Town Zoning Officer Resigns – New Milford Woman Accepts Job at Firm

NEW MILFORD — Zoning En­forcement Officer Kathy Castag­netta has accepted a job with a local engineering firm, catching commission members and de­velopers off-guard.

“I’m absolutely just shocked,” said Thomas Pilla, one of the town’s major residential devel­opers, said about Castagnetta’s surprise resignation, which was announced Wednesday. “Kathy has done just a phenomenal job for this town.”

The 46-year-old Castagnetta was hired eight years ago and will leave her post Oct. 9 to become the office manager for Arthur Howland Associates, a firm located on the corner of South Main and Bridge streets that em­ploys some 12 full-time engineers, surveyors and soil scientists.

In Castagnetta’s tenure, Pilla said the town has seen unprec­edented growth, with many large and complex projects that require a highly trained, well-skilled staff who know state and local zoning laws. Castagnetta was instrumental in crafting new and updated regulations, as well as overseeing the town’s largest residential and commercial projects, he said.

The proposed 455-unit Dun­ham Farm project required much of her time and expertise before the commission denied it last month, prompting a lawsuit. She also was instrumental in planning a major, pedestrian-style retail complex on the south­ern Route 7 corridor that is un­der construction, as well as the proposed shopping center slated for property just beyond the Ce­dar Knolls neighborhood.

Castagnetta earns a bit more than $58,000. “I’m very sorry to see her go,” said Eleanor Florio, Zoning Commission chairman. “But she is very well-edu­cated and good at what she does, and so I’m happy to see that she’s moving ahead with her career.”

Castagnetta’s integrity and pro­fessional skills attracted Arthur Howland Associates’ owner Paul Szymanski — “on a whim” — to offer her a position in his growing company. He said Castagnetta will enhance his business because she is knowledgeable about the land-use process and what it takes to create a successful application.

He said she also intends to earn the certification required to become a planning consultant. “Everyone holds her in very high regard,” Szymanski said. Castagnetta said she could not pass up this career opportunity, although she will miss those with whom she has worked over the years. “I have enjoyed the time I have spent working for the town of New Milford and am grateful to have had this opportunity,” said Castagnetta, who with her husband, Tom, has two sons — Sam, 16, and Daniel, 14.

“I have learned a great deal about land use and have worked with wonderful people.” Her replacement will be a joint decision made by the commission and Mayor Patricia Murphy. Murphy was out of the office Wednesday on a tour with Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele and could not be reached for comment.

By Nanci G. Hutson – News Times

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *