An errant parker drove through the Starbucks window at the Whole Foods plaza over two months ago and today the storefront is still boarded up with plywood. An employee told me that they are still waiting for the Building Department to approve the replacement of the glass. That’s two months and counting.
The broken window theory of crime postulates that unrepaired broken windows are a sign of neighborhood neglect and abandonment and that in turn encourages first, more vandalism and then more crime of all types. I’m not suggesting that Greenwich is in for a crime wave but boarded up storefronts certainly create a look of indifference and urban decay, which, presumably, not even our Building Department wants.
I know nothing about the facts behind Starbucks’ difficulties with our regulatory agencies but the employee’s story jibes with what I’m hearing from my builder friends: it is becoming increasingly difficult to get even the simplest inspections and sign offs from the Building Department and Planning & Zoning, and the delays in completing even the simplest projects are mounting. Given the unceasing efforts to add regulations to every aspect of life here in Greenwich, this doesn’t bode well.
What’s the solution? Presumably, a leader in the First Selectman’s office to address the issue and take charge of solving it. Peter Tesei is clearly not that person, and God forbid we let a Democrat in to add to our woes. Between an out of control budget – ours is 50% larger than Fairfield’s a city of exactly our size – bad decisions on adding to and maintaining our infrastructure and a bureaucratic nightmare in Town Hall, we ought to be able to do better.