Naugatuck zoning chairman to step aside

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Naugatuck Zoning Commission Chairman Joseph Savarese, right, plans to resign Next month after fives years on the commission. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — Joseph Savarese has worn many hats over the past 30 years.

He served on the Inland Wetlands Commission when in began in the 1980s and was chairman of the Economic Development Commission for many years.

“I was responsible for bringing the Naugatuck School District into the Vision 2000 Community and Economic Development Plan. That plan led to the Mt. Auburn Study and initiated the formation of the non-profit and private/public Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation,” Savarese said.

For the past five years, Savarese has served as chairman on the Zoning Commission. It’s a position he will hold for only a month longer.

During the Zoning Commission’s Oct. 17 meeting, Savarese submitted his letter of resignation. His resignation will take effect the day after the commission’s Nov. 14 meeting.

“He’s been an amazing public servant for many years,” Mayor Robert Mezzo said. “He did a fantastic job as a zoning commissioner.”

Savarese’s service to the community extends beyond public boards and commissions.

“I have devoted many of years to community and volunteer service work organizing, raising funds and administering various youth programs, including oversight of parental activities. During this period, I solicited or raised over $300,000 in public and private sector funds needed to support capital projects, most notably reconstruction and of the Union City Little League Complex and the restoration of Veterans Field at Naugatuck High School,” Savarese said.

Savarese, 68, said he wants to spend more time now with his family.

“I have grandkids, and I don’t have a lot of time to spend with them because of the duties I have to do,” Savarese said.
Savarese had planned to resign from the Zoning Commission earlier in the year, but felt that he should stay on to assist with the plans for the renovations to Naugatuck High School.

Now that the high school renovation plans are in the process of being sent of to the state, Savarese knows what he wants to do next.

“I plan to just enjoy time with my grandchildren and relax a little bit more,” Savarese said.

Savarese feels in his time as zoning chairman he has helped created a more cooperative atmosphere between the board, applicants, and potential applicants.

“I hope this commission will further carry on our goals to work on behalf of our citizens and those applicants that come before us,” Savarese said.

Mezzo believes that this will not be the last commission that Savarese serves on.

“I know he deserves a rest from his busy duty as a zoning commissioner, but my guess is we will see him back in public service,” Mezzo said.

While Savarese is stepping out of the public eye, he has not completely ruled out ever serving on a commission again.

“I can’t say one way or the other. If the right opportunity came up,” Savarese said.