ELECTION 2021: Meet the Candidate — Bas Nabulsi, Board of Selectmen

Bio

Bas Nabulsi and his wife have lived in Wilton since 1992. Bas served on Wilton’s Planning and Zoning Commission for more than 10 years, contributing to Wilton’s last two Plans of Conservation and Development.

An intellectual property attorney, Bas works with companies, universities and individuals to protect, enforce and monetize their innovations.

Bas is active in the community in other ways, including serving on the Boards of the World Affairs Forum (chairman) and CT Legal Services, and teaching as an adjunct at Quinnipiac Law School. Bas helped to establish two pro bono clinics with CT Legal Services; a pardons clinic and a housing justice program aimed at addressing pandemic-related housing issues. The Nabulsis’ two sons both graduated from Wilton High School.

Op-Ed [SPONSORED CONTENT]

DISCLOSURE: GMW did not receive the candidate’s op-ed submission before the deadline set out in our election guidelines. The Democratic Town Committee has paid for this op-ed to appear as sponsored content, an advertising option available to the campaigns that both parties have utilized in past elections.

I am Bas Nabulsi and I am running for Board of Selectmen. My wife and I have lived in Wilton since 1992 (29 years) and have enjoyed the boundless benefits that this town offers so freely — terrific schools for our two sons, the joys of seasonal sports, the beauty of Wilton’s open spaces, and a nurturing and supportive community. Over the years, we have also become involved in the community in ways both big and small, and have prospered by the experience.

In 2003, I was elected as a Planning and Zoning commissioner and served as a P&Z commissioner for the majority of the succeeding 18 years. My work on P&Z taught me many things, and several of those lessons are important to understanding my perspectives as I seek a position on the Board of Selectmen.

First, there is no partisanship in the service of the town. I worked with dozens of P&Z commissioners on P&Z and, regardless of the issue or the parties involved, the commissioners were of one mind:  What is the best decision for the town?

Second, respectful discussion — with a heavy dose of thoughtful listening — is the key to sorting out the issues and ultimately arriving at a decision that the Commission as-a-whole could stand behind.

And third, all voices need to be heard. Not every P&Z application triggers a strong community reaction — but some do. And for those in the community who feel strongly about an issue, it is incumbent on town officials to hear those concerns and weigh them carefully in making a decision on the town’s behalf.

So, you may be wondering why I’m not simply running for P&Z in this election. My interest in pursuing a position on the Board of Selectmen is primarily driven by my recent work on the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) as a P&Z member. The POCD process was detailed and comprehensive, providing all members of the “working group” with an in-depth understanding of the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for the town in the near to medium term. I have a strong interest in seeing the POCD executed to the fullest extent possible. Among the issues addressed in the POCD, I would highlight the following as being of primary importance:

  • Strengthen Wilton Center as a vibrant economic, residential, recreational and cultural hub for the community and region by, inter alia, (i) improving the vibrancy, visual quality, and cohesion of Wilton Center while supporting new and existing businesses by planning for residential, commercial, and mixed-use development and (ii) pursuing context-sensitive economic development on Danbury Road.

These statements are extracted from the POCD (pages 62-68) and clearly reflect critical priorities established through the POCD process. While the Board of Selectmen does not have direct responsibility for ensuring that the noted priorities are achieved, there is an important role to be played by the Board in maintaining focus on these objectives and supporting the community in achieving this shared vision.

  • Quality of life considerations, including specifically (i) improving bike and pedestrian linkages throughout Wilton, especially connecting neighborhoods to Wilton Center/villages and other commercial areas, schools, active and passive recreation areas, and the NRVT, (ii) conserving/enhancing open space and greenways (including creating a River Walk and accessible greenway system throughout Wilton), and (iii) preserving Wilton’s rural character, historic resources, and cultural landscapes.

The current Wilton community has benefited from the efforts and investments of prior Wilton residents/leaders, and current town leadership has a responsibility to continue the legacy of preserving the special character of Wilton. The growth and redevelopment that is coming to Wilton must be balanced and must include forward-looking amenities and investments.

  • Improve and maintain town-owned facilities and services in a fiscally prudent manner.

There are important decisions to be made regarding the town’s facilities, including specifically the Town Hall complex and the new police headquarters, and I believe that I can make meaningful contributions to navigating these issues.

  • Sustainability issues and initiatives.

The POCD speaks to sustainability opportunities and priorities in different ways and in different contexts (e.g., attention to open space opportunities and responsibilities, River Walk/bike and pedestrian pathways, water resources, energy conservation, waste reduction, household composting, etc.) I believe that prioritizing these issues and delivering on these opportunities is important to the future of our town, and it would be a priority for me.

In sum, I believe that I have demonstrated through my prior town service that I am respectful, prepared and thoughtful in my work on behalf of the town, and I would welcome the opportunity as a member of the Board of Selectman to work to realize the goals that we set for ourselves in the POCD — goals that, if achieved, will position the town for much future success.

Op-Ed Paid for by the Wilton Democratic Town Committee, Jane Rinard, Treasurer.