Beacon Falls P&Z chairman resigns

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By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer

BEACON FALLS — Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Kevin McDuffie resigned last week after more than 15 years on the commission.

The Board of Selectmen accepted McDuffie’s letter of resignation at its Nov. 9 meeting. In the letter, which was dated Nov. 9, McDuffie simply asked First Selectman Gerard Smith to accept his resignation effective immediately.

McDuffie, 65, was first appointed to the commission around 2002. He has served on the board since then, except for one term, and has served multiple terms as chairman.

In a phone interview, McDuffie said he’s enjoyed his time on the commission.

“It was a pleasure serving the town of Beacon Falls and helping each and every applicant through the process, adhering to the rules and regulations of the P&Z,” McDuffie said. “I was fair with everyone, no matter what applicant came in.”

McDuffie has faced criticism recently with how the commission handled the proposed Hopp Brook Estates, a planned housing development on a 135-acre, undeveloped parcel of land off Oakwood Drive.

In 2017, the commission approved a zone change and changes to the Plan of Conservation and Development, which the then-Board of Selectmen didn’t approve of, that helped the project to move ahead. The commission still needs to approve a special exception for the project.

Smith publicly criticized the actions of McDuffie and the commission in a Nov. 1 letter. McDuffie said he’s also come under fire on social media.

McDuffie, who plans to retire soon from his job as an electronic technician for Peak-Ryzex, said the rhetoric directed at him is not fair to him or his family.

“I have a family in this town, and I just want me and my family at peace,” he said.

Planning and Zoning Vice Chairman William J. Giglio said McDuffie is a solid guy who has been cool and calm under pressure.

“He’s handled the commission very well. He’s had good ideas,” Giglio said. “I give him high marks. He’s an excellent chairperson.”

Giglio said the commission is set to vote for its next chairman and other officers at its Nov. 19 meeting.

Smith said last week he expected to find someone to fill McDuffie’s seat on the commission soon. The selectmen will have to vote on his replacement.

Planning and Zoning Commission member Lisa Daigle resigned Oct. 16. She is now the clerk for the commission. The selectmen last week appointed Michael Pratt to fill her seat.

Correction: This post has been updated to correct when Lisa Daigle resigned from the commission.