By Paul Barbian
At the Retired Men’s Association meeting on January 4th, Peter Berg introduced as the speakers of the day Margarita Alban, chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission, and Patrick LaRow, Greenwich town planner, who spoke on “Issues in Greenwich Land Use.”
The speakers began by reminding everyone that the Planning and Zoning Commission (“P&Z”, or the “Commission”) regulates the size and location of buildings, and the subdivision of land in Greenwich. The Commission’s work is guided by the principles in the Town’s Plan of Conservation and Development (“POCD”), which is based on a ten-year planning horizon.
Important changes have occurred since the last POCD in 2021. These include increased work at home, on-demand services, outdoor dining, new commuting patterns, and an influx of new residents leaving New York City to avoid Covid. As a result P&Z is currently revising zoning for accessory dwelling units (“ADU”s) in response to changing state requirements. New regulations may be published in the second half of 2023. Other items on the agenda include planning to “greenscape” Route 1 from Portchester to Stamford to make it more attractive with trees; addressing the “missing” segment of Greenwich real estate market—a segment that is priced so that couples with steady but modest income can potentially purchase a “starter home” in Greenwich; as well as forecasting the need for public schools. The latter is very difficult due to the large number of factors that influence parents in deciding where to educate their children.
A lively Q&A session followed the presentation in which many specific concerns were addressed. These may be seen by viewing the full presentation, which is available at, https://greenwichrma.org,
click on “Speakers.”
Patrick LaRow was named town planner of Greenwich effective January 1 of this year. He has been with the Planning and Zoning Department since 2007 and served as deputy director since 2017. Patrick has expertise in municipal and regional planning and land use policy. Patrick is a graduate of the University of Albany, SUNY, with a Masters in Regional Planning and the University of Buffalo with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Design/Architecture.
Margarita Alban is chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission of Greenwich. She has master’s degrees in both management and accounting. She spent her career at ExxonMobil in their U.S. and International Divisions with experience in finance, construction, sales and public affairs. Margarita joined the Planning and Zoning Commission in 2006 and became chair in 2018.
The RMA’s next presentation, “United States Coast Guard and its role in U.S. Homeland Security” will focus on the U.S. Coast Guard that is and does all of the following: the protection of U.S. borders, shores and ports, first responders to maritime disasters, search and rescue operations, and enforcer of laws against illegal drug smugglers, offshore environmental pollution and much more. Captain Michael Fredie, Director of Admissions, U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, will be the speaker and will focus on the multiple missions of the Coast Guard and its role in protecting our nation.
Unique among the armed forces in not being part of the Defense Department, the Coast Guard is a military branch within the Department of Homeland Security and part of the departments of treasury and transportation. Whereas the U.S. Navy operates throughout the globe, the Coast Guard mainly conducts its many missions within the U.S. and on its waterways.
Captain Fredie’s diverse assignments in his 26-year career give him an in-depth knowledge of the Coast Guard. A graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s class of 1996, as a newly commissioned ensign he served as the combat information officer aboard USCGC MELLON, based in Seattle, WA. Subsequent assignments included five counter narcotics deployments aboard U.S. Naval warships patrolling the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean, officer in charge of two high-speed intercept craft combating the go-fast drug smuggling threat on the high seas, and commanding officer of the USCG Tactical Law Enforcement Team South (TACLET South) based in Opa Locka, FL.
Captain Fredie has served as the Coast Guard Academy’s Director of Admissions since April of 2018. Since then, he has led the recruitment, selection and onboarding efforts for the Academy’s classes for the past five years.
This presentation will occur on Wednesday, January 18, at 11:00 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Greenwich as well as on webinar at: https://bit.ly/30lBj21.
Note: The views expressed in these RMA presentations are those of the speakers. They are not intended to represent the views of the RMA or its members.
RMA speaker presentations are presented as a community service at no cost to in-person or Zoom attendees, regardless of gender. The RMA does request that all eligible individuals consider becoming a member of our great organization, and thereby enjoy all the available fellowship, volunteer and community service opportunities that the RMA offers to its members. For further information, visit https://greenwichrma.org or contact Joe Mancinelli (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) or Peter Stern (mailto:email@example.com).