Shelton zoning staff resolves six years of violations in six months

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 city’s new zoning enforcement officer has had a busy six months.

Ron Baia, who was hired in September, recently told the Planning and Zoning Commission that he and fellow office staff “caught up with the backlog of complaints and violations,” some of which remained unresolved for as many as six years. 

“We prioritized major violations and tasks, divided them into categories and worked our way through,” Baia said. “We have been successful in resolving numerous violations as well as removing ground signs that are not permitted or in compliance with the regulations.” 

Since September, Baia said zoning staff has gone into the field clearing unresolved complaints dating back to 2017 to ensure compliance. 

“All files, pre-2023, have been properly updated and officially closed,” Baia added. 

From September 2022 through early March, Baia said the department resolved 161 violations — including 21 unpermitted structures or uses on a site; 22 outside storage issues; 18 unregistered vehicles; 11 issues with roosters and chickens; 15 property line disputes; and 14 complaints about commercial businesses in residential zones. 

Baia said there are 18 pending complaints to be resolved. 

He added that more than 500 ground signs — between flag banners and lawn signs — which he called one of his pet peeves, have been removed city wide since his arrival. 

“We have taken a proactive approach to prevent an overload of residential zoning violations by creating door notice tags for minor violations,” said Baia, adding that the violations may stem from a formal complaint, or a potential violation observed by zoning staff or city officials. 

Door tag notices are orange and placed at a resident’s home if the homeowner is not available. The notice asks the homeowner to contact the zoning enforcement officer for further information. 

“This has proven to be an effective approach in educating residents of the city’s planning and zoning regulations and assisting them in gaining compliance without the intimidation of an official zoning violation letter,” Baia said. 

The zoning department remains one of the most active in the city. In the past six months, the staff has approved 145 certificates of zoning compliance — 38 of which are for business occupancy; 19 for an attached addition; 17 for home office; 17 for signs; 16 for decks and nine for pools.