From a 2.5% tax cap to a communal style development to address affordable housing concerns in town, Chris Noe has some big ideas on how to change town government.
Noe, 53, is again making a run for first selectman. Noe is not listed on the official ballot for the Nov. 5 election and is instead running as a write-in candidate. Noe previously ran for the office on the ultraconservative party ticket. He missed the August deadline for inclusion on the town’s official Election Day ballot.
Noe said he’s seeking the job because he doesn’t feel First Selectman Jayme Stevenson is doing an adequate job.
“I’m dissatisfied with the leadership in town. I’m really dissatisfied. There are so many issues,” he said.
Noe said he would take a $1 a year salary as a way of helping to save the town money and to show people he’s serious about getting things done. “The $1 salary shows I’m not applying for a job. I’ll gladly live off of my own money,” said Noe, a resident of Darien since 1987.
Noe wants to implement a cap on taxes where taxes can only rise 2.5% every year. That certainty, he said would encourage more home sales as well as business development.
“If you have rising taxes out of control that you can’t plan for, you’ll be less inclined to build a business or a home, “ he said, noting a stabilized tax structure will improve property values.
Noe also has a plan to solve the ongoing affordable housing situation in town. Noe wants to build a communal housing development near the Noroton Heights train station for up to 200 “upwardly mobile” 18-to-25 year olds. Residents could stay there for up to five years and would have a room with a bathroom, but they would share a communal kitchen. The facility would also have conference rooms, a movie theater and a gym. Residents living there would pay $100 a week, he said, and it would give the town the affordable housing “points” to meet state standards.
“It would be in the interest of Darien to satisfy the need for affordable housing totally and permanently,” he said.
“The moratorium is ticking away and very little is being done,” he added.
Darien currently has a moratorium for state statue 8-30g, which is intended to increase the numbers of affordable housing by setting a 10% level for a locality’s housing stock. The moratorium expires next year. The statute allows developers to overstep local zoning regulations if the town has not met the 10% threshold.
Noe said he would like for a study to be done to determine if the town is in need of further renovations to the town’s schools or if a new school should be built. “If the study shows it’s necessary, it’s what must be done,” he said. “I’m not privy to a study, so I don’t know.”
One thing he wants done immediately is the removal of gun-free school zones. Noe said examples of major violence, such as the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, could be prevented if a person legally licensed to carry a weapon could have it on his or her person and is able to act. State and federal law forbids possession of a firearm on school grounds or at school-sponsored events, except by police and other peace officers.
“If we eliminated gun-free zones, the good guys might have a gun from time to time,” said Noe, who is a convicted felon and cannot legally carry a gun. “It won’t always happen, but now in a gun-free zone, the only person with a gun is the bad guy. “
Noe also said he would have fired Darien Schools Superintendent Stephen Falcone in response to the district’s special education crisis.
However, Noe mistakenly stated that the superintendent job is an elected position. The Darien Board of Education is responsible for appointing the superintendent. Also, the first selectman cannot terminate the employment of a Board of Education employee.
“He is one of the highest paid employees in town ad he’s in charge of educating our children and he’s lying to us,” Noe said of Falcone, who resigned his position on Tuesday.