Full Disclosure

The three major development projects, Corbin, Palmers and Golden will determine the shape of Darien for the next 50 years. Therefore, the government of Darien should treat each of these projects as a project of the town of Darien and require full disclosure. Let me give you some examples of what I mean by full disclosure.

All investors in these projects should be disclosed including their financial statements. The financing of these projects should be disclosed in great detail in order to make clear the degree of leverage being planned. Essentially, disclosure should be sufficient to allow for an implicit credit rating to be applied. Darien has a triple A credit rating. We should expect the same from these developers and their projects.

Darien should have a very clear idea of any debt which is guaranteed and how credit worthy is the guarantor. Conversely, is there debt which takes precedence over the debt of the project in a developer’s liability payment schedule? The world is awash in debt and Darien needs to protect itself against overly aggressive leveraging.

The next area of disclosure should be the operating assumptions, for example the occupancy rate assumed for apartments versus the occupancy rate needed for cash flow break even. Essentially, the developers’ financial model should be disclosed. This would allow the developers’ model to be stressed tested. Darien cannot afford to have financially troubled developments of this magnitude blighting our town.

These are just examples of the type of information needed to properly analyze these developments.

Walter Casey

Just the Facts

Darien has three major development projects to consider. These are Corbin, Palmers and Golden. These projects will change the face of Darien for 50 years. One can also imagine these three developments encouraging others, for example at Goodwives. Therefore, Darien should consider these projects as if they are projects of the Town of Darien and not projects of private developments.

The Town should hire qualified, truly independent consultants to assess the need for the scale of these three developments in Darien. The danger is that we will use the analysis of some half assed committee of volunteers who have no knowledge in this area or are already biased or both.

These consultants should assess the current state of the retail industry in Darien and nearby communities. What are occupancy rates? Are some retail outlets and restaurants being subsidized? If so, why? These and other related questions should be studied objectively to assess the scale of these projects. We need facts on which to make decisions.

Walter Casey

Darien Psycho

A recent article in the Stamford Advocate disclosed that Darien’s new Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Daniel Brenner, would be allowed to continue his psychotherapy practice while presiding over the Darien school system. This opens up incredible possibilities.

First, let’s have full disclosure. Against my advice, I met with Dr. Brenner for over an hour at his request. I told him such a meeting might be a crazy thing to do but he went ahead. He said he wasn’t afraid to hear from all sides. That was refreshing. I sat at a desk in his office. I was never on a couch. He did not ask for a co-pay. I thought it was a great meeting.

In terms of the BOE, Dr. Brenner should have a chance to snag Chairman Betsy Hagerty-Ross as a patient. Explaining the stages of grief inflicted on others to Ross given her reign in office might be very helpful for the hopefully soon to be former BOE Chairman. Then there are the issues of subconscious deliberate amnesia at Shipman and Goodwin. There might be an opportunity for the lawyers to invoke a combination attorney client and doctor patient privilege so everything will be as non-transparent as it always has been.

There needs to be some attempt to understand the $500,000 concession stand people. We need to study them. We need to try and understand how they became so obsessive compulsive about something so unimportant. Dr. Brenner could conduct group and individual seances to help them deal with their weird priorities, DNA samples could be taken to find a genetic source for their triviality. Remember, ET was found to have DNA.

The Darien Town Hall, a veritable governmental Bates Motel, offers the most opportunity for patient acquisition. I think the next budget should include a hologram of the Janet Leigh shower scene with poor Janet as a symbol for the residents of Darien.

Let us take the case of the captains of industry on the BOF. I don’t really know what passive aggressive means but these wild and crazy guys might be examples. Dr. Brenner could help them understand their facade of protecting the resources of the community while cheating the most vulnerable members of the community, the special education children.

Then there are the Master Builder Darien developers and their phallic steeples that could be explained by an edifice complex. Would a skilled psychotherapist be able to bring these Master Builders back to earth without a fall?

Then there is the BOS. First, there is a real need for a professional to determine if some of the members of the BOS can fog a glass. Of course, the ultimate potential patient is Darien First Selectman Jayme, “Gone Girl,” Stevenson. I have said that I call Stevenson “Gone Girl” because, in my opinion, she is killing Darien and getting away with it. However, there are some who think I mean she is a head case. I have not discouraged this line of thinking.

Then there is the communal death wish evidenced by one of the richest zip codes in the country being proud of a third world EMS system.

My overall point is that our new superintendent has entered an asylum of sorts where the inmates roam freely. He will need all of his powers of psychoanalysis. I am not hoping for a Lourdes like cure. If we can just get some sanity. That would be a real victory.

Walter Casey

Darien Dumb

There is Dumb. There is Dumber. There is Dumbest. Then, there is Darien Dumb.

In honor of Darien’s idiotic EMS non-system, I will, from time to time, provide other examples of Darien Dumb. However, these other examples did not result in the deadly possibilities that Darien’s inadequate and unresponsive EMS system provides.

I think it was ten years ago that Darien’s illustrious Republican Party selected a candidate for First Selectman who was a resident of Florida and did not have a Connecticut driver’s license. There was also a rumor that she didn’t know how many firehouses Darien had but I cannot confirm this. Incredibly, she did not show up for the Channel 12 debate. She was probably at the CT DMV. Thus, Tom Appleby moderated a debate between the Democratic candidate and an empty chair. Needless to say, the non-Connecticut resident lost badly in her race for First Selectman of Darien, Connecticut.

I hope this example will help you to understand my sometimes cynical view of Darien affairs.

Walter Casey

Overlaid

My layman’s understanding of an overlay zone is that when the existing zoning regulations do not satisfy what an applicant and P&Z want, they concoct an overlay or addition to the existing regulations. What then happens if you keep overlaying the overlay zone until it becomes overlaid?

Is it possible that the underlying regulations lose all meaning? The record will show a debate necessarily took place about what the overlay(s) should and should not include. Will the prior debates be interpreted as ambiguity as to what the prior overlays were meant to include and be used to justify more overlays? If so, there would be no end to overlays.

It would also seem that the overlay process could be used to justify the plans of less Darien friendly developers. If overlays are good for Darien friendly developers, then why shouldn’t they help developers unfriendly to Darien?

Walter Casey

BOE Presentation

The following is a brief statement I read to the BOE on Tuesday 9/8/15.

To: Board of Education
From: Walter J. Casey
Subject: Making Darien Safe for Its Children

I believe Darien should have Paramedics based in Darien in order to drastically cut response times of the much more highly trained Paramedics who now must come from Stamford or elsewhere.

Paramedics will not just make Darien safer for the middle aged and elderly. Paramedics receive 10x or more hours of training than do the EMTs that staff Post 53. This extensive training allows much more time for Paramedics to focus on pediatric medical emergencies and their treatments.

I ask that the Board of Education demand that First Selectman Jayme Stevenson stop blocking Paramedics from being based in Darien and allow them to be integrated into Post 53.

Walter Casey

If they can build it there,

If they can build it there, they can build it anywhere.

The three major development projects, Corbin, Palmers and Golden, are new and glitzy. These projects will provide apartments, shopping and restaurants and all things new. What the Corbin and Palmers projects (The Golden project has not yet been presented to P&Z) also do is break zoning regulations. Darien residents should realize that if breaking zoning regulations is condoned in one section of Darien, zoning regulations can be broken in their section of Darien. Town government will essentially become the equivalent of a predator 8-30g developer.

If they can build it there, they can build it anywhere.

Walter Casey

Destroy Darien to Save Darien

Another argument being offered by supporters of the Corbin project is that, if local Corbin developers aren’t allowed to trash Darien zoning regulations, then the state will come in and use eminent domain and take over downtown Darien. Therefore, we must allow local developers to destroy downtown Darien in order to prevent the state from destroying it. For the state to take over a town using eminent domain would be unprecedented and not at all likely. These developers are desperate. Their desperation indicates how over the top the Corbin project is.

Walter Casey