AP NEWS

Moorefield developers withdraw zoning application, two commissioners step aside

February 21, 2019

TRUMBULL — The developers seeking to build a housing development on the site of the former Moorefield Herb Farm have withdrawn their application from the Planning & Zoning Commission. When the group reapplies, the commission will look somewhat different than it does now.

P&Z Chairman Fred Garrity, a Democrat, who faced a storm of criticism from Republican Party leaders and a group of residents who live near the proposed Huntington Turnpike. development, announced this week that he would recuse himself in order to avoid giving the appearance of a possible conflict of interest should the commission’s decision be appealed. Commissioner Larry LaConte Sr., a Republican, also has recused himself due to a conflict of his own.

“In the world of planning and zoning there are two scenarios - one is an actual conflict of interest, which I do not have, the other is a possibility of a conflict where people can challenge a decision because of a possibility of a conflict,” Garrity said. “Because the possibility of a relationship has been raised, there is no reason to give anybody a reason to challenge a decision. The intergrity of the process is more important.”

Critics had questioned Garrity’s relationship with Matthew Reale, a partner in the development group. Garrity and Reale had formed an LLC for the purpose of conducting a charity event five years ago, he said. The event never happened and the LLC dissolved, Garrity said.

Garrity, in a written statement, described the criticism of his chairmanship as politically motivated (see commentary on page 5).

“In the town of Trumbull over the past year and a half, we’ve experienced a comfortable change to calm and effective government,” he said. “There’s been prosperous development in a controlled fashion. But in an election year all they can do is say positive is negative and forward is backward, and that’s not the case. They’re going to use development as a negative and it’s not.”