Joseph Warren, a member of the Board of Selectmen a decade and more ago and well-known in several roles around town, is again running for a seat on the board.
If elected, one of Warren’s biggest goals for the next two years would be to make sure the town takes a long-term, integrated look at where various projects are headed, particularly the major redevelopment proposals for Noroton Heights and downtown Darien.
“What I am looking at is some long-term planning — what the long-term implications of the decisions we make are going to be,” Warren said in an interview on Saturday. For the Palmer family’s proposal in Noroton Heights and the David Genovese/Penny Glassmeyer proposal for downtown, as well as for another expected proposal for the east side of Noroton Heights, Warren said:
“How are we going to manage storm runoffs? How are we going to manage sewage disposal? How are we going to manage traffic patterns? If people can’t drive on Noroton Avenue or Hollow Tree Ridge Road to get to Heights Road, people are not going to go to the new stores.”
Warren said he’s concerned that the former school building that housed the Darien Senior Activities Center is still standing, unused, and questions about paying for building problems at the new school district headquarters building haven’t been resolved.
“We need to do a much better job of long-range planning,” he said.
Town officials need to persuade state legislators to avoid higher taxes that could send wealthier residents of Fairfield County to other states, he said.
Warren is a volunteer with the Noroton Fire Department, owner of the Wild Birds Unlimited store, one of Santa’s helpers who dons the red suit each year as well as the longtime Uncle Sam in the Darien Push-Pull Parade on July 4.
After working for many years at Pitney Bowes in Stamford, Warren left his job as a senior engineer to join his his wife, Patricia, building up their Wild Birds Unlimited stores, first in Bedford Hills, then at the Noroton Heights Shopping Center. The store sells all sorts of products you might want to attract birds to your yard.
His experience as a town official is extensive: Not only has he been a selectman, he’s also served as a member of the town Board of Education and Representative Town Meeting. He currently sits on the Darien Housing Authority board.
In the 1990s, Warren chaired a building committee overseeing the successful rehabilitation of a number of school buildings in town and the reopening of Holmes School. The project came in on time and under budget.
“I would like to bring that experience to the Board of Selectmen,” he said.