\u201cWhenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.\u201d Thomas Jefferson In Stamford, a disinformation campaign is being woven that will cause a serious deterioration in our quality of life. The Stamford Neighborhoods Coalition, a collective of neighborhood organizations throughout the city, was founded to address (1) the marginalization of residents by land use boards; (2) concerns of overdevelopment, traffic, congestion, city-wide neighborhood issues, and (3) the dictatorial mindset of city officials who feel they know better about what is best for us and never truly hear or address our issues. On Dec. 6,after numerous public hearings with substantial citizen opposition, the Zoning Board approved changes to the zoning regulations via application 220-20, referred to as Omnibus Text Changes. The Zoning Board approval would permit \u201cpremium density\u201d multifamily units of up to 14 units to the acre in selective campus office, C-D (designated commercial) zones which are typically surrounded by low density and single-family residential neighborhoods. During the hearing course, the Land Use Bureau modified the proposed omnibus text amendments to remove the as of right approval and the construction of accessory buildings and the coalition revised its narrative accordingly. In his Jan. 8 op-ed, \u201cStamford housing calls for planning, not politics,\u201d Rick Redniss, who is a principal of a firm that offers permitting assistance including text amendments, master plan amendments and zone change services, conflated different versions of the zoning amendments to weave a misleading narrative and to disparage the coalition. This directed attention away from key issues of the text change. The coalition is supportive of Stamford\u2019s need to adjust to an ever-changing growth dynamic by promoting in the C-D campus office districts affordable owner-occupied clustered single-family homes, or townhouse type units with a density that relates to or is compatible with surrounding residential neighborhoods. This type of housing is identified as a priority in the initial Affordable Housing Study conducted by the city. Pursuant to the City Charter, the Neighborhoods Coalition filed a petition with the Zoning Board containing about 1,100 signatures from Stamford property owners representing close to 600 individual properties collected in seven days for submission to the Board of Representatives to appeal the decision of the Zoning Board. In a blatant violation of the charter, the Zoning Board failed to submit the petition to the Board of Representatives by the required date. Let\u2019s dispel myths and address Redniss\u2019 misinformation: The Interstate-95 urban renewal Redniss opines about is interesting history. It occurred decades ago and has nothing to do with permitting multifamily housing in the C-D or low-density housing districts in 2022. 1. The Omnibus text amendments were crafted and written by the Land Use Bureau without prior public participation. The public was invited to comment on the regulations at noticed public hearings with each speaker limited to three minutes. There was an outpouring of opposition to the text change. 2. Redniss mentions the coalition narrative \u201cwould permit, throughout the City ... as of right construction of multifamily housing in traditionally single-family neighborhoods.\u201d This draft narrative was never distributed to the public but was revised and clarified before distribution to reflect the revised approval by the Zoning Board with a focus solely on the CD Zones. 3. The issue of public participation is addressed in item 1. 4. Allowing commercial residential development of 14 units to the acre is not in accord with any provision of the Master Plan or the Master Plan map and is nowhere considered consistent with low-density or single-family district neighborhoods. A common theme that runs through the Master Plan is for the preservation and enhancement of Stamford\u2019s low-density residential neighborhoods and the preservation of the existing land-use character to protect neighborhood stability and protect property values. 5. Initially the omnibus text amendment did include provisions for accessory apartments and did provide for as of right use. These provisions were removed by the Land Use Bureau after residents spoke out vociferously against them and the coalition took note in its narrative. 6. and 7. Traffic, congestion, and additional stress to our infrastructure and schools from multifamily housing (of up to 14 units to the acre) would be greater than from low-density development or single-family development. To compare defunct office parks with the proposed C-D text change in terms of traffic is ludicrous. Of course, this type of redevelopment will add traffic. Redniss has no idea who would live in these apartments, so he can\u2019t assess the impact on schools. 8. Redniss has misinterpreted the City Charter pertaining to the submission of the Appeal to the Board of Representatives. It leaves no other option than to collect the signatures of 300 property owners throughout the city because it affects two or more zones. The Charter talks only of zones. The Office of Legal Affairs recognizes six C-D zones throughout the city. The Land Use Bureau\u2019s decision states \u201cAlthough there is more than one area zoned C-D, the change only affects the C-D zone and no other zones.\u201d This is true, there are multiple CD zones and they should not be treated singularly. It is a matter of geography. The Land Use Bureau and the Office of Legal Affairs insert qualifiers and language in their opinions that do not appear anywhere within the City Charter C6-40-9. Their opinions hinge falsely on the supposition that the proposed regulation amendment applies to more than one zoning district or zoning classification. This language does not appear in the Charter. It was contrived to provide a structure to support a definition that is blatantly false. The interpretation of the Master Plan and the City Charter should not be politicized. The petition is not senseless opposition. It is about an informed citizenry being respected and heard. It is about balanced and compatible growth in Stamford. It is about our city officials following the Master Plan and the City Charter. Barry Michelson is a member of the Stamford Neighborhoods Coalition and a 2017 mayoral candidate.