In Simsbury, the dispute over a retail development off Route 10 has led to questions about Michael Bradley´s leadership of the P&Z commission
A possible big box development in
Konover Development Corporation, a large real estate development firm, is
looking to build on land off of
Simsbury Homeowners Advocating Responsible Expansion, or SHARE, is a
citizens group that was set up to oppose big-box development on the land. They
say that it will increase traffic, decrease property values, and hinder the
view across the property to
The property, which is owned by Mark Greenberg (Konover purchased development rights), is zoned for light industrial. So, a zoning change would be needed before any retail tenant could open on the site. Konover has not yet sent a proposal to the town or asked for a zoning change, but such actions are widely expected in the coming weeks or months.
Naturally, the Simsbury Zoning Commission will be involved. The chairman of that commission, however, will not. The long-time chairman, Michael Bradley, has said he will recuse himself from any discussion or vote on the issue.
In a letter to First Selectman Tom Vincent received March 1, Bradley advised
the Board of Selectmen of a conflict of interest, writing, ¨I am a licensed
real estate broker in the State of
Bradley also filed a conflict of interest form indicating he may have to
recuse himself from any matter that involves Konover or ¨any commercial real
estate matter in which I have a direct financial interest.¨ The form was signed
Both documents can be viewed on the SHARE website at http://www.sharesimsbury.com.
Many SHARE members and others (some posting anonymously on Simsbury.com forums) have expressed concern over Bradley´s apparent conflict. They wonder why he didn´t file conflict of interest forms sooner. Some speculate that he only declared the conflict after some SHARE members looked into potential Konover connections of public officials.
Bill Miller, a SHARE spokesperson, suggested as much and told us that Bradley should have publicly disclosed his conflict sooner.
¨Why didn´t he file a conflict of interest form sooner, why didn´t he let anybody else know? Most people put down all potential conflicts, not just immediate ones,¨ Miller said.
For his part, Bradley says he began dealing with conflict last summer, long before SHARE began looking into potential conflicts, when he contacted the town attorney, Robert DeCrescenzo. Bradley says he advised the town attorney of his conflict and asked if he´d need to resign his position.
¨On Nov. 14, he got back to me in a four-page letter advising me that A.) I didn´t have to resign, and B.) what I needed to do was notify in writing the Board of Selectmen and the Zoning Commission,¨ Bradley told the Advocate.
Bradley said he´s done both of those things, and filed the conflict of interest form after he was re-elected in November. Austin D. Barney, a Zoning Commission member and commission secretary, told the Advocate that Bradley sent a letter to him three to four weeks ago, notifying the board of the conflict. It will be entered into the record at an upcoming meeting.
Barney said that the conflict has been discussed openly at past meetings, which are open to the public. He called the issue ¨old news.¨
¨He´s done everything exactly by the book,¨ Barney said.
Still, SHARE members are upset that a high-ranking town official works so
closely with the corporation looking to bring big-box development near the foot
¨We´re shocked Michael Goman would hire -- knowing he has to get his property re-zoned -- the chairman of the zoning commission to be his real-estate agent,¨ Miller said.
Goman is president and CEO of Konover. He also sits on the town´s board of education.