Leading • Caring • Results
Inland Wetlands Board
Chris Phelps & David L. Smith
Please scroll down to read more about us.
- Ensure transparency of IWB’s review process and consideration/approval process
- Understand and apply the latest science
- Manage natural water resources responsibly
- Preserve and maintain wetlands to minimize disturbance and pollution
- Balance wetlands protection and thoughtful economic development
- Ensure full statutory protection of Ridgefield’s wetlands and watercourses
- Protect aquifers to ensure their long-term health and safety
I am a native New Englander, born in Newport, RI. After brief stints in Cincinnati and California, my family settled in Ridgefield in 1972 when I was 5 years old.
I attended Scotland Elementary, East Ridge Middle School and RHS before going to college in 1985. I was very involved in sports and had a wonderful experience in school.
My wife and I met thirty-three years ago in Ridgefield and have been married for 23 years. We have two sons, Nate, a Junior at Princeton University and Jack, a Senior at RHS. We have three dogs - a black lab, and two mini-dachshunds. I attended St. Lawrence University and Western CT State University for my undergraduate degree and have a Master’s Degree from Wesleyan University.
I recently retired, after a successful 22-year career as a middle school history teacher and department chair at St. Luke’s School. My career as an educator also included coaching middle school football, ski team, and JV baseball as well as a stint as the goalie coach for girls varsity lacrosse and field hockey. I recently joined my wife’s team at William Pitt Sotheby's International Realty in the Ridgefield office.
I am a passionate conservationist, and an avid beekeeper, fisherman and trail runner. I still return often to my childhood fishing spots in the Norwalk, Titicus and Housatonic Rivers.
Returning to Ridgefield to raise my family is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I love our neighborhood, where we literally stop to talk with each other in the street, borrow each other's tools and look out for each other’s homes and families.
A neighbor of mine suggested I run for the Inland Wetlands Board, and I jumped at the chance to serve my community, the one I have called home for the majority of my life. Ridgefield is a beautiful place to grow up and raise a family.
I look forward to serving the community I love.
Why I'm Running
I am running to be a member of the Inland Wetlands Board because I love Ridgefield and I want to preserve all the town has to offer, most importantly its wetlands, because they are the epicenters of all the local biomes.
What makes me someone who should sit on the Inland Wetlands Board? I am a passionate conservationist, and an avid beekeeper, fisherman and trail runner. As a beekeeper, I understand that bees need a clean reliable source of water for a hive to thrive. I have two streams and a wetland within a few hundred yards of my home--if these waterways were over-polluted my bees would die.
I am also a lifelong Ridgefielder, having moved here in 1972 at age 5, to a new development on Wooster Heights Drive. I grew up fishing the Titicus, Norwalk and Housatonic rivers, I caught bass in many of the local lakes and I jumped off the cliffs of Lake Mamanasco. I remember when Mamanasco was so clogged with weeds you could not comfortably boat, fish or swim.
I still love fishing in town as well as running with my dogs on the trails in the many open spaces and parks. Ridgefield’s natural beauty has always been a draw for new residents. Now, Ridgefield’s draws also include a vibrant arts community, top-notch education and a thriving economy.
The mission of the IWB is to help maintain the balance between nature and development. Working collaboratively with the Planning and Zoning Board, I will focus on striking the right balance between development and preservation of our rich environment.
I am honored to be running with another passionate conservationist, David L. Smith. I hope you will support us both by voting Line A on November 2nd.
David L. Smith
David L. Smith is a 20-year resident of Ridgefield. Married to Sonya Singh-Smith, current Connecticut State PTA President, two of his five children still reside in Ridgefield. Daughter Kiran is a first year medical student at UCONN and son Rajan is a Ridgefield High School senior. David has over 45 years of experience in the healthcare field and is currently Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Planning at Garnet Health, a three-hospital system in the Hudson Valley. Prior to his five years at Garnet Health, he spent fifteen years as Chief Strategy and Network Development Officer at Stamford Health in Stamford, CT. David received his BA degree from the Pennsylvania State University where he was a member of the track and cross-country teams and he received his Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) degree from the University of Missouri. He began his healthcare career as a nursing assistant in ICU, stroke, and spinal cord units in Oakland, California and continued his executive career in Ohio, California, and Maryland prior to being recruited to Connecticut.
David is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and has served on a number of non-profit boards throughout his career. He was honored in 2016 by Stamford Mayor David Martin, Rep. Jim Himes, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal for his contributions to the Global Organization for People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), The Stamford Partnership, and Building One Community where he was a founding Board member. He was a member of the Ridgefield Boy Scout Troop 431 Committee for the past five years.
While his career has been in healthcare, David comes from a family oriented to conservation of our natural resources. His father was a soil scientist for the Army Corp of Engineers and the federal Soil Conservation Service. Other siblings have degrees in Forestry and/or work in related fields. As a young man, David was a nature guide for the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and a park ranger at Moraine State Park in Pennsylvania.
In his leisure time David enjoys running, personal training, Pilates, playing basketball and baseball with his son, reading, travel, and home brewing.
Why I'm Running
I am running for the Ridgefield Inland Wetlands Board because I am a devoted conservationist eager to give back to the community that has been my home for nearly 20 years. My family and I moved here in the spring of 2002 when I took a position as Senior Vice President for Strategy at Stamford Hospital. Our two young children entered Ridgefield Public Schools and my wife, Sonya Singh-Smith, became very involved in education and other Ridgefield volunteer opportunities. I volunteered with Ridgefield Boy Scout Troop 431 and with a number of city and non-profit boards in Stamford. In 2016 I took a position at Garnet Health, a three-hospital system in the Hudson Valley, and began thinking about how I could become more involved in the town that I love by combining my professional skills and my background in conservation.
The opportunity to represent the town on the Inland Wetlands Boards is a good fit for me. In my professional career, I have been involved in projects requiring zoning and wetlands review, and I am skilled at balancing project plans with the need to conserve wetlands. I am also experienced at reading and reviewing regulations.
While my career has been in healthcare, I come from a family of conservationists. As a young man, I was a nature guide with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and a park ranger at Moraine State Park. My father started with the Army Corp of Engineers and spent the rest of his career as a Soil Scientist with the federal Soil Conservation Services, and my siblings have backgrounds in forestry and related fields.
As a member of Ridgefield’s Inland Wetlands Board, I will combine my passion for conservation with my professional skills in evaluating what’s best for Ridgefield’s environment. As I learned while volunteering each year with my three kids’ 4th grade River Study, Ridgefield plays an important role in preserving our area’s rivers and streams and I look forward to having an opportunity to assist in that role.
I am honored to be running with another passionate conservationist, Chris Phelps. I hope you will support us both by voting Line A on November 2nd.
Election day is November 2nd, 2021