The Planning & Zoning Commission on Tuesday unanimously elected Dan Radman as chair, succeeding John Goodwin in the highly visible volunteer role.
An architect by profession who has served as an insightful and articulate commissioner, Radman was appointed to P&Z in December 2011 by First Selectman Rob Mallozzi and Selectmen Beth Jones and Nick Williams. The same Board of Selectmen appointed Radman as a regular member of P&Z in April 2014, replacing Roger Rothballer.
Those voting in favor of his election during an organizational meeting overseen by First Selectman Kevin Moynihan included outgoing Chair John Goodwin, Secretary Krista Neilson and commissioners Kent Turner, Dick Ward, John Kriz, Claire Tiscornia, Arthur Casavant and John Engel.
Neilson also was unanimously elected secretary during the meeting, held at Town Hall and via videoconference.
Moynihan thanked P&Z, calling the appointed body “our hardest-working commission.”
To Goodwin he said, “On a personal basis, it’s been great working with you as chairman and I really appreciate all your service.”
Goodwin had mentioned his intention to step down from the role of chair in very brief remarks last month.
During Tuesday’s meeting, he spoke at greater length, as follows:
“Unlike land use lawyers, I will be brief and non-repetitive. I had to get back at all my friends in the land use community. I believe that all of us should give back to our communities and our country. When I moved to New Canaan in 1986, I knew I wanted to serve this wonderful town. In 2005, I joined Planning & Zoning. I have also had the privilege to chair the Market Demand Study and sit on the Town Hall Building Committee. Six years ago, I became chair of Planning & Zoning and it’s been a wonderful and incredible run. But as I noted a few weeks ago, it was time. The workload is demanding—get ready, Dan—and I would like to refocus on where and how I can continue to give back to our community. As I also said, this is not a bad time to transition as we are largely through a very difficult year of contentious applications and we will soon initiate the 2024 POCD [Plan of Conservation and Development]. So I think it is a great time and opportunity for a change in leadership. The Commission has made great strides over the years. We have handled many difficult, complex and often no-win situations. Were there situations I wish I had handled somewhat differently? Yes, of course. But the community has to understand that our hands are legally often tied. Litigation constantly looms, and that is expensive to all of us New Canaan taxpayers. All should also understand that development is not a bad thing—otherwise communities die. Preservation is equally critical, but just like development, in a reasonable manner. I want to thank all of those in town government, Town Hall and the overall community for all of their support. In particular, I want to thank Planner Avni for coming to New Canaan and bringing stability and enthusiasm to her position. The two first selectmen I worked with, while we did not always see eye-to-eye—sometimes they were very upset at me, and sometimes I was very upset at them—but I believe they were and are seeking to do the best for New Canaan, just like myself. I do strongly recommend that the pre-review with the Planning & Zoning chair potential new candidates be resumed. It’s a best practice that historically has worked very well. I want to thank the New Canaanite for their fair and balanced coverage over the years. I want to thank my friend Steve Karl for being my go-to guy on advice on town political issues. I want to thank all the diligent land use professionals that prize their integrity in doing what’s right for their clients. You stood out versus others who seemed often more motivated to just take a check. And I want to thank all those in our community who, from time to time, just gave a genuine ‘Thank you for your service.’ It was a bigger personal boost than you know. To the commissioners, you’re a class act. You bring passion, hard work and intelligence to the endeavor. Over 17 years, we have almost always debated at a high level and with good humor. Keep it up. And as I said before, if you treat Chair Radman like you did me, all will be fine.”