Shelton welcomes new zoning enforcement officer

Ron Baia was recently hired as new zoning enforcement officer for the City of Shelton.

Ron Baia was recently hired as new zoning enforcement officer for the City of Shelton.

Brian Gioiele/Hearst Connecticut Media

SHELTON — The zoning office remains one of the busiest in the city, and that’s just the way Ron Baia likes it. 

Baia was recently hired as the city’s new zoning enforcement officer and is one of several new hires in the department to help ease the workload for Zoning Administrator Alex Rossetti, who has manned a skeleton crew for months while applications continue to stream through the door. 

"I like the pulse of Shelton, the direction it’s going in,” said Baia, who has spent more than 35 years in zoning departments, most recently with the City of Middletown. 

“The development and growth drew me here, as did the opportunity to make a difference and be part of a city that is probably the largest growing city right now,” Baia added. 

In addition to Middletown, Baia has had stints with city zoning offices in New Haven and New Canaan, where he focused on zoning enforcement and blight issues. Baia started his career in New Haven, retiring from there in 2008. 

In Shelton’s office, Baia is the zoning enforcement officer, but he also handles wetlands – a spot long overseen by John Cook. 

Cook started in Shelton in 1984 and had been the city’s Inland Wetlands Administrator for years. He retired in early August. 

Baia said Shelton’s downtown redevelopment reminds him of his years in New Haven, when that city revitalized downtown. He recalls New Haven leaders pushing for commercial development into the old Gateway Community College site off Long Wharf. 

“It’s exciting to see these developments happen,” Baia said. 

The new ZEO is also happy to bring stability to an office that has been short-staffed for months. He says one area he has already begun handling is zoning complaints. 

“My job is to educate residents,” he said, adding that many people do not know the specifics of the city’s zoning regulations. “It’s my job to let people know what they can and can’t do, then how we can fix the problem, work toward fixing it, gain compliance and move forward.” 

Baia will be celebrating his 35 years in the zoning business this coming February and says he still enjoys the work. 

“I think most burned out, but I like what I do,” he said. “I like helping people. I like helping the city I work for, whether its New Haven, New Canaan, Middletown or now Shelton. My goal is to always leave them in better place than when I got here — to make a positive difference."