SHELTON — The zoning office — one of City Hall’s busiest departments — is under new management.

Alex Rossetti was named the Planning and Zoning administrator, replacing Ken Nappi, who held the interim post since Rick Schultz left some 19 months ago. Zoning Enforcement Officer Josh O’Neill will now be assistant administrator, while Nappi will turn his focus to downtown development.

“I am excited to get moving here,” said Rossetti, who has been the assistant administrator since early last year. “There is more work to do here than I could ever imagine, but it is what makes it interesting to me. Every day there is a new challenge to tackle, and, so far, we have done pretty well.”

Rossetti takes on his new role as the city experiences an explosion of new development and proposals along Bridgeport Avenue and downtown. Nappi, at Mayor Mark Lauretti’s request, will now oversee the seven downtown projects underway or in the works.

“What impressed me most about Alex is his willingness to learn,” said Nappi, adding that the extensive search for a new P&Z administrator was narrowed to nine, with Rossetti earning the nod. “And he was not shy about offering his opinions on many issues facing the department.”

Rossetti is the department’s affordable housing expert and was instrumental in providing Planning and Zoning commissioners with necessary information, Nappi said.

“This job is about establishing relationships, and Alex excels in this area,” said Nappi. “He works well with both the customer needing a certificate or a developer who wants to put in a $20 million project.”

The department, under the management of Rossetti and O’Neill, has created a computer database on all zoning complaints. Both said they hope all zoning records will soon be integrated with the new computer system used by the building department.

Rossetti said he also hopes to use the computer integration to help streamline the application process, cutting down on paperwork and time.

“Alex and I complement each other,” said O’Neill, who has been with the department since early last year, when the city’s commercial and residential development began to skyrocket.

“It has definitely been a blessing to be so busy,” said O’Neill. “We were thrown right in the fire. We have come a long way, but we also are confident because of the team we have supporting us … (planning consultant) Tony Panico, Ken (Nappi) and the administration are all available to help at any time.”

Rossetti graduated from Santa Clara University in California in 2016 with degrees in environmental studies and studio art. He held positions with Austin Patterson Disston Architects in Southport and Devore Associates Landscape Architects before joining the Shelton zoning department in early 2019.

“I congratulate Mr. Rossetti and Mr. O'Neill on their appointments and look forward to working with them on a long-term basis,” said P&Z Commission Chair Virginia Harger. “I anticipate they will continue to provide excellent planning, zoning and permitting assistance to Shelton residents and members of the business community.”

“Shelton is a vibrant town with great opportunities to continue the path of development on Bridgeport Avenue and downtown, and they both fit in … Alex, especially, as P&Z administrator,” said Nappi. “It is not all about reading regulations … it is about fostering relationships with people, taking a stand to protect the city from unnecessary development but at the same time refine that development that is proposed so it fits into what we want Shelton to look like. He fits that role.”

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com