Your Neighbors • Your Priorities

Zoning Board of Appeals


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left to right: Sky Cole, Joseph Pastore, Robert Byrnes, and Aaron Lockwood.

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The Zoning Board of Appeals (“ZBA”) preserves the character and charm of our town and listens to the needs of town residents. Individuals apply to ZBA for exceptions (“variances”) to local zoning regulations. ZBA does not promulgate generic local zoning regulations – that function is reserved to the wholly separate Planning and Zoning Commission (“P&Z”). Rather, ZBA serves the essential role of an appeals body because not every generic regulation is optimal for every individual circumstance.

In recent years, however, P&Z has strayed from its legally-mandated role of planning and promulgating generic regulations, instead creating regulations customized to individual properties. This dubious practice usurps the sanctioned variance process legally mandated to ZBA and encourages powerful applicants to “forum-shop” their initiatives to P&Z, which has proven more permissive than ZBA’s formal variance process (P&Z’s consideration of the proposed ice rink was a particularly visible example of this kind of P&Z usurpation). If elected, we will continuously prod P&Z to reverse its years-long usurpation of functions and discretion that statute intends and reserves to ZBA. A more cautious P&Z and a reinvigorated ZBA will better ensure that Ridgefield’s uniquely desirable character is maintained for the benefit of all townspeople.

Sky Cole

Sky Cole has lived in Ridgefield for nearly 40 years. After college he started his own small carpentry business. While still at it, he is easing into a more relaxed view of priorities.

One priority remains strong however; his commitment to the democratic process. Toward that end he has been an active member of the Democratic Town Committee for many years.
Sky feels equally strongly about his own civic responsibilities toward the town that provided a great education for his two children giving them a leg up for their own futures.

The ZBA is a perfect fit for someone who has spent his entire career working with individuals repairing and renovating their homes, most of that time in Ridgefield. Sky understands the detailed needs of the individual homeowner and the need to preserve the town’s character. Ridgefield’s rich character is it’s greatest asset. Sky’s deep experience living in town and working with Ridgefield homeowners benefits each homeowner seeking a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Why I'm Running

I have spent several years on the Zoning Board of Appeals because as a lifelong Ridgefield resident, I am passionate about preserving what is wonderful about our town. Serving on the ZBA fulfills my moral responsibility to give back to the town that I love. I would greatly appreciate your vote on November 5th so that I might continue contributing to Ridgefield in that capacity.

Joseph Pastore

Joe Pastore has lived in Ridgefield with his wife Donna for 24 years, raising three children in town, and has been an active member of the community. He is managing partner at Pastore & Dailey LLC, a leading corporate, litigation and financial services firm, with four offices nationally.  Joe is widely recognized as a leading attorney for securities and commercial matters, and has received the top peer-to-peer reviews for over 10 years. Joe is currently a member of the Board of Assessment Appeals.

Joe holds a BA from Bucknell University cum laude and a JD from Pace Law School cum laude, and also serves on the Boards of both institutions. He views his candidacy for the Zoning Board of Appeals as public service and an opportunity to give back to the community. As a long time Ridgefield resident, Joe believes Ridgefield is a special place that should continue to grow and thrive, while maintaining its historic and architectural integrity.

Why I'm Running

My goal is to foster progressive development while preserving Ridgefield’s special blend of historic architecture and modern day functionality. Every town needs to grow and improve. On the ZBA I will champion transparent efforts to interpret the  town’s ordinances in a manner that is clear and consistent with Ridgefield’s unique history.  Even in our municipal elections, I think it is important to send a message that we are friends and neighbors.  We should act with civility and honesty, setting an example that seeking common ground creates progress and growth. Please support me with your vote November 5th.

Robert Byrnes

Robert Byrnes has served as an Alternate on the Zoning Board of Appeals since 2018. In that role, he is dedicated to finding solutions that are both beneficial to the town and to the residents who bring their issues to the board. Byrnes owns a small Ridgefield business, now in its 10th year, and he is a member and sponsor of the Ridgefield Bicycle Club. Byrnes loves the town’s open spaces, which he enjoys as an avid cyclist, runner, and hiker.

Why I'm Running

After the first ZBA meeting I attended, I thought, “this is something I can do to give back to the community.I have the background and professional experience to make a real difference.”  Please support me with your vote on November 5th.

Aaron Lockwood

ZBA-Alternate candidate Aaron Lockwood is a public school music educator and professional violinist. As an educator, he has served his school community for the past fourteen years. He understands the importance of critical thinking, collaboration, and working toward a shared vision. Since moving to Ridgefield four years ago with his wife and two young children, he has taken a keen interest in planning and zoning. He and his family love Ridgefield and chose the town for its excellent schools and small-town New England charm. Aaron is dedicated to working collaboratively with all stakeholders to help make decisions that are in the best interest of the people and the town of Ridgefield.

Why I'm Running

My wife and I moved to Ridgefield because of its beauty and character. I am keenly interested in appropriate growth of our town. I seek the role of  Zoning Board of Appeals-Alternate to be an active participant in helping Ridgefield retain the qualities that make the town special. Please support me with your vote this November.

Election day is November 5th, 2019

Your Neighbors • Your Priorities