basic and Advance Land Use Academy Training

What do you hope to accomplish?

Continue to update and delete existing zoning regulations to insure that as the needs of our community change we can accommodate new taxpaying businesses, light commercial development and offer new types of neighborhoods, but still control density and sensible growth while maintaining our city’s ambiance.

Continue to be proactive in proposing new regulations that are defined, forward thinking, open to green techniques of land use, interchangeable, and contain controls for re-development and growth.

Coordinate existing and new regulations with current land use methods, State Building Codes, and State Statutes to prevent questionable, misstated and conflicting regulations.

Welcome and Listen to all input to make informed and thought out decisions to meet our city’s future and everyday land use needs.

Bring my insight, knowledge, practical experience, and passion for Milford to the board.