At its most recent meeting, the Canton Zoning Commission elected new leaders and recognized the service of three long-time members who were recently not reappointed.
Late last year, First Selectman Richard Barlow chose not to bring forward reappointment recommendations for long-time members Kathy Hooker and Jay Weintraub, chairman of the commission. Many selectmen stated the length of a zoning rewrite project and Canton's anti-business reputation as reasons for the changes. Zoning commission member Sandra Trionfini resigned, calling the decision "short sighted."
Selectmen did reappoint Republican Phil Pane to the commission and appointed new members Republican Dan Barnhart and John Huyghebaert, who is unaffiliated. At a later meeting, selectmen appointed Republican Keith August and Jonathan Thiesse, who is unaffiliated.
During its Jan. 23 meeting, the Zoning Commission formally thanked Weintraub, Hooker and Trionfini for their service. The motion read as follows:
"(The) Canton Zoning Commission hereby recognizes with deep appreciation the volunteer efforts of Jay Weintraub, Kathy Hooker and Sandra Trionfini who have demonstrated exceptional service and dedication to the people of Canton through their long standing service on the Zoning Commission, Mr. Weintraub since September 1, 1988, Ms Hooker since October 6, 1988, and Ms. Trionfini since January 1, 2000."
Also at its Jan. 23 meeting, the commission elected a new slate of officers — David Bondanza as chairman Bill Sarmuk as Vice Chairman and Phil Pane as secretary.
The zoning commission has been the topic of some controversy in town and Hooker and Weintraub were not the first two who were bypassed for reappointment. Earlier, selectmen passed on Peter Clarke and Mark Podesla.
While Selectmen Lowell Humphrey has objected to the process followed by the Board of Selectmen for bypassing volunteer board and commission members, most selectmen have argued change is needed, sighting, in part, the length of time its taken to rewrite Canton's zoning regulations, a process that began in September of 2005, according to the town web site.
Although the committee working on the update has changed over the years it most recently consisted of Weintraub, Hooker and Trionfini. In his letter, Weintraub addresses his take on the process.
Those draft regulations are now online and on the town's land-use web page and the commission plans to meet Feb. 6, at 8 p.m. to begin reviewing them and accepting public input.