Bill Grad:TaxCollector/Real Estate Developer?

Gideon Fountain writes:

After a series of moderately testy  e-mails last night and this morning, Fudrucker and I have, um,  buried the hatchet, as they say.  Here is that “controversial”  post and, as always

Stanwich School (artist's rendering of building planned)

, I welcome comment from readers who disagree, or can perhaps shed more light on this issue…

My post:

I thought it was kind of “cheesy” when the North Greenwich Congregational Church allowed its beautiful old, 1827  building and steeple to be absolutely stuffed with cell-phone transmission equipment, but I’m even more revolted, or at least perplexed, that the  Greenwich Reform Synagoue’s President, Bill Grad, has decided to pull out of a what appeared to be a highly mutually beneficial agreement with The Stanwich School.

The most astounding part is Mr. Grad’s announcement that they’re  pursuing a plan to build condominiums on the 11-acre site!  That part of Stanwich Road is in Greenwich’s 2-acre zone.  The road itself is a narrow, 2-lane “country road”, and all property up there is septic and well. 

Obviously it is not zoned for condos, so Mr. Grad will presumably be involved in a future lawsuit with the Town of Greenwich Planning and Zoning Department? Oh, and he’s also running for the office of Tax Collector for the Town of Greenwich!

As you can imagine, there is absolutely nothing more tantalizing, more beckoning, more delicious to the Legislative and Judicial branches of Connecticut government than the prospect of breaking Greenwich zoning laws.  Finally, they’d be able to really show those “rich people”!  Oh sure, they love the (approximately) $1.3 BILLION that Greenwich sends annually to Hartford, but the actual citizens of Greenwich? Ehh..not so much.

So, thanks Mr. Grad!  And while you’re at it, why not a gas station? Or a
Dunkin’ Donuts!


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39 responses to “Bill Grad:TaxCollector/Real Estate Developer?

  1. Nathan Hale

    The is an addendum from my comment to FF’s redaction of this item.

    #4 – There is a really interesting issue here involving:
    a. real estate development rights of religious organizations – including condos, life-care centers, retreats, recreational facilities etc.
    b. rights of schools and other special exception permittees to modify use.

    You guys could run a half-decent blog if you would post comments in a timely manner and engage each-other with a little respect for yourselves and your “profession.”

  2. I totally don’t get what’s happening here – if FF feels this post has stepped the bounds of his arrangement with Chris, and FF went to the trouble to pull it, why on earth would you repost it? I’m not saying the topic isn’t interesting or even newsworthy but every blogger has his/her own guidelines and if this goes against the FWIW grain…….well, I’m miffed.

    • Gideon Fountain responds….
      “Earth Ocean Sky Redux”: Oh come on, EOSR! We surely can agree that Mr. Farricker and I should not be censoring each other, can’t we?

  3. Libertarian Advocate

    EOS: Those are instructions that CF should have left Gid with when he went off to Tahiti with Walt.

    In the absence of Gid’s knowing of the alleged bar on bringing sunlight upon the activities of any of Fudrucker’s cronies, why shouldn’t Gid repost it? Also, in any event, why should Fudrucker’s friends have special immunity from scrutiny on FWIW? Suppose one of them was Bernie Maddoff? Would Chris properly have been constrained to stifle his acerbic wit just because Bernie was a FOFF? No, I’m not comparing Bill Grad to Bernie Madoff nor am I suggesting that FF would skulk about with the likes of Bernie Madoff ( I am right about that aren’t I Frank?).

  4. pulled up in OG

    Curious – what’s the current tax bill for this 11-acre “religous” site?

  5. annonymous

    Word is that Bill Grad told his people that 90 condominums are planned on the site. Shame on Grad, GRS and their greed. The Stanwich School has a noble mission and they worked together with GRS and depended upon them to keep their part of the deal. I wouldn’t vote for Grad for dog catcher.

  6. anonymous

    I thought that one of the reasons that Chris left Raveis was that he felt like he had to censor himself on his own blog. Although it is his blog and he can do as he sees fit, it does seem odd when EBT listings are periodically touted but then he refuses to print any negatives on same. No subject should be brought up if honest discussion is not wanted. Shame on FF for censoring GF and I’m happy to see that GF re-posted.

  7. Whine Hater

    “Guidelines” are one thing – keeping hate speech from posting on the blog, for instance – but suppression of dialogue because it might shed light on issues that some would rather not discuss? That is censorship. “Arrangement” or not between Chris and Frank, it was apparently not brought to Gideon’s attention. I wasn’t aware that there had been any filters on the content of posts in the past, kinda makes me want to go back and read in-between the lines.

  8. Anonymous

    @EOS, I see nothing objectionable with Gideon’s post. It’s not even a watered down version of the kind of thing Chris has leveled about various G’wich deals and personages.

    1. If you missed it, several readers (not I) asked for Gideon’s thoughts on the GRS/SS issue, others reported it in comments and/or linked to news of the issue. It is timely and of interest especially to mid-country residents.

    2. That FF pulled the article before discussing it with Gideon smacks of an extremely thin skin and wildly inappropriate action especially if it was in response to some complaint lodged by FF’s personal friend. It was also ridiculous due to the fact that many readers of the blog get their updates by RSS feed and google had already indexed the page in question.

    3. It’s G’wich real estate news whether Frankie likes it or not.

    4, If FF and his pal are this thin skinned over minor criticisms perhaps they’re not really ready for politics, eh?

  9. Anonymous

    A question about your co-blogging status if you don’t mind? Do you release all comments when you log into the admin panel or only comments for articles you’ve written? I’ve noticed you seem to have a pretty tough hide and you’ve let some pretty rude comments through and in a timely fashion.

    I’ve also noticed that comments take forever to post on FF’s posts and, speaking only for myself, they have a tendency to “disappear” and I’m not one to be foul or even mildly abusive in my online activities. What I’m not though is a party line Democratic sheep (any longer) and I’m equally willing to question the left or right in hopes of getting an honest and uncanned response in return.

    Just curious…

  10. Horse jock

    Agreed, no censoring I thought the Dems were all about free speech and civil liberties and stuff anyway), but how about being more diligent about signing those generic “guest host” posts? There is always Bill Clark (although watch your tires…)

  11. Kimmy

    Partisan politics aside, do you really think they could develop condos/townhomes on Stanwich Rd? As a resident, if this happens I might as well just walk away from my mortgage, as real estate values will plummet and traffic on Stanwich (already a nightmare) will increase. What is your opinion on this matter – can it happen or is GRS just blowing smoke? Thanks.

    • Gideon Fountain responds….
      “Kimmy”: Ahhhh, Kimmy, the one who started this whole business! And yes, this “condos on Stanwich Road” thing is surely a bluff, and it troubles me that our (possible) next Tax Collector is a part of it. Seems weird, to say the least.

  12. I’m all for freedom of speech but in this one and only instance, I’m with FF on this. I can’t believe I just said that. I’m not for any censoring, but if Chris and Frank have guidelines of do’s and don’t’s, then why is it right for you to not respect that?

    • Gideon Fountain responds…
      “Earth Ocean Sky Redux”: Well, as Frank revealed, I was completely unaware of any “guideline” agreements between Chris and Frank. But regardless, Chris, in his “wisdom”, appointed Frank and I as equal Guardians of the Blog. As I said before, Frank shouldn’t censor me and I shouldn’t censor Frank. When Chris comes back, the “guidelines” can resume.

  13. dogwalker

    What can we do to help FF with his hypersensitivity. Can someone strum kum-by-ya on the guitar.

  14. citizen

    Concerning the issue at hand, can’t imagine condos doing well up on Stanwich, sounds bad from the start.
    However, If Grad knows how to mail a letter and deposit a check, Grad will be 1,000 times better than the current tax collector!
    Perhaps I should write in for my utility company….they know how to send me a bill and collect my money every single month!

  15. Stanwich

    This is completely within bounds. FF is being a fairy. All the points you make are valid. And as a long time resident of the area (no longer – I moved to 06878) I think all GRS is doing is trying to scare the neighbors. Does anyone really think they’ll get permission to build condos miles and miles away from any other dense housing. The Stanwich School is one whopper of a development — large, ugly and the worst part of all — under-funded. The town’s lack of development planning or rational p&z efforts certainly create messed up situations – allowing condos on this site would be one of the biggest blunders of all. Not sure why GRS has decided to pursue these threats as a way to extort money out of the Stanwich School. Sounds like Mr. Grad is using threats to make up for the lack of a good contract with the Stanwich School. I don’t think anyone who is involved with these scare tactics or entering into such a messed up agreement with the Stanwich School should be considered qualified to do anything for the town of Greenwich. Grad is digging his own hole and FF can’t make excuses for him. Bill Grad picked the fight, let him stand up for himself.

    CF would have posted on this topic. He may have written something more enlightening but this fair game.

  16. amom

    I wrote a comment last night and it was never posted….can you repost those that disappeared? thanks

  17. Anonymous

    @FF 5:58pm. Did you just violate that agreement with Gid by posting select comments to his post so that you could respond to them? I happen to know that there’s at least one comment posted earlier than these that hasn’t shown up yet. Interesting.

    Thanks for your response however my question was addressed to Gideon.

    FWIW, this is the most “abusive” comment I’ve ever sent to this blog but I have to admit to being a little ticked off at the moment.

  18. Anonymous

    Chris Fountain for Mayor!

  19. Libertarian Advocate

    FF: I can only guess your recent post at 6:00 PM was directed to me based on your reference to “Bernie.” But what other post of mine are you referencing? Would it be my earlier query to your last post about your comfort level with Obama’s serious conflict of interest in pushing the Solyndra loan that you seem to have left unanswered?

  20. Mr. 85 Broad St.

    What do you think the chances are of GRS including some kind of affordable component to their project so they can use the Section 8-30g exception to get around all of the Town’s pesky zoning limitations? When you have a lower historical basis in your land you can make that kind of trade-off. I would not be surprised to see that happen.

    • Gideon Fountain responds…
      “Mr. 85 Broad St.”: No doubt about it, if they really wanted to develop this backcountry site to it’s “fullest potential”, than yes, they would pull the “moderate income housing” card. But really, this is just crazy, isn’t it? Mr. Grad and the rest of his little committee don’t actually want to build a bunch of condos in the 2-acre zone, do they? I can’t help suspecting this is some sort of bluff, right? But to what end?

  21. Anonymous

    There is at least one missing anon comment between the two at 4:28 and 4:58. It was a numbered response to EOS that (I think) had 4 points, I’m too tired to think about those points tonight but if you can’t find it then I’ll just chalk another lost comment up to FF deleting it “by mistake”. 🙄

  22. Anonymous

    Ah, never mind, I see you’ve found it (the comments refreshed when I sent my last one). When I posted there were no comments between the two Anonymii. 🙂

  23. Pot meet kettle

    “Another day, another charge of impropriety is being made by Frank Farricker against Republican First Selectman Peter Tesei…
    “To me, it’s a shocking acknowledgement that he doesn’t see any boundaries between himself and governing,” Farricker said.””

    Delicious irony and I had the hardest time not quoting the guy who called FF the town bully. 😆

    Honestly, over the last month or so I’ve had this recurring thought about the blog, Chris, and Frank. I know Frank has taken some heat for Chris’ blog from both citizens and the GAR but (IMO) FF has done more damage to his reputation by his postings here in the short time Chris has been absent than Chris has caused in the entire history of this blog.

    One of you Fountains needs to get a broker’s license. Leatrice? I think it’s time you went to real estate school and consolidated your growing family RE empire! 😀

  24. Pot meet kettle

    “””To politicize the schools by bringing in the superintendent, it really is a scandal,” said Frank Farricker, chairman of the Democratic Town Committee.””

    Ah, but to politicize and censor an innocuous blog post is fair play, eh?

    Honest question, if FF hadn’t deleted Gideon’s fairly harmless original post (and the associated comments), how much attention would this issue have received? So far, his actions seem to have poked a hornet’s nest of ire. Nearly 70 comments already plus whatever is in the pipeline waiting for approval or deletion by the “co-bloggers”.

    I’m reminded of this quote which the Democrats (of which I’m a fairly disgusted one) should just go ahead and adopt as their formal platform: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

    I guess it’s also true for “co-bloggers”. 😦

  25. pulled up in OG

    @ 85 Broad and Gideon

    From the first GT article, 10/14:

    “Ken Greenberg, an immediate co-past president of the synagogue and current secretary on its executive committee, said the new proposal, which would build a mix of market rate and affordable housing condominiums, is in the best interests of the congregation.”

  26. pulled up in OG

    “In 2010, the [neighbors’] lawsuit was dropped and the state approved the wastewater facility, which would have served both the school and synagogue.

    With that agreement apparently in peril, [Stanwich board chairman] Drennen said the school may not need a wastewater facility, and could go with a traditional septic system because of reduced use.”

    Yeah, right. With 750 students planned, 100(?) staff, and visitors, etc, not likely. But feel free to tear up all the current approvals and maybe your new field and start from scratch.

  27. Dude

    FF thanks for taking the high road by identifying the issue and giving Gideon the opportunity for a “do-over”. Gideon, you could have at least edited your re-post that would permit the readers to have a sensible discussion on the issue rather than attack Grad’s integrity, knowing (at least now) that such attacks are deemed to be out of bounds on this blog. When you are appointed “guardian” of a blog, respect the creator’s wishes. It’s disappointing that Gideon wouldn’t honor the agreement.

  28. Cos Cob Curmudgeon

    GRS can try using 8-30g to beat the local zoning regs. but they still need to be able to deal with an on-site septic system for whatever units they plan to develop on the 11 acre site. That particular piece of real estate is comprised mainly of steep slopes, shallow soils and wetlands. The Stanwich School plan called for a package sewage treatment plant to be developed on a large portion of the 26 acre Stanwich School lot this system would have handled all of the sewage for the combined parcels. It would seem if GRS wants to develop their parcel for anything other than 6 or 7 two acre building lots they better be prepared to play ball with the School.

  29. anonymoose

    How apropos a Demokrat calling for the right of censorship aka big government regulation and a Republikan demanding free speech

  30. Anonymous

    @Gideon, is FF meddling with your comments being released again? I see a comment sent this morning has been posted in support of FF but I know that there were at least three comments send last night (after you last approved comments) that haven’t shown up. Hmmm.

  31. Stanwich neighbor

    Ahhh censorship at its finest. Looks like Frank Chose to only post 1 of my comments that were pro Stanwich School….sad!