Information here on CT Plan taken
website - to go directly to the complete document, link immediately
CONNECTICUT PLAN OF
AND DEVELOPMENT 2013-2018 (DRAFT):
Draft C&D Plan 2013-2018
Locational Guide Map link below (click on the
blow-up of Weston)
MUST READ DOCUMENT
- WESTON WATER RESOURCE GUIDE; AND TABLE OF CONTENTS TO 2013-2018
DRAFT STATE PLAN OF C&D? Here are "car tax" and "statewide property tax" stories.
HOT LINKS: Updating
what is happening in the land use field
SUBURBAN REDEVELOPMENT IN 21ST
does this fit into the CT State Plan 2013-2018?
Research, insurance companies, big farma research in CT shrink...new
mini-cities to replace them?
Simsbury Facing 'Big' Problem:
The Office Complex Left Behind
Towns Lose Tenants From Sizable Corporate Campuses, Look For Ways To
The Hartford Courant
By KENNETH R. GOSSELIN
7:57 AM EST, November 24, 2013
From the landmark Heublein Tower, the scenic view of Simsbury shows
most properties as specks on the landscape — with the exception of one:
the sprawling suburban campus of The Hartford Financial Services
Group. Even from a distance there is no mistaking the 173-acre
and its 641,000-square-foot main building, the size of four Walmart
Now it's up for sale by The Hartford, which is looking to cut costs.
The huge parcel's fate will dictate the future direction of an entire
section of Simsbury — and have no small impact on the town's grand
list. The Hartford pays $1.6 million a year in property taxes.
site is the latest in a growing number of single-tenant suburban
campuses in the state and nationally that are rapidly becoming outmoded
as the space needs of corporations shrink.
"It's a little like when the Roman empire fell and the Barbarians came
in," Patrick Pinnell, a Hartford-area architect and planner, said.
"What do we do with all these temples?"
Husks Of Another Era
In the past decade, suburban corporate campuses around Connecticut —
some built as recently as the 1980s — have been abandoned. Technology
has replaced workers who once did routine data entry and other tasks.
Corporations are allowing an increasing number of employees to work
from home. And lean economic times have led companies to get along with
fewer employees. Health insurer Aetna demolished its 1.3
million-square-foot campus in Middletown in 2011, once touted as the
office park of the future. The 260-acre property remains on the market.
The town of Ridgefield bought the former Schlumberger-Doll
in 2011, after it sat vacant for five years. One of the buildings on
the campus was designed by Glass House architect Philip Johnson. Only
now is the town trying to sell off portions of 45-acre site to recoup
its $7 million investment. And in Groton, Pfizer is knocking down
750,000-square-foot research center amid a dramatic downsizing in the
"These large buildings after many years don't fit the typical size of
tenants in our current market," said Jonathan Putnam, a broker at
commercial real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield in
Experts say the era of the large, single-tenant office complex in the
suburbs is rapidly coming to an end. There are some exceptions, such as
state-subsidized Jackson Laboratories research complex in Farmington
that seeks to capitalize on being close to the University of
Connecticut Health Center.
The Hartford will continue to pay real estate taxes to Simsbury as long
as it owns the property. But the revenue will be drastically cut when
it vacates the property in the next few years, removing computers and
other taxable property. The money spent in town by workers at the 200
Hopmeadow St. complex also will dry up.
"The early 1980s was certainly significant with The Hartford coming to
Simsbury," Hiram Peck, the town's director of development, said. "The
hope is we will be successful in attracting other uses for the
property. And then that would be the next chapter for The Hartford's
Changing With The Times
The Hartford's arrival in Simsbury, on the banks of the Farmington
River, was preceded by a divisive debate in town between those
welcoming new, large-scale development and those who worried about
urbanization of the bedroom community. The issue was so hotly
contested that 3,000 residents jammed the town meeting to vote on the
matter. At that time, the town meeting was the largest in Simsbury's
The campus opened in 1984. At its height, The Hartford employed about
3,000 people at the complex, which includes a massive data center and a
building with three distinctive wings. The Hartford wouldn't say how
many workers are in Simsbury now, but in February, when the insurer
first announced its intentions to leave, there were about 1,500. Of the
sale, the insurer would only say the process was continuing.
The Hartford is a much different company than when it first arrived in
town. When the insurer built on land it bought from the town, it was
expanding its life insurance operations, which found a home in
Simsbury. Today, amid a dramatic restructuring set into motion by the
recent recession, The Hartford sold off portions of those operations
and is consolidating remaining workers at its Hartford headquarters and
a newer, smaller campus in Windsor.
When the $50 million complex in Simsbury was constructed for The
Hartford, it was the largest business center in the town. This time
around, the redevelopment of the property could be just as
This fall, the town, in conjunction with The Hartford, researched
possible uses for the property and came up with a myriad of options
that could mix bioscience research, technology or higher education with
a strong component of housing, possibly mixing single-family houses,
condominiums and apartments. Housing would be paired with shops,
restaurants and other services.
One option would return some of the property to farmland for growing
and harvesting fruits and vegetables. Peck said the redevelopment
essentially would create a new section of town. Housing options would
encourage workers to live in the same neighborhood so they could walk
The vision is far-reaching and would likely require a master developer,
Peck said. New zoning regulations are being written, and development
would likely take a decade or more. The wild card is the economy, and
uneven job growth could further stretch out the timetable. John
McCormick, executive vice president at commercial real estate services
firm CBRE/NE in Hartford, hired by the insurer to market the property,
said there has been early interest in it. He declined to identify the
McCormick said the redevelopment of a portion of the Cigna campus in
Bloomfield serves as one model. In 2003, the Emhart building, or North
Building, was demolished and in the years that followed apartments,
single-family houses, a golf course and shops rose on the site.
Retailers are a mix of national chains and local independent operators,
Studies by a consultant hired by the town — part of a "charette" —
shows Simsbury has similar potential, McCormick said. In addition, the
office building is easily divided for smaller tenants, he said.
"This is an underdeveloped site that has all sort of attributes that
could provide live, work and play opportunities," McCormick said.
'Urban Vibe In The 'Burbs'
Nationally, complexes like The Hartford's are increasingly being
reimagined as "small cities," said James Hughes, dean of the Edward J.
Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.
"You make it multi-use by surrounding it with other uses," Hughes said.
"What you're trying to do is create an urban vibe in the suburbs."
One recent example, Hughes said, is in Bridgewater, N.J., where a
1.2-million-square-foot office and research park formerly occupied the
Sanofi, the French pharmaceutical giant was purchased by a developer.
The developer wants to create a hotel, retail, restaurant and possibly,
In Connecticut, the redevelopment of the former Union Carbide
headquarters in Danbury took a similar course. The new owners of the
1.2 million-square-foot building, designed with pods to resemble a
molecule, have invested $20 million into the structure since buying it
for $74 million in 2009.
Aaron Smiles, director of corporate leasing for the owner, Matrix
Realty Group, based in Long Island, N.Y., said the complex — vacated by
Union Carbide after it was purchased by Dow Chemical in 2001 — already
had two major tenants when Matrix purchased the property:
pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim and Praxair, a former Union
Carbide division. Those tenants, still anchors, accounted for 45
percent of the complex, a plus, but there had been little investment in
the property by two owners that followed Union Carbide.
"You stepped into the building, and you were right back at Union
Carbide," Smiles said. "Nothing had been done. We started ripping
In four years, Smiles said, the building is now 75 percent occupied,
accommodating tenants who need as little a couple hundred square feet
to tenants of 100,000 square feet.
"We act as an incubator for large companies as well as small
companies," Smiles said. "This is now our flagship building."
Key to the makeover has been the addition of amenities: a
10,000-square-foot fitness center, child-care center with outdoor
playground, a massage therapist, a bank, a hair salon, a Starbucks and
a nail salon. The building also has been promoted for use for
conferences and wedding.
"It's a little city," Smiles said. "It's absolutely a little city."
How quickly such a redevelopment would be embraced by Simsbury remains
to be seen. Several years ago, residents turned out in force to oppose
big-box retail development just down the road on Hopmeadow
Hughes said redevelopment of sites such as the one in Simsbury can be
jarring, at least at first, for town residents.
"You're talking about intensifying the use," Hughes said. "It's not the
quiet facility surrounded by grass and trees anymore."
An early version of this story
mistakenly reported the annual tax payment on The Hartford's Simsbury
property. The assessed value is $44 million. The annual tax payment is
Copyright © 2013, The Hartford
Planning Organizations now to all be Councils of Governments by January
1, 2015. HVCEO-SWRPA
north-south transportation atudy.
CT Plan of Conservation and Development
Not much planned for Weston except recognition of an actual
"village center" - which in the CT Plan is suggested as a place to
locate "small scale" water and sewer
DOES THE RED MEAN IN MAP BELOW?
does the new
draft Plan of C&D by OPM mean for Weston (above right)? Check classification
no more "rural lands"
definitions in 2013.
- Why is most of Weston
"Priority Development" when it was "Rural Lands"
in 2005? Answer: Technology of tertiary treatment must have
improved since then...
- Weston's areas denoted in
this new draft C&D Plan for CT "Priority Development" - click here.
- Areas are set aside as
"Priority Conservation" for Weston in the same CT Plan.- click here. Compare Weston
and surrounding towns here.
white in Legend (look closely)and not
red - a drafting mistake? Or only
official if the Towns agree to it by October 2, 2012?
BELOW, PRIORITY DEVELOPMENT IN
REGION (SHADES OF RED TO PINK) IN DRAFT C&D PLAN
2013-2018 - THE ONLY GROWTH MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLE FOR
TO CT C&D PLAN 2005-2010 HERE
DRAFT Locational Guide Map 2013-2018 blowup (l)
and (r) priority development areas in
2013-2018; Can you make out the
orange spot meaning near Weston Center?
GROWTH MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLE #2 (click above for map blow up)
There have been some significant amendments to
planning statutes since the current State C&D Plan was adopted in
2005: Public Act 05-205 expands the definition of “funding” to include
“any form of assurance, guarantee, grant payment, credit, tax credit or
other assistance, including a loan, loan guarantee, or reduction in the
principal obligation of or rate of interest payable on a loan or a
portion of a loan”, as well as require OPM to develop recommendations
for the delineation of boundaries of “priority funding areas”. (CGS
Sec. 16a-35c through Sec. 16a-35h) Public Act 08-182 outlines new
performance-based planning and programming requirements.
Although this Draft includes examples of performance indicators for
measuring progress, OPM recognizes that there still needs to be broad
consensus developed around a set of meaningful and measurable
OPM views the establishment of benchmarks for each Growth Management
Principle as a longer term goal that will be addressed only after a
high degree of confidence has been developed around the baseline data
to be collected on the performance indicators. (CGS Sec. 16a-27(e))
Public Act 09-230 defines “principles of smart growth” and Public Act
10-138 requires state agencies to consider whether certain grant
application proposals comply with such principles. (CGS Sec. 4-37l)
Public Act 10-138 directs OPM to develop a new process for the
revision, adoption, implementation and amendment of the State C&D
Plan, and to submit a draft of such process to the Continuing
Committee. OPM submitted said report in January 2011 and has proceeded
to implement the new process accordingly, so that the “planning
policies of different levels of government are compared and differences
between such policies are reconciled with the purpose of attaining
compatibility between local, regional and state plans.”
A summary of this “Cross-Acceptance Process” is included below.
Due to the desire of many for a more bottom-up
the State C&D Plan revision process, OPM proceeded to implement the
new cross-acceptance process as described in its January 2011 report to
the Continuing Committee. Following the report’s submission, OPM
conducted initial outreach workshops over the next several months,
which are summarized in Attachment B. OPM incorporated its findings
from these workshops in the initial Draft 2013-2018 C&D Plan that
was submitted to the Continuing Committee in December 2011 for a
required 90-day review.
From January through March 2012, OPM proceeded to implement the plan
comparison phase of the cross-acceptance process. During this period,
OPM conducted fourteen regional workshops and various coordinating
meetings with state agencies, which are summarized in Attachment C. The
Continuing Committee opted not to comment during this early review
In total, 135 municipalities and 14 Regional Planning Organizations
(RPOs) participated in the voluntary plan comparison phase. The
participating municipalities and RPOs reviewed their respective plans
of conservation and development to determine the extent to which they
were compatible with the planning policies of the initial Draft C&D
Plan. That effort, combined with input from affected state agencies,
provided OPM with general consensus in support of the policies listed
under each Growth Management Principle. The outcome of the plan
comparison phase provided OPM with the basis for producing this revised
Draft C&D Plan for public review and comment.
The public comment period will run from May through September 2012 (NOW
OCT. 2), and OPM will coordinate with RPOs to schedule public hearings
in each of the state’s fourteen planning regions. In addition to the
statutory public hearing requirements, any municipality that wishes to
continue its participation in the voluntary cross-acceptance process
may request, through its RPO or other designated regional
cross-acceptance facilitator, an informal workshop to discuss any
element(s) of the Draft C&D Plan. Such workshops are intended to
provide local and regional officials with additional opportunities to
address any unresolved issues or to seek clarification on the Draft
C&D Plan before progressing to the plan negotiation phase of the
Upon conclusion of the public hearings in September 2012, OPM will
begin scheduling plan negotiation meetings when requested by an RPO or
other designated regional cross-acceptance facilitator on behalf of its
municipalities. These meetings are intended to address any remaining
unresolved issues before the regional and state negotiating entities
set out to draft an optional Statement of Agreements and Disagreements
for inclusion in OPM’s recommended Draft C&D Plan that will be
submitted to the Continuing Committee prior to the start of the 2013
legislative session. The inclusion of such statements in the
recommended Draft C&D Plan is intended to provide state legislators
with information pertaining to their constituent municipalities’ level
of support for the Draft 2013-2018 State C&D Plan when it is
considered for adoption by the General Assembly.
Growth Management Principle #6
The State C&D Plan is defined in CGS Section
“the text of such plan and any accompanying locational guide map.” In
order to address the new statutory requirements noted above, OPM is
taking a stepped approach to building consensus on potential changes to
both the text and map components of the Plan.
The text of the State C&D Plan is presented in a new
format that is built around six Growth Management Principles:
Not only do the Growth Management Principles serve as the
the State C&D Plan, but municipalities and RPOs must also consider
these principles when they update their respective plans of
conservation and development (CGS Sections 8-23 and 8-35a). Therefore,
it is important that the State C&D Plan clearly convey itself in a
manner that municipalities, RPOs and state agencies can all relate to.
Each Growth Management Principle begins with a brief summary
of its objectives. This is followed by: A list of relevant policy
statements that provide the basis for state agencies to assess the
consistency of their proposed plans and actions with the State C&D
Plan (Note: OPM recognizes that a number of policy statements can apply
to more than one Growth Management Principle; however, there was an
intentional effort to limit such cross-references. Whenever a
state agency must make a determination of consistency for a proposed
action with the State C&D Plan, it shall not be limited to citing
any policies contained in the Plan – regardless of the particular
Growth Management Principle under which the policy statement appears.);
A list of plans prepared by state agencies under state or federal law,
which are reviewed by OPM for consistency with the State C&D Plan
prior to their adoption.
Links to such agency plans are intended to provide interested
with access to more detailed information and policy guidance on various
subject matters; A list of examples of performance indicators for
measuring progress in implementing the State C&D Plan, including
financial indicators; A reference to relevant Principles of Smart
Growth, as defined in Public Act 09-230 and listed in Attachment D.
This reference is included to assist state agencies in complying with
CGS Section 4-37l, which requires agencies to consider whether certain
grant applications under their purview comply with some or all of the
Principles of Smart Growth; and A map that reflects the geographic
areas generally supported by the policies of the particular Growth
Management Principle. Each map is based on a limited number of criteria
and, therefore, is intended for illustrative purposes only.
In addition to the changes to the text noted above, the
Guide Map component of the State C&D Plan has also undergone
significant changes. With the priority funding area legislation set to
take effect upon adoption of the 2013-2018 State C&D Plan, OPM
recognizes that there may be greater interest in the Plan’s Locational
Guide Map. As a result, OPM has devoted a separate chapter to the
Locational Guide Map, which describes the role of the Map, its use and
application, and the criteria for delineating the boundaries of
Priority Funding Areas.
Finally, Attachment A lists a number of Examples of State
Agency-Administered Programs. This list was developed with input from
state agencies and serves as a general guide for agency staff to locate
relevant policies for consideration when determining the consistency of
their proposed actions. Attachment A is also intended to help fulfill
some of the new requirements of CGS Section 16a-27(e), such as
identifying potential funding sources and the entity responsible for
SIGNIFICANCE DOES THE MAP HAVE THIS TIME AROUND?
LOCATIONAL GUIDE MAP ("LGM")
CGS Section 16a-31(a) requires state agencies to determine the
consistency of their proposed actions with the State C&D Plan. CGS
Section 16a-25 defines the State C&D Plan as “the text of such plan
and any accompanying locational guide map.” Whenever a state agency is
uncertain of a proposed action’s consistency with the State C&D
Plan, it shall request an advisory report from OPM under CGS Section
Past revisions of the State C&D Plan included policies in both the
Plan text and the locational guide map (LGM), in order to assist state
agencies in determining the consistency of their proposed actions. The
LGM policies included four “development” classifications (i.e.,
Regional Centers, Neighborhood Conservation Areas, Growth Areas &
Rural Community Centers) and four “conservation” classifications
(Existing Preserved Open Space, Preservation Areas, Conservation Areas
& Rural Lands).
The existence of both text and map policies increasingly caused
confusion over recent years, leading some individuals to believe that
the LGM alone could be relied upon for determining a proposed action’s
consistency with the State C&D Plan. This was never intended to be
the case, nor is it the case with this new LGM.
Role of the Locational Guide Map
The new requirements associated with the Priority Funding
(PFA) statutes have necessitated a shift in the role of the LGM. First
and foremost, the LGM no longer reflects its traditional policy-based
classifications noted above. Instead, the LGM more generally reflects
the predominant existing conditions associated with the map criteria
used to delineate the boundaries of PFAs (see below).
In order to more appropriately reflect the diversity of state agency
administered programs, such as identified in Appendix A, OPM recommends
that the LGM criteria be used to separate PFAs into both Priority
Development Areas and Priority Conservation Areas. The intended result
of this distinction is a better integration of the LGM with the Growth
Management Principles and associated policies in the text.
This new role is intended to serve two purposes: 1) it reinforces the
policies contained in the text of the State C&D Plan as the primary
determinant of consistency for a proposed action; and 2) it ensures
that any LGM reference is a secondary consideration only after a
proposed action has been deemed consistent with the policies of the
State C&D Plan. This will allow state agencies to operate with
sufficient discretion and transparency, as afforded to them in CGS
Use and Application of the
After a sponsoring agency determines that a proposed
consistent with the C&D Plan policies, it shall consult the LGM to
determine whether the proposed action falls within a PFA.
The PFA exception process provided in CGS Section 16a-35d
that the scale of the State C&D Plan’s LGM cannot accurately
reflect the land use detail of a municipal plan of conservation and
development prepared under CGS Section 8-23. The PFA exception process
provides a mechanism for state agencies to consider funding projects
that have been deemed consistent with the State C&D Plan policies
and are locally supported, even though they may not be located in a
PFA. CGS Section 16a-35d(c) requires agencies to report annually on
grants provided for such projects located outside of a PFA, and the
While the LGM attempts to make a general distinction between
Development Areas and Priority Conservation Areas, the PFA exception
process enables an agency such as the Department of Agriculture to
support community-based agriculture in urban areas and, likewise, an
agency such as the Department of Economic and Community Development
(DECD) to support rural community development, when appropriate.
Similarly, in areas that do not contain conservation or development
criteria (i.e., Undesignated Areas), an agency may also consider
funding a proposed action that has been deemed consistent with the
policies of the State C&D Plan and has fulfilled the procedural
requirements of the PFA exception process. An agency may also exercise
its discretion to not fund a project, even one that has been deemed
consistent with the State C&D Plan and is located in the
Finally, the definition of “growth-related project” in CGS
16a-35c provides several examples of state agency actions that are
exempt from the PFA requirements, including: maintenance, repair,
additions or renovations to existing facilities, acquisition of land
for public safety telecommunications towers, parks, conservation and
open space, and acquisition of agricultural, conservation and historic
easements; funding for certain single or multi-family housing projects
and projects that promote fair housing choice and racial and economic
integration; projects at existing facilities needed to comply with
state environmental or health laws or regulations; school construction
projects funded by the Department of Education; libraries, municipally
owned property or public buildings used for government purposes.
Locational Guide Map
Priority Development Areas are delineated based on conditions
exist at the Census Block level, which is the smallest geographical
unit delineated by the U.S. Census Bureau. Census Blocks are
statistical areas which in Connecticut are typically bounded by visible
features, such as streets, roads, streams, and railroad lines.
Generally, Census Blocks in denser urban communities are small in area,
such as a block in a city that is bounded on all sides by streets.
However, Census Blocks in suburban and rural areas may be large, or
irregular, and bounded by a variety of features, such as roads or
streams. The use of Census Blocks is intended to allow for greater
flexibility in the application and use of the LGM reflecting
characteristics of an area. For example, a specific Census Block may be
partially served by public water and/or sewer, and thus the entire
block would appear to be served by these utilities. Any such
limitations in the use of Census Blocks in this LGM should not be
construed as influencing local land use and zoning decisions or
municipal plans of conservation and development; nor should it create
any expectation for future utility service where none currently exists.
Priority Conservation Areas
Priority Conservation Areas are delineated based on more natural
conditions that reflect environmental or natural resource values. In
contrast to the Priority Development Areas, which are based on man-made
Census Blocks, Priority Conservation Areas are based on existing
environmental conditions, such as soils or elevation, which typically
do not have visible boundaries. Like Priority Development Areas, these
areas are not defined based on zoning or land use, but rather the
presence of natural resources or areas that contribute to the
conservation or protection of those resources.
Areas – Areas that meet the criteria of both Priority
Development Areas and Priority Conservation Areas are classified as
Balanced Growth Areas. State agencies that propose certain actions in
these areas must provide balanced consideration of all factors in
determining the extent to which it is consistent with the policies of
the State C&D Plan. For example, a state-sponsored development
action (e.g., business expansion) proposed in a Balanced Growth Area
that is also characterized as a Drinking Water Supply Watershed would
need to consider the integrity of the drinking water supply in
determining the consistency of its proposed action. Likewise, a
state-sponsored conservation action (e.g., farmland preservation) in a
Balanced Growth Area that includes water and sewer utilities would need
to consider the viability of the operation as well as other local and
2) Village Growth
– In the state’s more rural municipalities, traditional village centers
are considered to be Priority Funding Areas. The inclusion of Village
Growth Areas is intended to recognize the unique characteristics and
development needs of these areas, in accordance with CGS Section
16a-35e. Village Growth Areas are based on the boundaries of the former
Rural Community Center classification from the 2005-2010 State C&D
Plan. Such boundaries will be modified, as necessary, upon
consideration of municipal input and public comments.
3) Undesignated Areas
– Undesignated Areas on the LGM are typically rural in nature and lack
the criteria necessary for being delineated as either Priority
Development or Priority Conservation Areas.
Areas are classified by Census Blocks that include:
Note: Additional priority is assigned to a Census Block that
meets any of the above criteria and is located within a Distressed
Municipality, Targeted Investment, or Public Investment Community
- Designation as an Urban Area or Urban Cluster
Census Boundaries that intersect a ½ mile buffer surrounding
existing or planned mass-transit stations
- Existing or planned sewer service
- Existing or planned water service Local bus service
- Core Forest Areas Greater than 250 acres
Land Cover Dataset
- Existing or potential drinking water supply
- Aquifer Protection Areas
- Wetland Soils greater than 25 acres
- Prime or locally important agricultural soils
- Category 1, 2, or 3 Hurricane Inundation Zones
- 100 year Flood Zones Critical Habitats