P&Z voted to approve AVCC new doors to their veranda, left above;
Entertained request by Sustainability and Garden Club to include "pollinator pathway" in the Town Plan, right, above.
Discussed the research to date on including Village District concept in zoning modifications and
Reviewed the Western Connecticut Council of Governments new regional Plan - and will continue to do so.
Approved minutes and discussion of whether minutes should do more than just record actions.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Planning & Zoning Thursday January 2, 2020 at 7:15pm, Town Hall
Annex - agenda.
We will not attend dues to conflict with Selectmen. But we did inquire from responsible sources what happened...
POCDwas approved (transmitted to Selectmen), and a Public Hearing date of April 4, 2020 set, no time or location yet?).
OUR COMMENT BEFORE THE DEC. 2nd P&Z MEETING THAT WAS CANCELED BY SNOW
Please note that only the Commissioners have seen the first draft that
we know of, so far. When will it be public? Well, if you are
present Monday night, you can listen to their discussion. However, once
discussed in a public meeting, is it not a "public document" as far as
F.O.I.A. is concerned?" No problema. We weren't planning to
go to the meeting because of weather forecast - canceled at 3pm.
RE-SCHEDULED TO DEC. 9th - ALL COMMISSIONERS PRESENT PLUS CONSERVATION REP
We attended P&Z to hear about their recommendations for changes to
the draft document produced by Milone & MacBroom. Although we
could have claimed F.O.I. privileges and forced the Commission to
send me an electronic copy of the text file and the file with maps and charts, we did not do so.
Changes that will be made are:
Sustainability Committee added wording as provided by Chair. including mention of Bronze status as a sustainable community.
Town Counsel wording (we think this was about Village District, but we have no way of being sure of that);
Wednesday the P&Z
Chair. and perhaps another member and we think staff will visit Milone
& MacBroom in their offices in New Haven. The order of the
charts and tables was discussed.
The January 2, 2020 P&Z
meeting will be where the Commission approves the final version. A
public hearing must be held after 65 days of "public comment."
Board of Selectmen will be sent copies for their approval and review. Changes may be made prior to adopting it.
BELOW WHAT I HEARD COMMISSIONERS ASK OR COMMENT ABOUT
The Commissioners then
began with comments first on the Center. Village District
mentioned several times. This discussion was still going on - but
winding down - when we left after 90 minutes.
As we have already thought,
the Plan is to be implemented immediately (at least the part P&Z is
responsible for) through changes in zoning.
There is a long chapter on affordable housing and
alternative housing opportunities. It was suggested to have small
houses on one-acre lots. Care should be taken to understand the
oranges" character of the varying parts of state statute.
Discussion of moving the Onion Barn. Pro-con (recommendation
softened after debate - more than one commissioner pointed out that
there is no need to
move it for the reasons stated in the draft};
What kind of Senior and/or Community center to have (joint one preferred
because that's what the Town Survey showed - we note that the new Town
Plan leans heavily on this survey).
are they safe in Weston?
And how about the bus depot?
Commissioners thought the Plan Draft was very well written.
We left at @8:45pm.
PLANNING & ZONING HAD REGULAR MEETING MONDAY - Oct. 7, 2019 at 7:15pm in the Town Hall Annex
1. Discussion with Sustainability Committee (Amy Kalafa) and
2. Town Attorney reports on "village district."
Can be included in the Town Plan without regulations spelled out (Ira
Bloom and his partner pic) – report submitted here.
3. Minor matter: Driveway on Briar Oak Drive
partial paving to be checked by Town Engineer but approved otherwise.
4. Code Enforcement language change discussion to continue.
Draft to be completed by Milone & MacBroom in October,
Reviewed by Commission members individually in November and
Made public on December 2nd.
Sent to Selectmen who will hold a Public Hearing...
LAST TOWN PLAN WORKSHOP, 7:30pm WMS Library - our report.
SPECIAL PLANNING & ZONING COMMISSION MEETING
Thursday September 12, 2019
Town Hall Annex
AGENDA TOWN GREEN 8-24 POSITIVE REPORT
Later in agenda, discussion re: which other entities to assist with the Plan Update. Power Point.
The "8-24" process (from State Statutes)
P&Z deals with the Town of Weston's proposals for action on its own property.
Weston exempted itself from zoning on its own lands in the 1970's.
However, P&Z in its zoning capacity may designate such property as "commercial" (i.e. - retail, offices).
noted, other items (bond releases) and informal discussion about use of
"riding stable" special permit accomplished.
Long discussion about "Center" plan. As well as discussion of who
else in Town government should be involved. Including
Housing (elderly) reuse of various properties including some at "4-corners" to strengthen "walkable" Town Center;
traffic investigation of capacity of roadways at peak hours including
intersections (turning movements), limiting curb cuts, etc
And what it means if "build-out and they don't come?"
Survey and Research
Committee has done cross-tabs (not released to the public as far as we
know) of their Citizen Survey 2018 results.
Also, possibility that Plan funds, although not for zoning
modifications, might be re-purposed for data support for Center Plan.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Special Meeting on Monday June 24th at 7:30pm in the Weston Middle School Library.
We counted @38 in attendance for this "Town Center Plan" presentation,
which is now ONLINE HERE.
Planning & Zoning Chair. announced the intention of receiving the
report and hold further discussions at the Commission meetings (Town
Hall Annex) and possibly "Special Meetings" in
other locations as fitting for the topic. The P&Z will be
entertaining changes zoning in 2020 to reflect some of the recommendations in the
full, final Milone & MacBroom report.
(L) Photograph by M.S. Wirtenberg, 1987. (R) Watercolor (part) by M.S. Wirtenberg, @20 years later
COBB'S MILL INN DISCUSSION TO BE CONTINUED MAY 6th...
With Town Attorney present the full exploration of what might be done to
assist in the rebirth of Cobb's Mill Inn was had with contract
purchaser who desires to restore it.
P&Z AGENDA included Weston Library 8-24, approval of minutes and general Town Plan discussion...
WHAT ADDITION? What is tree obscuring on this rendering?
We did not attend this meeting due to conflict with Board of Finance
review of Board of Selectmen's budget...but our sources - three of them - confirmed a positive 8-24.
Beginning 15 minutes earlier Tuesday...next presentation by Milone & MacBroom - at Weston Senior Center.
MONDAY ACTION ON...
TOWN HALL/FIRE STATION/EMS 8-24 approved. Receipt of Library
addition application, review ramp Historical Society.
Pre-application discussion on Cobb's Mill Inn.
SPECIAL PLANNING & ZONING COMMISSION MEETING
Monday, January 14, 2019 at 7:15pm
Town Hall Annex
Nature Conservancy item withdrawn
On a 6-1 "vote" or show of hands, one "no" from a member who questioned preempting the Town Plan project by taking Town Land
off the table, P&Z positive on 8-24 for Fromson-Strassler.as
potential for open space grant via multi-town A.L.T. Various
members had astute observations related to what we want and what the
people want, for Weston, in the future. And the importance of
defining our borders in green (my summary of what was said).
The public was invited to speak and they did.
JANUARY 7, 2019 MEETING WILL INCLUDE MILONE & MACBROOM PRESENTATION - major part of the long meeting.
AGENDA INCLUDES TOWN PLAN AS WELL AS "IMPROVING TRANSPARENCY AND
COMMUNICATION" - P&Z goes over every point carefully and
actually makes good suggestions to those
present. They are restricted in what they can do, but showed
great willingness to do what they can re: "P.O.C.D." meetings.
"REQUIRED READING"...it has been our experience, regarding "projections"
that the Board of Ed always like to err on the high side.
PROJECTIONS IN APPENDIX
In addition, the Chair. referred all members (everyone was present) to the 2017 Facilities Study from the Board of Education ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
TO THE "PRINTER" A.S.A.P.: Regarding the returns, in a universe of
10,000, a return of 587 would get you 95% confidence, according to Surveymonkey.
The Survey Committee is doing testing to see how the questions and the whole process is working.
The main business on this Special Meeting agenda was a Public Hearing on
a revised or re-subdivision - actually a reduction to redrawn property
lines and only one new house. The underlying subdivision
approved originally in 1991 remains. This is off Godfrey Rd west hard by
Pent Road. A very wet 8 plus acres. Picture story below:
ATTORNEY AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONSULTANT
New 4-bedroom home site with access not off Godfrey Rd (a good thing in terms of reducing curb cuts on busy cross town street).
NEIGHBOR ACROSS THE STREET
Stumps dumped in wetland - can P&Z put a condition on removal?
Answer - no. Conservation Commission/Officer approval needed to
permit applicant to do this.
Unanimous approval after closing Public Hearing, Lot development
plan revision approved.
Bond released 99 Norfield Rd. one of two lots. Next meeting
Nov. 5th - no release of draft questions to Senior Center.
TOWN PLAN UPDATE REPORT BY CHAIRMAN:
Survey Committee to meet October 29 (Town of Weston website indicates at
7pm in Town Hall Meeting Room). Questions in e-mail survey.that
might help with Plan to be included?. Will this be on Town
Postcard to everyone in
E-mail survey to go out Nov. 15 return by Dec. 15.
Committee architect/member asks about where sidewalk plans by the the Town might include additions to this new feature.
(FYI - Presently the only sidewalks are in from to the high school and the Middle School and at Weston Center. Period.)
Presentation by applicant, questions from P&Z. Neighbor spoke plus
About Town, Public Hearing closed, vote to approve (unan.)
DRAINAGE STRUCTURES TO COMPLY WITH E.P.A.
Above left and center is history - @2005-2006. Paving proposed, traffic
modifications to comply with MS4 STORM WATER REGULATIONS.
Commission ready to start work on Town Plan at a Special Meeting
re: Community Survey - this will be first.
Meetings related to Town Plan posted for Tuesday, September 4, 2018, all in the Town Hall Meeting Room:
DONE - 9am, P&Z invite the Selectmen to discuss special appropriation of $27k for Town Plan consultant - gained approval.
6:45pm, P&Z meets to first have Executive Session and then come out to vote on consultant selection - Milone & MacBroom.
7:30pm, P&Z, Town Hall Meeting Room: Posted so that everyone could attend and speak
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ PLANNING & ZONING
Special Meeting August 23, 2018, 7:15pm (Thursday)
Town Hall COMMISSION ROOM.
THIS IS WHAT AN EXECUTIVE SESSION LOOKS LIKE... We attended P&Z tonight, August 23rd. As noted elsewhere, Weston is a beautiful place.
5 of 7 members (including its three lawyer-members plus the Land Use Director who is also a lawyer).
In the waning days of summer vacation, the hardworking members of the Commission met behind closed doors in Executive
Session on selecting a firm to assist with the Town Plan update..
3 DOWN, 10 TO GO - COULD SOME OF THIS MONEY GO TOWARD THE PLAN?
While we were waiting for a resumption of the meeting, we took another
look at the TAX SALE board (Sept. 12, 2018 is the date of the
event.) We did some quick math: Of the ten (10) properties
left, the total value of tax due appears to be north of $1,260,000 (not
including additional charges for other bills due to the Town of Weston,
After @50 minutes, we waved adieu from the walkway outside the
Commission Room and left P&Z to their discussion about the Town Plan
AGENDA: Still no "white smoke" at P&Z...in other words, no decision on Town Plan consultant that we've heard.
Receipt of application for re-subdivision, part of previous "Wild Things" subdivision.
Approval of lot
development plan on difficult lot;
And preliminary non-binding presentation of special
permit application for museum/art space. Proposed for location
near Historical Society. "Why not in the center of town?" some
AT P&Z JULY 9, 2018
minute pre-application presentation for Village District.
Implication was "please don't come in with an application until we're
finished with the Plan" and I understood it to mean nobody
was interested in encouraging a piece by piece approach to making
change...until they had a picture of where the Town was headed overall.
TOWN PLAN CONSULTANT INTERVIEWS We did not attend any of these. Please refer to July 23rd minutes now online: http://www.westonct.gov/media/file/P%26ZMtgMinutes7.23.18.pdf
After Election 2017, balance of power on P&Z shifts...
P&Z AGENDA OCT. 2, 2017, 7:15pm, portables.
Looks interesting to me! In addition, discussion about Town Plan
update. And Legislative update on non-conforming uses (as in now they are
"forever for sure").
SO HOW CLOSE TO REALITY ARE ALL THESE CONCEPTS? Planning & Zoning agenda discussed Cobb's Mill Inn. What would be possible under zoning.And speaking of as-of-right zoning, TEMPORARY HEALTH CARE STRUCTURES law unless opt-out provision taken by Selectmen. Plans for the future.
Members of P&Z plus staff.
FIRST TOPIC: Temporary Health Care Structures as of right. Public Hearing opened and closed with one speaker from the public plus exofficiary member comments.
SECOND TOPIC: Cobb's Mill Inn possibilities with interested citizens listening to proposal as well as the Commission.
THIRD TOPIC: Legislation re: Non-Conforming Uses.
Which relates above. In short, CT trying to make law and prevent
non-conforming use from being extinguished.
WESTON — Water samples from nearly half of more than 100 private wells
in Weston have been found to contain unsafe levels of arsenic.
That is according to a new report from the U.S. Geological Survey which
found that water from private wells across the state — including those
in Weston, Wilton and
Stamford — contain levels of arsenic and uranium
that exceed the the safety threshold set by the EPA... What does this mean for those who don't speak "groundwater?"
Excellent report in The DAY: http://www.theday.com/article/20170503/NWS01/170509755
BUILT ENVIRONMENT MEANS URBAN DESIGN. CAPITAL BUDGET FY'18. FORM-BASED: Model of "new town planning" project design, "Weston
Environmental Resources Manuel" Protection Zones; 2015 aerial photo of Weston. Besides
protecting schools, we like to protect open space - now "active" type, too!
LOTS OF INPUT FROM TOWNS AND COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS STATE PLAN OF C&D COMMITTEE PUBLIC HEARING APRIL 23, 2018, HARTFORD The fact that only one individual came to the Capitol decries the the fact that this was a "ground up" planning effort. HINT: Click on MAP above left for actual CT Plan of C&D
2018-2023 map and click above right to make layering legible PLUS
traditional LEGEND OUR SUMMARY: The big changes had come last time. It was emphasized that the LOCATIONAL MAPis better this time
LEGISLATIVE HAMMER ON INCLUSIONARY ZONING - LINK TO WHAT HAPPENED
In advance of this Public Hearing we assume there will be cries related to enforcing changes made in the 2013-2018 CT PLAN
Commissioner Kalafa and Dan Morley, Ass't . Commissioner and staff.
State P.O.C.D. emphasizes all plans in state government are coordinated.
State projects over $200,000 is limit for State Agencies comply.
Priority Funding Areas.
Exception process allows local plan to take precedence.
This time around, you need 2 items of the five to be considered urban. What are the five?
ZONING/HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES - CLIMATE CHANE (Fairfield Representative). MULTI-FAMILY HOUSING DEFINITION
Deed restrictions get in the way - Sen. Osten. 8-30G gets in the
way. HA HA - "accessory housing" included by Rep. Lemar.now!
Only one person spoke at the public hearing other than OPM.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON STATE PLAN OF CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT
Wednesday, August 16. 2017, 12 noon to 1:30pm, L.O.B.
Dan Morley, others pictured on this page give testimony.
Plan of what state is planning:
GROWTH MANAGEMENT PLANS
LOCATIONAL GUIDE MAP
NEXT SESSION LOOK FOR PLANNING POWERS TO REVERT TO REGIONS/COGS DISCUSSION
Glastonbury open space funding grant decried (State Bond Commission
grant to make adffordable housing site into conservation property funded
by the state).
One-pager requested before public hearings and press releases...and social media contact to other legislators.
OUR REVIEW OF THE STATE PLAN OF C&D, 2018-2023 BEGINS NOW (AUGUST 18. 2017)...
WHAT IS IN THE NEW CONNECTICUT PLAN OF CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT FOR WESTON? WHAT DOES WHITE AREA STAND FOR?WE'LL TRY TO FIND OUT!
Logo above for planning layer cake - State, Regional and Local.
June 12, 2019 meeting of CT COGS
Summer School - focus because Short Session coming! JMO.
New Chair. (l) proposes that his organization offer up legislation
"ready to go" because this will be a Short Session in 2020 (Feb -
Discussion ensued. Including thanks from OPM for COGs help
especially in the waning weeks of the Long Session. He remarked
that they had been caught off guard by vehemence of opposition
on regional school issue.
Others suggested the time frame was too tight to skip work in the summer
if this plan ("ready to go") were to be successful. Others who
spoke don't have staff or time to allot to it - actually, having
worked for a small regional planning agency myself many years ago,
accounting for time must be able to fit into a budget whose sources of
funds could be Federal, State or local dues. Not easy to
find $$ to pay for this kind of effort.
BINGO! GOOD FOR WESTCOG!
One regional planner noted that his agency feels that the issue of "not
having counties" is worth exploring as related to CT not being eligible
for Federal Funds dedicated for that intermediate level.
Economist retained to analyze how funds are dispensed re: CT regions' eligibility for some of this$$.. Meeting 58 minutes long - we watched online after the fact.Capitol Region not present
T.A.M.P. and the U.S. Census and funding entities
Karen Riemer, Transportation Assets Management Plan ("TAMP").
Questions/answers - go to website. Presentation was not in format
for power point (fine with me!!!). Great point on A.C.S.
How about it? What's up for equivalent of "counties" issue?. ACS could pick up changes one point.
SECOND TUESDAYS (NEW DATE) 9:30am
Adopted schedule for monthly meetings for 2019. Election of officers (new Chair. above right).
CTCOGS: We tuned "live" in for the last item and found that:
There was agreement to meet on Tuesdays in 2019 but the 2nd Tues.
No agreement about whether they would meet every month and
One suggestion that they alternate meeting around the state and not meet at the L.O.B. every time...
Watched the meeting in full as a re-run.
FWIW - Do you know why they meet at the L.O.B. in Hartford at all? Do the math! Below some backup material...
In case you needed further evidence... So depressing - not the Pew report, but the fact that the CT COG
wants to meet in locations other than L.O.B. Don't they see their
new funding source, the State-wide car tax, coming?
CT ASSOCIATION OF COUNCIL'S OF GOVERNMENT meeting May 15, 2018 at the L.O.B.
DONKEYS TOO - TRANSPORT ANIMALS HAVE A FUTURE IN CONNECTICUT
Having watched the meeting in full I am reminded of where regional
planning works well - when problems cross borders and take lots of $$..
CROG (LEFT, STAR)
This was a long discussion about how best to divide the money in the
newly adjusted CT budget. OPM wanted to know in a few weeks.
CROG had its ideas.
WestCOG reports staff
departures because cost of living in Fairfield County too high and rural
regions need every penny for "matching" any grants
Just our thought:
This all reminds me of a way out from under mandated uniformity from
Hartford. Until and unless HB5045 with lots more teeth passes,
Actually, I'll bet that
the next step - oops, there is an election coming, so hold that thought -
is to reconstitute regional boundaries merging 9 regions into 5 - along
"Work with ACIR" on the one hand, and apply for LOCIP directly (faster turnaround but more subject to politics???)
Deck chairs on the Titanic meeting - which has a connection to the
underlying meaning of Connecticut Regional Planning - transportation
rules, even with COGs only.
Town don't have to wonder until next year... Council of Small Town reports on the Session...we tuned in at the
very end of live broadcast. Watch it in its entirety the next morning on CT-N. Sec. 563 & 564 of the Implementer more unfunded mandates? (JMO). I think they missed some stuff...
CT ASSOCIATION OF COUNCIL'S OF GOVERNMENT meeting February 20, 2018 at the L.O.B.
DOOM & GLOOM FROM SEC'Y. BARNES (L)
Very sad. Cut, cut cut (65%) spoken by another COG;
Regionalization at stake (speed of it). Smaller regions speak of
CCROG 46 towns we think.
15% dues 40% state transportation $$. Increased dues over and
over. CTDOT cuts coming. More than a million people in
CCROG. Back office initiatives. Front end investment property - he
agres with Francis.
Seed money for studies not gonna happen (my impression).
Established way to seek outside money.
Be allowed to be considered equivalent of county government for purposes of grants.
Meeting adjourned (@one hour) - we tuned in live maybe 10 minutes in....
WESTON IS A MEMBER OF WESTCOG
Great give and take over whither or wither state funding will go and who's making decisions now?
OF HELP TO ITTY BITTY TOWNS
Regional elections staff not funded by Sec'y of the State's Office. (This actually came first.)
Adjourned five minutes early!!! ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
LOVELY IDEA FOR A CONNECTICUT NOT IN CRISIS A.P.A. as an organization presentation about how to reintroduce planning into communities.We note one of the regional planners mentions he is no longer a member of A.P.A.
Looking for a place itself now that regional planning may be at odds with
local plans.and other entities who do the actual implementation.
THE STATEOF CT Considering
that no one knows what will be in the Implementer, OPM correct in not
answering; OFA more able to reply, since the obvious answer is "it
has to balance."
NEWS: "...A proposal to repeal municipal property taxes on motor
vehicles starting in July 2018 was stripped from the plan after city and
town leaders objected to the loss
of $800 million in revenue with no state plan to compensate for the
loss. But legislative leaders said the state cap on motor vehicle taxes
would rise from 37 mills to 39 this fiscal year,
and to 45 mills in 2018-19..." Quote from CT MIRROR 10-25-17.
News of desire by municipalities for regional cooperation (where it saves $$) from WestCOG; others. Those around the table note from experience that regions should not hold
their breath waiting for funding. The regional planner who mentioned that he was no longer
an A.P.A. member reminded all those present that regional planners that @80% of their
budgets were from local contributions and Federal $$, not from CT.
Next meeting Nov. 21.
Chair. of CCOGs Well, that was a good meeting to watch on CT-N this morning! Now we understand what is
happening to data collection and why one can't rely on "surveys" even
using government data anymore!
The more robots make the calls directed by programs, the simpler it becomes...
But I want to know what the algorithm says!
What is the replacement protocol?
Data return % reliability?
Next, the bad news. Oh, I mean the odds on having a biennial budget
before the clock strikes 12 June 30th...
Look for next week (parties in
the budget building meeting elsewhere as this very time, lobbyist
INVITED TO SPEAK
Data and surveys. To be provided regionally (not free).
ITEM #2 - STATUS OF THE BUDGET (PLANNING GRANTS); BUDGET RECISION; SWEEPS
O.P.M.: No R.T.I.P. (regional transportation planning) grants
going forward. Municipal Revenue Sharing? No but you never
can tell (my words here).
C.O.S.T. - car tax, town aid road (in bond package); MBR - same
amount for education (high performing districts) expires June 30 -
Legislative Leaders meeting today...
CT ASSOCIATION OF COGS IN THE GLARING LIGHTS OF CT-N, FRONT AND CENTER
Jan. 17, 2017
Meeting begins - Jim Butler, Chair.
LISTENING AND WAITING HIS SPOT TO REMARK ON LEGISLATIVE MEETING OF WESTCOG
Consolidate health districts: Not going to go forward this
Session. 2nd draft with COG (72 to 9 Health Districts).
Crumbling foundations issue especially in eastern part of state.
New Jersey planning model; CT Tourism. Aerial photos
statewide reported has delay.
OUT OF EASTERN CT STATE COLLEGE - Remember them from "Energy Improvement District" study many years ago?
New State Plan of C&D/
Sustainability working together. Working with DOT. Regional
informational meeting ready for its close up Mr. DeMille in the
Fall.2017. New Jersey a model for sustainability...
Discusses new 2nd draft of CT Plan of C&D and hopes to share - up on
OPM website, we think we heard...certainly CROG said whatever they are
thinking about is on theirs!.
PRIORITIES PRIORITIES...WHAT DO PEOPLE WANT FOR A PLAN IN 2017?
OK...lots of photos and we left early (after almost three
hours). First announcement by P&Z chairman (right at right, above) - "This is not the
dog park public hearing."
We don't envy the Town TV guy Richard - he has a two camera, three and
one half hour video to edit - with no lunch break during video job, either. Editing must be done in real time - we can't pay him enough for this!!!
First step in drawing a new Plan is reviewing old Plan
implementation recommendations. P&Z Members sit
together in the front row. Report: Strategic Planning Committee working with P&Z.
The center of Town...and more than a few ideas offered. One of the things we did not say when we got a chance to
speak was that both the Weston Center and Cobb's Mill Inn preceded
zoning - and we think still have non-conforming status...
NOT ADOPTED IN 1976. ALWAYS IMPORTANT COMMENTS BY
WESTONITE AND NEIGHBOR HARKENS BACK TO DOMINSKI-OAKROCKSTUDY (R.).
Consultant for P&Z (l.) speaks to his early connection to Weston
"Sewer Avoidance" program & policy that was a regional mandate way
back when (HUD foresaw running out of $$ to build more infrastructure).
THIS WAS A POPULAR THING TO TALK ABOUT It
grabbed the attention of Westonites who didn't seem to care about the
ATBM where they could have saved some $$ had 130 shown up - lots more
than an ATBM quorum came out for this!
No sewers no public water arguments. (C)
Mother of student at W.H.S. who persuaded me regarding sustainability
ideas @2002 or perhaps earlier! This is an oversimplification of the subtext of what these
particular Westonites said, but you get the general idea!
Consultant reported CT DPH and DEEP are trying to loosen up tertiary
and I would hope if they do that, also permit reuse of product of tertiary treatment product for lawn watering???
Nothing to do argument (several of those) Sometimes you wonder why folks move to a town and then want to
change it into...Westport...Weston is for people who don't like to argue
in public unless they have to.
CLUSTER ZONING BY ANY OTHER NAME IS STILL...CLUSTER
ZONING...No one supported it while we were there but did comment on
aversion to any change.
Cluster speaker number one. We did not hear anyone supporting the
suggested use of remaining 10 acre parcels - by the way this was an
egregiously inaccurate map (i.e. Nature Conservancy?)
If we recall correctly. the Town purchased the development rights to all
of the Nature Conservancy property, paying "open space" prices some
NOT WHAT THEY SAID BUT WHAT WE HEARD
(L-R) Questions: Why necessary? Remarks that his Mom always believed
change happened. We've got a problem $$; don't throw the baby out with
the bathwater; no selfishness please (directed to
new generation); what the heck do you think you are going to
accomplish? We left at this point, before opponents and proponents
to another project got to speak (@1:20ish pm).
We could tell the meeting was going on longer than the high school
expected because automatic climate control in the Auditorium went into
icy temperatures @12 noon. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
IS WESTON STILL RURAL EVEN THOUGH IT IS ALMOST BUILT OUT? WE SAY
"YES" IF YOU USE A POPULATION DENSITY MEASURE (less than 1000 person per
sq. mile)...HOWEVER, SINCE
WE ARE IN AN M.S.A. (U.S. Census
metropolitan area), WE CAN"T USE THIS DEFINITION. SO HERE IS A
GOOD THOUGHT PIECE FROM ELSEWHERE TO CONSIDER:
Natural and built resources have finite capacities for assimilating
growth and associated impacts. The use of analytical tools such as
carrying capacity analyses is recommended to assess
impact of land development upon these resources. Once carrying capacity
thresholds have been established, local governments should apply
appropriate regulatory controls to ensure that
capacities are not
exceeded. The application of carrying capacity tools is suggested in all
jurisdictions, including states that do not mandate the preparation of
comprehensive plans. The adoption of carrying
capacity regulations may
trigger a regulatory takings analysis. Adoption of legislative actions
to preserve carrying capacity limitations, however, are generally
entitled to a presumption of validity. This is
contrasted with the use
of adjudicative permits to assess assimilative capacity thresholds.
While adjudicative permits allow for aggressive review of development in
relation to cumulative impacts, their ad
hoc nature demands precise
application by local governments.
...Perhaps the most
important characteristic of carrying capacity limitations, however, is
that they reflect the admission by local government residents and
officials that their resources have limits. A
corollary admission is
that once the carrying capacity of certain resources has been exceeded,
financial investments may not provide an adequate remedy.97 The “fix”
has come too late and was clearly
avoidable. It was avoidable by
adhering to a plan for growth, which matched the limitations to growth,
in the municipality and region.
RECEIPT OF APPLICATION FOR ACTIVE ADULT COMMUNITY DISTRICT FEBRUARY 1, 2016 AT THE VERY SAME TIME THAT THE S.P.C. SUBCOMMITTEE, NO DOUBT INTERESTED IN THIS SUBJECT, (SENIORS), IS MEETING IN TOWN HALL...
Picture Story of zone change, scheduled for April 4, 2016 Public Hearing, location Weston High School Cafeteria.
P&Z Monday, Feb. 1, 2016 in the Town Hall Annex
Planning and Zoning discussion/decision on receipt of application for Zoning change - adding a new Sec. 323 - ACTIVE ADULT COMMUNITY DISTRICT (Special Permit category).
WHO IS PROPOSING THIS?
Almost all of applicant team Weston residents.
Above, an example of
what is being proposed, from a New Canaan (?) project example.
designed from how subdivision regulations in Weston are worded and
structured; however, this is for a
new Zoning Regulation Special Permit
at a "bedroom density." (Proposed 323A-9.1)
Assuming as many bathrooms as bedrooms, or a relative figure we are not
aware of, perhaps less than exists in regular subdivisions, the
applicant's "4 bedrooms per gross acre" maximum density
how this application sits right now) argues for being pretty darn close to densities achieved in the subdivision standards.
By the way, the applicant noted for the record that he was taking parts
if not most of these very subdivision regulation and including these
principles (we hope taking care to add more modern
detail on controlling and reusing run off) in the Special Permit proposal! What we note is that there are no size
restrictions on houses in subdivisions, so this proposal is a big
improvement - although
the building is large, it houses more units!
Bravo as well to the engineers who bravely require access on a State
Highway - this limits intrusion into existing neighborhoods. Plus
another bravo in advance for any studies presented comparing
water use in as scientific a way as no doubt will be presented regarding traffic. All in all, this is an
opportunity for P&Z to apply modern road standards in the more
pedestrian friendly mode than P&Z
would ever do itself!!!
CAREFUL APPROACH TO DEALING WITH THIS TO BE TAKEN, AS DATE FOR PUBLIC HEARING SET. Will they, P&Z, want to hire their own experts to evaluate this, as
Commissions have done in the past? Particular incidents where this was done mentioned, but we
don't put these things online!
How many sites in town would qualify? (We're
working on this one to bring you an answer...) Not to get anyone
too excited about our results, this number can be calculated using more
one method - some suggested below:
AND MORE... Watch for how this works out - new zone
proposed as explained by applicant, should be equated with corresponding
as-of-right number of bedrooms in under-lying zone...
Meanwhile, back in Weston...Needs a second or emergency entrance anywhere. That's 30
homes within 6 structures (?) on 15 acres - on a dead end road?
they need a waiver for length of dead end road (sorry we didn't get to
put a scale on the plan EXAMPLE shown to answer my own questions)?
long is this EXAMPLE dead end road, if it is dead ended? Sec. 3.10 of the
Subdivision regulations refer to 1500 feet as the length of a dead end road
- is this a problem, and if not,
many other properties might gain unsafe access? Or considering
that "emergency access" is the concern, could another access be provided
from Route 53 in a form similar to "overflow
parking design" (i.e. not paved or impervious surface}?
the new Zone, then, what percent is impervious surface? 25%
coverage proposed, we think, for NEW ZONE - too high? Does it
require public water supply - would a common well do?
CONTINUITY AND KEEPING REGULATIONS UPDATED: When
introducing new, different growth pattern, it is important to protect
underlying development's form. Sensitivity to grade changes,
run off and site planning imperatives.
THE PARCEL BEING USED AN AN EXAMPLE BY THE APPLICANT IS ON THIS
ARTISTIC BUT PERHAPS NOT ACCURATE TO ENGINEERING STANDARDS MAP ABOVE!
.. CAPITAL PLANNING COMMITTEEgets input from various actors: The Town Administration, Finance Board, Education Board BUT NEVER IN RECENT YEARS FROM P&Z. In my professional experience, the Planning
be part of it! Fortunately, there are those who
take a "global" view involved in the Capital Planning group. THE RE-REFERENDUM - we now have a Referendum EVERY YEAR ("yes" or "no") on the Town and School and Capital Budget.
Millions of dollars approved without one word of discussion at
ATBM. How's that again? The budget is now
matter among friends and cronies since foolishly Charter Revision 2012,
approved 2014, first made a quorum without specifying the number and
then picked the number 130 voters. Never yet reached. So
what that means is that your
favorite project can slip in unnoticed to
any of the 3 budgets...and there is nothing anyone can do about
it! Unless, of course, 130 Town Meeting voters show up for ATBM
NOTE: About Weston a member of P&Z 1983 to 1990. Weston Town Plan of Conservation and Development 2010-2020: About Weston's version below. A review how we went about our planning process...centrality still key? In
Weston, Connecticut, Planning is a
Process. What P & Z did differently
this time around...it is seeing beyond
land planning and zoning...and here is a
link to the P&Z final product. Population migration A.P. story..."Last
year, Connecticut had its first population loss since 2008. At the
time, officials said the improving economy might partially be to blame
because people postponed retirement during the last recession and
they are able to retire, often to Florida. This year's statistics
show that Connecticut lost 3,876 or -0.11 percent last year to a total
population of 3,590,886..." and then there is the Weston story below:
H A N G E O
U T S I D E W E S T O N . . .
What has changed
the June 2000 Plan of Conservation and Development? Since the Town Plan 2010?
as the economy in Connecticut
Weston be affected? And cost of gasoline and heating oil is an
influence. How about the global downturn? Newtown? Affordable
must respond to State Plan of C&D requirement that every town
address this matter; Environmental
threats: drought cycle (last in 2002) - how about
flooding, too - emergency
services response - examples of regional problems
to the fore. Infrastructurerepair
and maintenance must continue even as the town is under economic stress. Recycling: Is the State of CT committed to continuing its leadership role?
Surface water quality in the main branch of the
River - is it still as pure as ever? Link to more information
central government [of
Indonesia] is blaming poor urban planning for the disaster, our
correspondent says" regarding the following: one Jakarta
Manoppo, told the BBC there was "no
integrated development plan" for the capital, adding: "Most of the
city's drainage systems are
not taken care of."
C H A N G
E I N S I D
E W E S T O N . . .
Weston planning activity, what has
since the June 2010 Plan of Conservation and Development?
Lachat Autumn 2009
is conducted alongside "Global Facilities" Committee on an irregular but more frequent basis than on a ten-year cycle;
and fields projects are completed; those projects left off
the Referendum being accomplished as needed by new staff. Impact
of post Newtown security felt.
development: vacant tracts almost all developed or
permanently preserved...see below. 2015 brings this report: http://www.aboutweston.com/CraftingaStrategicPlanForWeston%27sFuturePhaseI050715.pdf
first get the idea that
environmental planning was a wise thing to do? This history no longer online.But a later study is, here.
Watercolor (detail) by Margaret Wirtenberg
The School Road campus was developed since the last Town Plan
GOALS OF THE 2010-2020 Plan : as suggested by "About
Town" (written in the "About Town" column July 17, 2008)...
residential community, should renew its compact with nature and
dedicate itself to supporting the natural water cycle; Improve
infrastrucure and its maintenance to minimize run-off waste and
and efficiency of limited
natural resources in a time of climate change: make the centralized school-town
complex energy self
sustaining. Minimizethe human
foot-print; reuse land, buildings and resources; recycle.
NEW GOAL - inspired by P&Z: Make choices and set priorities for use of limited
Pooling municipal health
benefits is a
Alan J. Desmarais, CT MIRROR
May 27, 2010
A new bill passed by the General Assembly and now before Gov. M. Jodi
Rell for signature could offer fiscal relief as municipalities all over
Connecticut stare down a current budget crisis that will become even
more daunting in fiscal year 2011- 2012 and
beyond. House Bill 5424
allows towns and boards of education a no-strings-attached option to
pool their healthcare benefits-and thereby better control soaring
benefit costs. This bill confirms that the previous legislative action,
which allowed municipalities
to "jointly perform any function that each
municipality may perform separately," specifically applies to the
financing of employee healthcare benefits. Many towns now understand
that this law opens up a necessary cost-control opportunity, and none
This is not the first time such pooling arrangements have been
green-lighted in New England. The Governmental Health Group of Rhode
Island was created to 2005 and now includes cities, towns and school
districts that have joined together on a voluntary
basis. Among the
keys to the success of the Rhode Island program-which are also
essential to this latest effort in Connecticut-are that member groups
define the pool's concepts, organizational structure, and financial
Please search the CT MIRROR archives for the remainder of this story.
2010-2020 PLAN: REGIONAL, TOWN AND
NEIGHBORHOOD/SUB-NEIGHBORHOOD MAPS NO LONGER ONLINE New
concept for our version of this new Plan of C&D: Neighborhood
Sub-Plans - a concept who's time has come?
Chapters of the Plan: go to each chapter or
just scroll down!
RESOURCES: PROTECT THEM. There is an urgency to protect the natural water
cycle while also making use of other natural
processes and energy
Weston is fortunate
21st century, to have natural resources to enjoy and maintain. We
live with the necessity of maintaining the natural
water cycle as
Weston is a
community devoid of sewers and with public water supply only to the
Schools and Town buildings located in the central
area plus @28 homes
off Godfrey Road; a few
streets are served from the end of Westport's waterlines. Looking
on the bright side, the sun is
natural resource available where the trees don't get in the way!
Over the years suggestions have
been made regarding environmental
zoning; Aquifer protection is something the whole community
must care about.
The recent introduction of special
language for an overlay zone around the Aquarion well fields in the
south of town, based upon Connecticut mapping,
is something new for
us. Weston followed suggested DEP language in
developing this area.
Following upon the Dominski-Oakrock Study (Weston Environmental
Resources Manual, 1976) was the Weston
Water Resources Guide (1993),
while the water testing program was beginning, discovered PCE
and TCE down gradient from both the Town bus garage and the private
shopping center, reporting these finding to both the Westport-Weston
Health District and the CTDEP. Corrective
measures were taken to
clear the water supply, and a
regime of groundwater monitoring was put
We note that Stamford is
currently starting a well testing program in the northern part of their
Weston has taken the lead on
this effort, as it has on the Air Space redesign issue. It is in
our interest to see that water supply stays pure and abundant;
is no longer as peaceful and quiet as it used to be - anywhere, in
fact. But one new threat to the long term
preservation of the Weston life style is
REPAIR PROGRAM TO AVOID NEED FOR BONDING; TEN (10) YEARS LATER...EMPHASIS ON PEDESTRIAN?
READ ABOUT SOME OLD IDEAS THAT STILL WORK HERE
Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee to the fore!!! Roads, trails,
pathways, cross-walks, if somebody else pays for them, sidewalks
in center of town(?)...
MAINTENANCE (Kaestle-Boos Report no loner online here) IS VITAL TO ASSURE FULL LIFETIME
FOR CAPITAL INVESTMENT (some noted below). A
NEW CONCEPT EMERGES. Post - Newtown, security takes front and center.
Each year the Board
puts the Board of Education through its paces. This year is an
imposing financial challenge to governments and
individuals. What can be expected from the School
Budget this year? From FY 2011-2012...how have things changed since this interview? 2015 birth rate news here.
For Fiscal 2011, "About Town"
Superintendent of Schools Jerome Belair and Director of Finance and
Operations Dr. Jo-Ann Keating:
Additionally, through its appointed Building Committee and that body's
subcommittee on Alternative Energy, plans are just beginning to emerge
what for Weston is a new concept -
establishing, perhaps, an Energy Improvement District in the superblock
of Town/School activities in the
Central Part of Town! Other
and disciplines keep innovating, whether Social Services or Parks and
Centralized school system includes its own central
building and a tertiary treatment plant. Watch
Town" interview with new
Superintendent of Schools Jerome Belair
for up to date report of status of the educational system in
N O M O N E Y N O W O R K
APRIL 19, 2016 SPECIAL MEETING NOT NOTICED AS SUCH, HOWEVER.
NOTHING HAPPENED BECAUSE IT WAS PREMATURE TO BE DISCUSSING THESE
MATTERS...GOOD IDEAS, THO' Building Committee
Tuesday, April 19, 2016 at 7:30pm
What did the appointed Building Committee accomplish at this
meeting? Perhaps we know now why the Town of Weston is the way it
is. Lots of talk, lots of expensive ideas...but no money.
MARCH 22, 2016 SPECIAL MEETING: IN AN EFFORT TO INTRODUCE URBAN DESIGN CONCEPTS, BUILDING COMMITTEE GOES ROGUE: A PLAN FOR CONNECTING PLACES AND SPACES IN THE CENTRAL PART OF TOWN; FIRST SELECTMAN DANIEL ATTENDS AND REMINDS COMMITTEE OF HER "TOWN COMMONS" IDEA
SPEAKING OF TOWN COMMONS, FIRST ARCHITECT AND URBAN DESIGN FIRM
DESCRIBES THEIR EXPERIENCE AND SAYS THEY HAVE SEEN THE BUILDING AND IT
LENDS ITSELF TO THE USES PROPOSED.
SECOND ARCHITECT SEES SAME VISION OF LINKAGES BUT SEEMS TO WORK ONE
STEP AT A TIME, WITH DEEPER UNDERSTANDING OF BUILDING CODE AND WHAT THE
WESTON COMMUNITY'S NEEDS.
EXPLANATION REGARDING THE NATURE OF THIS DISCUSSION AT THE BUILDING COMMITEE.
TWO POINTS OF VIEW ON BUILDING COMMITTEE - URBAN DESIGN AND REAL ESTATE -
AND A CONFUSION OVER WHAT IS BEING CONSIDERED AND WHAT ROLE BUILDING
CONCEPT ACCEPTED FOR NEW 2010 TOWN PLAN, WE THINK: THE SUPERBLOCK
The School Road superblock should combine with Town
Hall/Library/Main Fire House
facilities for effective energy improvement (note:
headquarters building below included). Middle School
needs a new
we wonder about a solar panel option there... Please link to the Town
of Weston for the draft Plan of Conservation and Development 2010 - this concept appears to be in the
Public Works is fully reported on by Mr. Lametta (see "Roads"). DPW headquarters at left, Transfer
Station/Recycling Center at right.
Recycling (Weston Transfer
Station and Recycling effort at right above) is a critical issue right
now, with markets for secondary materials
picking up...or not!!!
Library roof will need replacement in the next years...and so it was done. Weston Library did its own "Strategic Plan" exercise 2015-2018.
Other municipal government...
Town Hall: the roof replacement and
related repairs always ongoing...
Fire and ambulance: the new Lyons
Plains fire station open. Data
about fire and property loss (U.S.A.)here.
Social services plans ahead, increased
other demands as demography and economy change;
Emergency Services: our idea...does
it make sense to work regionally on this? More than we do already?
Semi-public uses: their role in providing places and
for needed community activity changes. Norfield
Congregational Church, founded
in 1757, is an important part of
Weston's history, and of its present and its future. Watch a very
special show commemorating the Church's 250th anniversary ssome years ago!Watch
At LWV of Weston info meeting, P&Z
Chair., Vice-Chair. and member in charge of rewrite of Plan
report; cluster development considered.
RESIDENTIAL ZONING REGULATIONS 321.7: 15%
RESIDENTIAL ZONIING REGULATIONS 311.4: Parts of lot not counted to minimum area requirement-1.6 acres of dry land required.
SECTION 322: NEIGHBORHOOD SHOPPING CENTER DISTRICT.
DISCUSSION OF OPEN SPACE RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT, CLUSTER HOUSING FOR
SENIORS, September 8, 2015 at P&Z meeting. Re-doing horse regs
Listen to this discussion of "cluster" here: http://www.aboutweston.com/P&Z9-8-15.mp3
"About Town" unofficial map of
non-conforming lots above, exclusive to this
residential zone to protect natural water cycle.
The Lunch Box doubles, the
pharmacy is reborn at reduced size, the bank is working as a small town
again. Without infrastructure, any more,
larger scale development
of a non-residential nature will not prove feasible, and as Georgetown
is on the
cusp of a rebirth at Gilbert & Bennett,
which is planning, we
believe, for a railroad station at their site, the words of the
last Plan are well taken: "So Weston finds itself somewhat
from the greater density and bustling activity of neighboring
towns in the region...Concern for development to the north, in
particular, is paramount.
What happens in Georgetown--at the
assisted living facility under construction at Gilbert Hill or with the
Gilbert and Bennett site--will have a
considerable impact on Weston"
Weston Center through
CLUB WESTON: It began when a member of the Board of
Education, during the Memorial Day Parade in 1994 asked if Weston could
ever "close School Road" as NYC has done for closing Central Park to
cars on weekends...we undertook an experiment,
trying to get something
specific accomplished - just to see how many steps and official actions
it took to make closing School Road on Sundays in August a reality that
summer...first OK was an informal discussion with the First Selectman -
said "sure" as long as it didn't cost anything (have impact on the
Next we sought official approval from the Board of Education (lots of
"can't do" this or that); Parks & Rec (keep access to tennis
courts open), Police Chief (couldn't assign officer to help with
cones/"horses" because emergency came first; Town
Administrator to get
van to transport cones/"horses" them. Finally, when the idea
finally landed on the table of the Board of Selectmen, they couldn't do
anything except decide where to place the cones! The only
problem? About Weston had to spend
Sundays in August 1994 setting
up "Club Weston" herself!
From the Westport News
IDEA MAKES IT INTO
DRAFT!!! At LWV of Weston info
meeting, P&Z Chair., Vice-Chair. and member in charge of rewrite of
Plan report; school superblock and specifically street-closing on
Sundays in the summer is a big policy for
OPEN SPACE AND
RECREATION: KEEP MAJOR PUBLIC
RECREATION FACILITIES TIED TO THE CENTRAL PART OF TOWN
Public and private spaces and
link together and work to create an even greater protection for the
environment and natural creatures who
live with us. Above,
Bisceglie Park (left) and right, Trout Brook Valley.
"About Town" interview
then Aspetuck Land Trust Executive Director - watch it now:
tropical storm in
August 2011? Rebirth of Club Weston as "Bike-Ped Day" cancelled.
It was a new year, 2012, and a hopeful crew manned the barricades!
Sunday, September 9, 2012 was super!!! Early on,
was the view at Lord's H'way end of School Road.
Weston Big Bike/Pedi Event is Sunday
By Kimberly Donnelly on September 8, 2012
School Road will be closed to all motorized traffic on Sunday, Sept. 9,
from noon to 5 for the Big Bike/Pedi Event, sponsored by the Weston
Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee. The event will take place rain or
The road will be open to all for vehicle-free biking, scooter-riding,
walking, and jogging. Due to a school policy, however, no skateboarding
The Weston Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee was formed to promote safe
bicycle and pedestrian facilities and activities in town, and to
educate the public about proper safety techniques and to encourage
residents to walk and bicycle...see FORUM
archives for story in full.
LWV of Weston info
Chair., Vice-Chair. and member in charge of rewrite of Plan
report; implementation to be an ongoing, if voluntary,
responsibility (taken more seriously).
OF THE 2020
PLAN: Always look out for change in Hartford...
PRIORITIES: "Face of
Implementation Programs and
Actions...numero uno is groundwater protection policies: How to
do it, from D.E.P here.
Pictured above at
Norwalk City Hall: This had to be the most lively SWR Legislative
Breakfast yet - Congressman Himes (r) called it "a partisan food
fight" and it was for new Darien Legislative Rep to put things in
2011 not to be
videotaped by About Weston.
2 0 1 0 R E G I
O N A
L L E G I S L A T I V E B R E A K F A S
South Western Regional Planning
Organization meet with Legislators at the "Community Room," Norwalk
City Hall, January
Pictured above at
Norwalk City Hall: Senator McKinney, First Selectman (Wilton)
Brennan, Senator Boucher, Chair. of the MPO, First Selectman Woody Bliss
REGIONAL COOPERATION 2009: Remember
this fracas? The issue is back...
Another is to take a regional view of shared problems: please
note that First Selectman Bill Brennan of Wilton pointed out areas
where SWRPA towns
cooperate voluntarily! Watch the 2009 SWRPA-MPO
Legislative Breakfast here:
MAPPING AND RESEARCH REPORTS NO LONGER AVAILABLE ONLINE: SKETCH PLAN HERE.
Through the reassessment project, the
best maps of Weston with lot lines will be available, eventually.
Will aerial photography done by SWRPA, now WCCOG, ever become available
for public use? If no answer, why not? In the meanwhile,
WE THINK FROM THE OLD TOWN PLAN HAS
BEEN ACHIEVED: "About Town" is of the opinion
that Weston is doing very well at
implementing its Plan.
Committees formal and informal are at work on Global Warming, Saugatuck
River Valley Initiative, Weston Parks Project,
others. The School expansion project is winding down successfully
and the Shopping Center
has submitted a map and plan for its activities. No longer online here.
the Weston Plan of Conservation and Development 2000 (PDF unofficial version here)
was approved (June 30, 2000), newer
Plans in other towns must
say more than Weston's does about the
affordable housing issue. The Weston P&Z, when commenting on
Regional Plan, expressed interest in creative solutions SWRPA
might come up with on the subject of affordable housing.
found the Town Plan 2010 "not inconsistent with its Plan"
THE NEW PLAN MUST BE "NOT INCONSISTENT WITH" SWRPA's
(and SWRPA's had to be found "not inconsistent with"
the CT Plan--which
it was found to be, as were the addenda for open space and recreation
maps, transportation long-range
plan and the Housing
Study of housing opportunities within the region).
LAND USE PLANNING 101: BASE MAP AND OUR MAP - no longer on line.
survey" (in the 21st century, via aerial perspective) requires a
functioning road system (and
bridges across the
Whatland use colordo planners use for
each (our example of a legend for a Weston land use map)?
An "existing land use map" is two-dimension; it
depicts land use category for the acreage but not the structures.
to do a
"windshield survey" of existing land use. Can you place the
features listed below on
the Assessor's Maps?
Mill Inn (by the waterfall). Local
attorney's office; Weston has a centralized school
system with all buildings on one campus (detail); Town Hall.
Weston Shopping Center.
colors should stores at Weston
Center appear as?
Note: parking and
loading requirements not discussed. But that is an interesting
topic to explore: 2001 standards report - how
have these changed over time? Try A.P.A. website: https://www.planning.org/
Weston has always been a very neat and orderly
Zoning makes order out of what could become chaotic construction, as
Plans are "built out" and the future becomes the present before our
very eyes. We are a society of laws, and the Zoning
Regulations--not to mention the Inland
Wetland laws and the Building
Code and more general societal norms--are what keep us civilized.
In the case of the Town of Weston, the map of all our dreams is the
Town Plan of Conservation and Development. A short series of
regional workshops this Spring on the subject "Linking Land Use to
Water Quality" is being made
available by the University of
Interested in land use? Norwalk City Hall (125 East Avenue,
Community Room #128) on May 2 and 24, from 7:30pm to 9pm both evenings,
is the place to be! Through the University of Connecticut's NEMO
("non-point education for
municipal officials") instructors, protecting
against water quality degradation will be front and center. NEMO is
against land use "sprawl," and that topic will no doubt be
raised. Showing how other areas have used watersheds as the
framework for planning is part of NEMO's mandate. You can find
out more about just who "NEMO" is by visiting this column's
Action on Village District Bill
Remember the "Municipal Village District" idea discussed by
"About Town" here a few weeks ago? "Village Districts" revisions
are still alive in the Legislature! The village district proposal
this session is more applicable to Weston's
needs than last year's
version, which became law. This year's bill, sHB 5177, is a
revision of last session's action. The new "Act Concerning
Village Districts" has now passed the House and is on the Calendar of
the Senate. What
is different about the concept this year?
This year the bill works for Weston. Introduced into this new,
improved version is the required tie to the municipal plan of
conservation and development. Although zoning law, village
districts would be the kind of zoning only permitted
by the Town
Plan. If your "village district" site does not show on the Town
Plan of Conservation and Development, it can't exist. The bill
this year has expanded "village districts" from those places within
communities distinctive for
their historic virtues to just plain
"distinctive" locations around Town. Although the Town of Weston
may be exempt from its own zoning law, it must follow the guidelines of
its Town Plan!
For example, the just completed Final School Facility Plan creates a
"village district" combining Schools, Town Hall and Weston Library, as
illustrated on the Plan map. The School Plan "Option 4A" map (the
option selected by both
the Ad Hoc School Facilities Planning Committee
and the Board of Education) could become a part of the new Town
Plan. Defining the limits of Weston's "Village District" and
establishing these in the Town Plan of Conservation and
2000 is an idea whose time has come.
The Town Plan thus is the key protecting Weston against "sprawl," by
allowing growth only at the "Village District."
One of the first steps in making a new Town Plan for Weston is
creating a map that can be viewed on the Internet.
What information do we need to start the planning process?
In the early stages of this effort, using a set of maps from the NEMO
website will do. Create a “Community
Online.” Start here: http://nemo.uconn.edu/
Is it good planning or just good luck? As the reassessment
rolls on, Vision Appraisals will be updating property maps online,
coded to new assessments. I can envision
the Planning and Zoning
Commission being able to piggyback its early planning efforts to
determine how much of Weston is yet to be developed, with this other
information being produced for the town.
Is it time to revisit Dominski-Oakrock? The Weston
Environmental Resources Manual of 1976 at least needs updating.
Its basic principles still hold water, no pun intended. However,
has development over the past quarter century
eroded river banks?
Is rainfall more intense now, or is it that the increasing percentage
of impervious surfaces
townwide makes flooding a more common occurance?
In other communities around the country, information about lot
lines, natural features, infrastructure, land use, and links to other
information coded to each particular property
available. Most famously, Greenwich fights against
revealing public infrastructure data, and may be winning this battle at
the Freedom of Information Commission.
Some of this appears intrusive, and here in Weston we do not
have the ability to cross-index maps and data. Will any new Plan
provide this to the general public?
Perhaps most importantly, should the Planning and Zoning
Commission make this new Plan more comprehensive? By this I mean
including a section on Capital Planning.
Should there be discussions of taxes? How does land use
relate to taxes?
What do you think are other relevant questions to ponder?
Post your thoughts at www.aboutweston.com/aboutwestonforums
“Climate change” can be hard to envision. Treading water
on Main Street in Westport is one vision. Having this year’s
Presidential Debates run in a non-partisan way,
such as they would be
if the national League of Women Voters were to run them, would be
Julie Belaga said it best. Having recently been asked by
the Weston League to speak to the topic "Restoring American Leadership
in Global Environmental Affairs,"
she asked “what leadership?”
This former Environmental Protection Agency Region One (New
England) administrator was very frank. She pointed out that
E.P.A. is not an agency in the Cabinet on equal
footing with, for
example State, Defense, or Education. Until the next
administration in Washington decides to make Climate Change a focus for
all departments, America
will not be able to focus on its own
environmental crises, never mind achieving “leadership” status
Weston over the years, however, might be closer to leading the
pack. How does Weston come to be so smart and so lucky? Why
is it that we are able to politically unify
over almost any issue that
smacks of environmental concern? If Weston has a motto for
municipal government improvements, it is “Less is more.”
Our Republican First Selectmen is perhaps the most distinguished
nature lover I have ever met. He gets support from our Republican
and new Democratic Selectpersons.
They are thoughtful and
dedicated. The Board of Selectmen has our best interests at
heart. But it isn’t easy to keep a balance among competing
Can Weston navigate the waters of economic gloom and doom and
come out at the other end still the natural, unsullied “rural”
community we all know and love?
Will there be an ultimate happy ending to the Lachat saga?
This joint effort by the Town of Weston and the Nature Conservancy to
create a “Juliana Lachat Preserve”
entrance to Devil’s Den began with
initial purchase of part of the farm in 1997.
I once met Leon Lachat at the Lunch Box. He was a modest
and kindly gentleman. Mr. Lachat would have wanted Weston to be
at peace as a community. Let us try to
find a fitting middle
ground. One more time, let us join together to try to find a way
to make the Juliana Lachat Preserve the new entrance to the Den,
without destroying the neighborhood.
Call it municipal climate change.
Town Plan Progress
What’s happening at the Planning and Zoning Commission?
How is work coming along on the Town Plan update?
This Plan will have to pass muster with the Board of Selectmen
and possibly a Town Meeting. So that means that we all must keep
up with the planning process. Read the
most recent Plan here: WestonTownPlan2000.pdf
The Commission would do well to retain a consultant for this
summer. Set up a schedule and locational map for traffic
counts. Gather data from the Police Department and
the State of
Connecticut. The Fire Department is a big player in our community
New water testing has its schedule, too, and should be done
during Fall and Spring. The 1993 Weston Water Study needs
updating. Data gathering from secondary sources
of all kinds is a
nice summertime activity. While school is out is a good time to
sit down with the Board of Education and its staff to gather historic
information from their files.
And find out what to plan for in
Find out about infrastructure plans including the Kaestle-Boos
report. Capital Planning deserves a whole chapter for itself in
Town Plan 2010. And let us not forget to check in
Building Committee and its Alternative Energy Sub-Committee.
Part of the new Plan’s process should include general “meet the
citizens” events beginning this winter, too. And let’s not forget
Our zoning regulations need to be “tightened up.”
Development can erode the natural environment. The effects
of a “blow out” of soil and erosion protection devices at a
construction site can be shocking.
When there are steep slopes, there is always the opportunity for
heavy rainfall to get the earth moving downhill. And especially
if a building lot is being redeveloped. Bare
land is particularly
How to keep this from happening? One way that is sure to
minimize erosion is to simply not take down trees, bushes and
grass. This natural growth and its roots grabs the
anchors it against all but the most calamitous events.
There are mathematical models to calculate runoff. Some
features to consider are degree of slope; frequency, duration, and
severity of rain events; type of soil; and the natural features that
But make no mistake, whenever “engineered solutions” to
development are employed, you are walking a thin line between
“progress” and catastrophe. In order to make
zoning work for the future there must be changes made to our present
These changes involve a strict reduction in “coverage” on a
building lot. Presently a two-acre lot may use 15 percent of its
87,000 square feet for the house and other structures. Planning
and Zoning should reduce this percentage
There must also be provision made in one or more sections of the
Town code to provide for proper management of roof runoff, such as via
connection to underground drainage structures.
Lastly, boards and commissions that deal with land use must keep
in mind the need to always consider the impacts of their decisions on
the ultimate sustainability of the
planet. Beginning in Weston.
What forms our environment? The answer is we do.
Weston’s next Town Plan should be green.
The terms “carbon footprint” and “sustainability” are very
popular now. Books and scholarly papers come forth almost daily
announcing the end of the world as we have
One “inconvenient truth” is that globalization of the world’s
economies has actually brought us into direct conflict with saving the
A global economy only works if the costs of cooperating in one
big market do not exceed those of the alternative of going it
alone. Could the United States, for example,
get by without
importing significantly from abroad? Has this country ever been
able to isolate itself?
The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island bear silent witness to
the fact that the answer to my questions is “not really.” In
simpler times, before much of the industrial era,
Will we have to get used to a different calculus for job
creation in the future? The answer may lie in having a
plan. A green plan. I have confidence that American
that remain will find a way to redefine the old economic
Beginning in Weston, a “green plan” means being smart about how
much the human footprint mars the natural environment. No
clear-cutting. No bad chemicals on the
ground. Keep the
natural water cycle going every day!
Weston could get a complex about being a really small
town. With a limited tax base and unbridled appetite for spending
money on education. But what else is there to
spend tax money on?
No sewers. No public water, except for the 29 homes near
the former landfill off Godfrey Road. An excellent Police
Department, Public Works pros, devoted town hall and town
employees. A part-time First Selectman. Capital funding for
needs of the volunteer Fire Department/Emergency Services group.
The little city that is our schools complex mirrors in some ways
the rest of the community. Along its meandering spine or “mile of
safety” are speed bumps, stop signs, and
curb cuts. The Board of
Education works with the police to keep all modes of travel safe.
Cleverly designed loop roads help separate the different classes
of vehicles. Bus loading, service deliveries, emergency access,
parking for teachers and students and other
staff all are part of the
School Road plan.
Adjoining the more than 100 acres of centralized school system,
with no roadway cutting through, are Town Hall, Weston Library,
Department of Public Works, and the Onion
Barn. Have I left
This, in planning language, is called a “superblock.” It
is Weston’s Central Park.
What is infrastructure? Who wants it or needs it?
A quick tour of town just this week showed several types of
infrastructure in several places. There were significant clusters
of street lights at the town hall-school complex.
There are four
intersections with traffic lights and one with a “blinker.” We’ve
got bridges, one under repair and one waiting in the wings for its
So Weston is not what you would call a “bustling metropolis”
with a downtown and an “other side of the track” neighborhood.
There are no tracks. When you have no
infrastructure capable of
handling higher densities, developers will go elsewhere.
One kind of infrastructure that Weston has is a road
system. In fact, as the Town Plan rewrite gets started, one of
the first considerations should be how our road system is
and its prospects for the future. Road drainage is a
concern. Run-off in Weston eventually makes its way to Long
Island Sound. So we try to keep catch basins
and storm sewers
clear of silt.
There are two north-south State highways. Major and minor
Town roads meander east and west. And then there are private, dead end
streets. Most are paved but some are
Part of Weston’s charm, I have always thought, was how careful
the community has always been at keeping up the fine condition of its
roads. Weston is, if nothing else, neat.
One kind of infrastructure that Weston does not have is
sewers. That is why Weston maintains a system of large lot
development, with effluent disposed of parcel by parcel. Although
we do have a tertiary treatment plant on School
Road, it is designed
for school use only, and its maintenance and upkeep are in the school
The original Town Plan of 1969 envisioned town and school
activity where they are today. The Plans of 1987 and 2000
reinforced centralization of municipal activities.
Infrastructure improvements in this next town plan should
include investment in alternative energy within the boundaries of an
“energy improvement district.” Such a district
the schools campus and town facilities.
This would be a bold first step.
Density is destiny.
Weston has 500 people per square mile. That’s 10,000
living on 20 square miles in the woods. Almost every piece of
land is spoken for. Whether by human
homeowners or by other
natural creatures resident in the vast, permanent open spaces in town.
In contrast, human density teems in a place such as Hong
Over 6,900,000 live in the 425 square miles of that port city.
That comes to more than 16,000 people per
The history of Weston during the last few hundred years has been
documented. Our form of government is the New England Town
Meeting. Hong Kong and its port have played a vital role in
China’s relationship with the rest of the
world. Its governance
had long been feudal. Then it became a colony and part of the
British Empire. In 1997 it
became a largely autonomous part of
That autonomy was only agreed to last for a minimum of 50
Will Weston still be free in 2047? Will town meeting government
and a two-party system prevail much
longer in our town? Thinking
globally, I would answer my own question with a resounding “yes,” for
The first is that a lack of infrastructure, whether sewers,
or train tracks, makes us a non-starter in the larger economic
picture. Our “land capability” is nil.
Reason number two is that we are not foolish. No matter
Westonites disagree about small matters and money, we all recognize
that this training ground for the
next generation of leaders and
contributors to society must be nurtured and protected.
That is why the next Town Plan revision is so important. Goals 2020
Ironically, the next Plan must cover the years 2010 to
Calling it a “2020 Vision” for Weston sounds catchy and right!
This is our first Plan written in the 21st century. It
appropriate time for Weston to reexamine its goals. I am not sure
myself about some of them any more!
For example, as the “basic goals” I would only state four this
time. The first encompasses several of the older Plan’s
goals. It is: “RENEW: Weston, a residential
community, should renew its compact with nature and dedicate itself to
supporting the natural water cycle.”
The second goal for the new Plan should be: “IMPROVE
infrastructure and its maintenance to minimize run-off waste and
Goal number three links the voice of planning with the work of
Building Committee and the Global Warming Committee. “MAXIMIZE
efficient use of limited natural resources
in a time of climate
change: make the centralized school-town complex energy
This is where the Planning and Zoning Commission takes
part of work towards a new Plan, a study of feasibility for an energy
improvement district would fit right in!
The study could also
recommend suitable attendant technology.
Efficiency and economy are ways to MINIMIZE the human
In the new Plan we must find ways to reuse land and buildings and
resources. And recycle!
A legend for a land use map follows conventions. Land use
for Weston are primarily yellow, green and blue, with just a dash of
commercial red at the Center and at
Cobb’s Mill Inn.
And black. Black is used to represent
Weston that means roads. Thicker or thinner, in double strands or
even greater, planning maps are careful to place
Dotted lines are road connections planned for the future.
All you need to look at is a town map of roads and immediately
tell where you are. Only Weston looks like Weston from the
air! North of Godfrey Road is forest, the deepest of deep green.
Yellow is for low density residential properties. In Town
2000, this equaled 56% of all acreage in town. Second in area was
green, at 23%. Green space is of different
uses, such as Aspetuck Land Trust Property, are one shade of
green. Active uses, such as Morehouse Farm Park, are a different
tone of green.
Another 15% of our acreage was either undeveloped or
undevelopable. The aforementioned roads comprised 4%.
Public and semi-public land uses are shades of blue. In
this includes Town Hall, the Fire Department, Library, Transfer
Station, Public Works as well as school
property and churches.
These uses comprised the remaining 2% of total acreage.
Some colors not seen on a land use map of Weston are purple and
browns. Purple is the traditional color representing industrially
classified property. An example of industry
might be a
factory. Interestingly, in the 19th Century, Weston had a
functioning axe tool factory and a toy factory!
Brown is the color of higher density housing. Should
include this in the new Plan? Only if we plan to build the
necessary infrastructure, sewers and public water supply, and risk
changing the character of our town!
When it rains, it pours.
There is a science behind the weather events we’ve been having, and
their effects. Besides the fashionable explanation of global
warming. In addition to increased run-off
caused by bigger homes
and mounting coverage of paved areas.
Who can forget the graphic horror of Hurricane Katrina? So many
families and individuals and animals engulfed in the wet sorrow of that
disaster. But let us stop and think
for just a bit.
What was the real bottom line awful part of Katrina? For me, it
was the knowledge that the very same thing could and probably will
happen again. I had not really understood
that New Orleans was
constructed below sea level prior to the storm.
How is this related to Weston? The flood plains in town are
mapped. Planning and Zoning presides over regulations controlling
development in these wet areas. But like
New Orleans, much of
Weston was developed prior to any zoning, subdivision, or Federal
Emergency Management Administration (F.E.M.A.) edicts.
In reviewing F.E.M.A. grant programs, one stands out. It is
“pre-disaster mitigation.” This is a planning program that sets
in motion, at all levels of government, the effort to
structures out of harm’s way.
Funds to elevate houses, pay for hydrologic and hydraulic studies, and
pay for storm water management projects come through F.E.M.A.
Qualifying for government funding, however, is not easy. The
available funds don’t go very far,
and most projects down our way don’t
So it is ever more important to make our flood management regulations
as strong as possible, and try to prevent disasters if we can!
So cooperation among public and private sectors is the first building
block for a happy financial future.
Attention to detail in budget making is the second building block, in
my opinion. Lastly, wise land use planning is the capstone.
After all, keeping Weston Weston is the goal. These three factors
should guarantee us a happy future.
But we always must be prepared to ask tough questions. Such as
explanation of the cost-benefit calculations used to justify
expenditures of public funds. This kind of
question will be front
and center at the League of Women Voters of Weston’s “Speak Up” in
2009. Whatever the results of last Tuesday’s elections, there
will be at least one
new voice there to stand and address the questions.
Weston’s budget process may reach a climax at the Board of Finance
Public Hearing on March 31, 2009, which is held shortly before the
Annual Town Budget Meeting,
scheduled for April 20, 2009.
Westonites who may not be fully up to date on the community’s financial
position, and that means most of us, should use this opportunity to
grill the Board of Finance.
What is Weston’s situation? Is the General Fund surplus as high
as it was last year? Has the latest town-wide revaluation of
property shifted the tax burden from large
homes to small ones, or from
new ones to older structures?
If Your Town Is Failing, Just Go
by Kevin D. Williamson
October 6, 2015 4:00 AM
A prescription for impoverished communities The town where my parents
grew up and where my grandparents lived no longer exists. Phillips,
Texas, is a ghost town. Before that it was a company town, a more or
less wholly owned subsidiary of
the Phillips Petroleum Company...
Read article in full: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/425116/mobility-globalization-poverty-solution
is a network of Sierra Club activists who support a comprehensive
approach to environmentalism within the Sierra Club. We support Sierra
Club policies and principles with the exception of current Sierra Club
U.S. population policy, which we believe is inadequate in addressing
U.S. overpopulation. A comprehensive approach to environmentalism must
include effective action for population stabilization in the United
Currently Sierra Club policies call for stabilizing U.S.
population but do not address the combined impacts of mass migration
and birth rates on U.S. population growth.
Continuing a 12-year decline, the U.S. birth rate has dropped to the
lowest level since national data have been available, according to
statistics just released by the Centers for Disease
Control (CDC). The
rate of births among teenagers also fell to a new record low,
continuing a decline that began in 1991...
Please search the web for the remainder of this story.
Weston selectmen approve new policy
Written by Brian Gioiele
Friday, November 21, 2008
The town is required to maintain drainage culverts, not replace them,
even in areas where nearby properties endure periodic flooding,
according to a newly established policy.
The Board of Selectmen on Thursday, Nov. 6, approved the final wording
of the new policy on culvert replacement on town roads, a move stemming
from the recent rash of requests from
residents asking the town to
examine specific areas of flooding in town.
According to the new policy, the town is “under no obligation, legal or
otherwise, to replace existing culverts” — an opinion town leaders
received this past summer from Town Counsel Ken Bernhard.
The policy does state that the town will “cooperate with residents in
order to determine the nature and location of the drainage problem.”
Property owners may work with the town to replace culverts, according
to the policy, if the project receives
approval from the selectmen and
has been properly vetted by the town engineer, public works director,
and police chief.
“The purpose of this policy is to establish rules for private property
owners,” said Selectman Glenn Major. “It spells out what their
expectations about the culverts should be.”
But that was little consolation for one couple at Thursday’s meeting.
The Fischers, who live on Deep Wood Road, are among a handful of
property owners in that stretch who have
experienced four flooding
situations in the past two years.
“It defies any test of fairness,” said Barry Fischer. “It’s hard to
come to terms with — that this is a town road but the town won’t take
responsibility for it.”
Town Engineer John Conte, also present Thursday, told the selectmen the
culvert in that area was built according to town standards and was not
damaged. He then offered
recommendations that would help alleviate the
flooding, but the work would be at the property owners’ expense...
Please search the Weston FORUM archives for the remainder of this story.
By TOM WOLFE
Published: September 27, 2008 (we only saw it today!)
Be aware that your correspondent is merely bringing you the news when
he reports how many people have besieged the author of “The Bonfire of
the Vanities” over the past week with the question, “Where does this
leave the Masters of the
“This” refers to the current credit panic. The Masters of the Universe
is a phrase from that book referring to ambitious young men...
Please search the NYTIMES archives for the remainder of this story.
Fairfield County still
area in country
August 12, 2008
REGION -- The U.S. economy may be struggling as a whole, but Fairfield
County residents still have money -- and lots of it. In fact, the
region is the richest in the country.
It may not be equally distributed among all its residents, but the
Bridgeport-Norwalk-Stamford metropolitan area had the highest average
total income per resident at $80,192 in 2007 --
up from $74,281 in
2006. The 8 percent increase in per capita personal income also topped
the national average increase of 6.2 percent.
The figures are according to data released last week by the U.S. Bureau
of Economic Analysis.
Fairfield County retained the top spot, while Naples-Marco Island,
Fla., was second, and San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif., was third.
The national per capita personal income (total income divided by number
of residents) in 2007 was $38,632, less than half of Fairfield
County's. In Connecticut, Hartford ($47,641) was the
county and ranked 17th among the U.S.'s 363 metropolitan areas.
Connecticut was the highest-earning state with an average of $54,117 --
40 percent above the national average. New Jersey, Massachusetts, New
York and Maryland followed Connecticut
as the richest state.
Mississippi was the lowest-earning state at $28,845...
Please search the Norwalk HOUR for the remainder of this story.
-------------------- Economy is no drag on vacancies
By Peter Healy
Article Launched: 08/05/2008 02:42:39 AM EDT
As developers work on grandiose plans for projects that might attract
the next UBS AG or Royal Bank of Scotland to Stamford, the city's
office availability rate has remained virtually flat
Please search the ADVOCAT archives for the remainder of this story.
AND IN 2015 CENSUS DATA SHOWS TWO YEARS RUNNING OF CT POPULATION LOSSES.
to our state
Article Launched: 07/12/2008 02:39:30 AM EDT
Get ready for some competitive congressional races in Connecticut soon
after the 2020 Census. That's the time officials say the state is
likely to lose one of its five remaining U.S. House
seats - we
originally had six - and with it one of its seven electoral votes.
The state showed growth over the past year that could charitably be
called "anemic." The population rose 0.19 percent in the past year, the
equivalent of adding about 6,500 people. In a
state of almost 3.5
million, that's almost like going backward.
A multigenerational trend is emptying out the Northeast and filling up
the West, specifically places like Arizona, Colorado and Nevada. Those
states stand to pick up the congressional seats,
and the national
clout, that Connecticut and its neighbors appear on track to lose...
Please search the ADVOCATE archives for the remainder of this story.
from State Data Center at UCONN...
By Kate King, Special Correspondent
Article Launched: 07/11/2008 01:00:00 AM EDT
Fairfield County saw a small increase in population despite a drop
statewide, according to census figures released yesterday.
Stamford, Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien and Westport all saw minor
increases, according to the data. Norwalk posted a decline of 0.1
percent. But the statewide picture isn't promising, experts say,
pointing to a shrinking work force, loss of
jobs, an aging population
and a potential reduction in state representation in Washington, D.C.
"This population growth is consistent with our slow growth in the
recent past," said Lisa Mercurio, director of the Business Council of
Fairfield County. "New England as a whole has been
growing more slowly
than the rest of the U.S."
The population in Connecticut rose 0.19 percent over the last year,
according to the census data. Connecticut's population growth is
the eighth lowest in the nation, according the report.
Nevada had the
highest growth rate since 2006 at 2.9 percent, and Rhode Island had the
lowest at minus 0.36 percent.
Within Connecticut, Milford's population grew the most, by 532 people.
Bridgeport showed the biggest population decline, losing 252 people
over the past year...
Please search the ADVOCATE archives for the remainder of this story.
Uncomfortable Answers to
Questions on the Economy
By PETER S. GOODMAN
Published: July 19, 2008
You have heard that Fannie and Freddie, their gentle names
notwithstanding, may cripple the financial system without a large
infusion of taxpayer money. You have gleaned that jobs are
disappearing, housing prices are plummeting, and paychecks
effectively shrinking as food and energy prices soar. You have noted
the disturbing talk of crisis hovering over Wall Street...
“The open question is whether we’re in for a bad couple of years, or a
bad decade,” said Kenneth S. Rogoff, a former chief economist at the
International Monetary Fund, now a professor at Harvard...
Please search the NYTIMES archives for the remainder of this story.
boasts highest GDP
By Elizabeth Kim, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 07/20/2008 02:31:14 AM EDT
Call it a triumph of brains over brawn.
The region consisting of Stamford, Bridgeport and Norwalk has the
highest average gross domestic product per capita in the country,
according to a new economic study from the Federal
Reserve Bank of New
In their report, "Human Capital and Economic Activity in Urban
America," economists Jaison Abel and Todd Gabe cited the 20 highest
average gross domestic product per capita of
metropolitan areas from
2001 to 2005. They based their list on data provided by the U.S. Bureau
of Economic Analysis.
The Stamford, Bridgeport and Norwalk area, considered a contiguous
employment zone, had an average GDP per capita of $74,261. In second
place was the San Jose, Calif., area with
$66,708. The greater New York
area, which includes northern New Jersey, came in 15th, with an average
Please search the ADVOCATE archives for the remainder of this story.
Report: Westport Commercial Real
Estate Takes Hit
July 11, 2008
Reflecting tough economic times, the Westport office vacancy rate
stayed at around 7.5 percent for the third period in a row but
availability rates went up to 12.5 percent as of July 1, a
Westport commercial real estate broker said today...
Please search WestportNow archives for the remainder of this story.
--------------------- Towns can’t be stricter with big
subdivisions; Windsor ‘Lord’s Woods’ case sets statewide precedent
By Alex Wood, Manchester Journal Inquirer
Published: Friday, September 5, 2008 11:36 PM EDT
In a Windsor case with statewide significance, the state Supreme Court
ruled this week that local planning and zoning commissions can’t impose
stricter standards on large subdivisions
than they do on small ones...
Please search the Manchester Journal-Inquirer archives for the remainder of this story.
Weston's Plan of Development: What is
the town's vision?
Written by Patricia Gay
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
School expansion, adequate municipal septic facilities, and the need
for active recreational areas.
When the town of Weston put together its Plan of Conservation and
Development (POCD) 10 years ago, those were three major public concerns.
But are they the same concerns people in town have today?
That’s what land use experts are hoping to find out at a special
planning workshop being held Thursday, Feb. 26, at the Weston High
School cafeteria. The purpose is to gather public
input on land use
issues for development of the new plan.
The workshop will be moderated by Glenn Chalder of Planimetrics, an
Avon-based planning and consulting firm. “Ultimately, the new plan of
development should reflect the town’s vision,
and you need to know what
that vision is,” Mr. Chalder told members of the Planning and Zoning
Commission at a recent meeting...
Please search the Weston FORUM archives for the remainder of this story.
------------------------- Public nixes idea of expanded
district in Weston
Written by Patricia Gay
Thursday, 23 July 2009 00:00
A large majority of residents attending a town plan workshop were
against the concept of forming a village district in the center of
Harold Halpin, a 16-year resident of Weston and member of the Weston
Village District Coalition, appeared before the Planning and Zoning
Commission Monday night, July 20, to discuss a multi-zoned, village
district plan that would allow for a
mix of residential, municipal,
religious, and business uses in the town center.
The town is currently zoned residential, with one exception — the
Neighborhood Shopping District, which houses Weston Center.
Mr. Halpin asked P&Z to consider incorporating a village district
into the town’s 10-year Plan of Conservation and Development, which the
commission is in the midst of reviewing and updating.
He said the district would be a good thing for Weston and give the town
flexibility to add things like medical offices, sidewalks and cafes.
“The idea is not to turn the center into a commercial district, but to
protect the distinct character of the town while adding some more
services,” Mr. Halpin said.
Another benefit he said was that land values within the district would
increase — if and when residents decided to sell.
P&Z member Don Saltzman did not care for the idea. “It’s too broad
a concept. It’s difficult to encumber people’s houses and I don’t
understand why churches are included,” he said.
Several residents with homes within the proposed contours of the
district said they did not want to risk someone next to them putting up
a commercial structure.
Others who spoke against the idea said it was unfair that houses within
the district could benefit and profit by selling their homes for
And several other others said they wanted Weston to stay as it was,
without more development...
Please search the Weston FORUM archives for the remainder of this story.
water crisis will grow worse if action not taken
By Judy Benson
Published on 4/4/2009
New London - Friday's intermittent rain and dense fog suited the
occasion: the first of two days of a conference featuring scholarly
talks about water.
The conference, “Water Scarcity & Conflict,” focused on a commodity
many Americans take for granted and often waste, but one that is
increasingly the source of tensions and supply
problems across the
”I think there is a water crisis, and it's getting worse, not better,”
said Peter Gleick, a leading expert on the sustainable use of water,
who gave the opening address. Gleick is co-founder
and president of The
Pacific Institute, a nonpartisan policy research group focusing on
environment and development issues. He is also a member of the National
Academy of Science
and a fellow of the American Association for the
Advancement of Science.
Gleick noted there is good news about water - Americans consume less
than 20 years ago, for example, thanks largely to water-conserving
toilets and a shift away from industries
that use large amounts...
Please search the New London DAY archives for the remainder of this story.
What's up in planning elsewhere - like in Hartford 2016 (same planers as...wire mill in Georgetown project) Connecticut slowly embraces a new approach to zoning
By Tom Condon | February 10, 2016
...Hamden has joined a quiet revolution going on across the country in
an area not usually associated with revolutionary fervor: zoning.
Instead of focusing on what a building is used for, as traditional
zoning does, the new approach, called
“form-based zoning,” concentrates on what a building looks like — its
form — and how it relates to the street and the neighborhood.
Story in full: http://ctmirror.org/2016/02/10/connecticut-slowly-embraces-a-new-approach-to-zoning/
At Forum In Hartford, Planners Talk
About Reshaping State's Future
The Hartford Courant
By DON STACOM
June 1, 2009
Clustering new housing around Connecticut's job centers, transit lines
and existing commercial hubs would significantly cut greenhouse gas
emissions and reduce the cost of infrastructure in the decades ahead,
regional planners said at a forum in
Starting from that basic premise, the group Friday exploring possible
approaches to the state's future that ranged from the innocuous, such
as tax incentives for building apartment towers near Union Station, to
the semi-revolutionary — creating a
streetcar route from downtown to
the University of Connecticut Medical Center via Farmington Avenue.
"It's about giving people freedom to choose, and preserving long-term
value for our communities," said David Kooris, Connecticut director of
the Regional Plan Association...
Please search the Hartford Courant archives for the remainder of this story.
Paris Journal: A Paris Plan,
Less Grand Than Gritty
By STEVEN ERLANGER
June 11, 2009
PARIS — Every president of France’s Fifth Republic has had his
Pharaonic project, by which he believes he will leave his mark on the
capital and French culture.
François Mitterrand, a fierce Socialist known as the Sphinx,
left the new French national library and, to continue the Ozymandias
theme, the controversial glass pyramid in the Louvre. Jacques Chirac
left the Musée du Quai Branly, an
anthropological museum, with
an argumentative design by the French architect Jean Nouvel.
President Nicolas Sarkozy, no slouch, wants nothing more than to leave
behind “Le Grand Paris.” In more than a year of discussions, there have
been some spectacular ideas and drawings by 10 teams of famous
architects, drawn by the
president’s invitation to reimagine Paris as a
city integrated with its suburbs and responsible in its environmental
Please search the NYTIMES archives for the remainder of this story.
OTHER PLANNING RESOURCES:
Story as About Weston followed it, without links to in-depth reports previously online.
How did we get to where we are?
What drove the debate? There were two parallel and recurring
- septic solution and school expansion. Seen above left is an old photo of the
FRONT of WMS - voting takes place in the Old Gym, which
has access around the back...next new and old at WHS
and the WIS (r.)
we voting about all over again?
This was the original Referendum
Number One Nov. 15, 2001
question (Question #2) and the original result was 2200 - 1892
favor of a 3-4-5 school; the new
Referendum question was reversed ("yes" meaning "no" and "no"
construction of the new 3-4-5 school). To be a Weston
Meeting voter you have to have had advanced courses in obfuscation.
22, 2003 do-over Referendum Number Two: 3450 votes cast (total
includes 252 absentee
Favoring 3-4-5 school ("no" votes) = 2231
(64.7%)...31 votes more than Nov. 15, 2001 Referendum #1;
Against 3-4-5 school ("yes" votes) = 1219
(35.3%)...673 fewer than in Nov. 15, 2001 Referendum #1.
HOW WE GOT TO WHERE WE ARE:
Intermediate School open September 2005, Weston High School doubled in size, "opened" May '06
PRELUDE: Where this all began - the history (1995
through current) of sewage disposal discussion; ARCHITECTURAL
HISTORY of three (3) different architect/planners' plans for Weston's
...Once confronted with the choice of school expansion and sewers, the
Town said a loud "NO" in May 2000 - and so the "Select Committee" (with
the longest title in the world) was formed; report from State
Department of Education on school population forecast given.
WORKBOOK:The Committee goes to work...supplied with documents by the
then Town Administrator; Select Committee gets extensions...
EFFLUENT: What is the status of septic generation in the heart of
Weston? How can this problem be treated without sewers?
TREATMENT LOCATION...CT D.E.P. lays down the law; upgrades needed
to existing systems before any remedy can be permitted for tertiary
SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION/EXPANSION: Unofficial minutes
for School Building project (as far back as May 2000--in reverse
chronological order), by "About Town"--we did not miss one Building
Committee/School Building Committee
meeting since the Referendum of
November 15, 2001) until after the completion of construction of the Referendum project;
COMMITTEE: with additional representation from Select Committee
(alternatives to sewers), Board of Education facilties sub-committee,
Superintendent of Schools and design critic, the Building Committee
shoulders the task of administrating the early phases of work on school
expansion. Together, these 11 individuals make up the "School
Building Committee." As design work progresses, a Construction
Management firm and an Owner's
Representative come on board to
administrate/supervise the November 15, 2001 Referendum work.
Architects of the Plan that won the Referendum of Nov. 15, 2001.
Previous description of "alternatives" (no $$ here). Results of
Adjourned Town Meeting machine vote that cut short planning prior to
Referendum of Nov. 15, 2001 HERE... during the summer of 2001, planning
for school referendum continues...big meeting at Weston Library.
SUB-COMMITTEE...begun on December 4, 2001...design detailing now held at
end of School Building Committee meetings.
Early design timeline (not current official document).
CONCEPTS: For historical reference - the ideas of the second
architect/planner:The Plan for school construction put on shelf as
septic issue and "sticker shock" - high bonding cost - combine to bring
the two separate
issue discussions together, and bring the school
improvement program to a temporary halt in February 2000.
What were O,R&L's "options" for school expansion?
This is where
it all began: Shortly there after came the Town Engineer's news (l.) and link to reports on "Impact of Sewage Treatment on
the Character of Weston" and more.
JANUARY 18, 1995 (WESTPORT NEWS): On the left is the Town
describing the septic systems at the Schools; right is a suggested
to locate the tertiary treatment plant if such a solution is
have room for expansion (on School Road), but it needs more
The School Road alternative ultimately worked out (Conservation had denied Town-preferred option at Bisceglie twice - second time March 2003).
#1, The Overture) FOUR CLASSROOMS:
We note that this first expansion took place in 1993-94 approx.
The Board of Education had reduced that proposed addition from 8 rooms
[including 4 finished and 4 unfinished] to 4 finished rooms only
over the recommendation of a committee representing Town Boards and
knowledgeable on the
subject of real estate and growth--this was the
of time when Weston was ahead of its neighbors, having anticipated the
need for elementary capacity before other communities did.)
It was January
For those paying attention in January
1995, during the first go-round of "Joint School-Town Facilities
efforts, this information will not come as news. One Saturday
in Town Hall (shown above) at a "Joint... Committee" meeting, in
of 1995, the Town Engineer had news that was most
A member of the Building Committee is reported to have said that the
of Connecticut can "shut down the schools" if there is a problem with
old systems there.
D.E.P., according to the Town Engineer, wanted
to see a plan from the Town showing how it might deal with future
at the schools. His recommendation, if memory serves, was to
a tertiary treatment plant in Bisceglie Park or on
School Road and no
make other improvements to the septic fields as required.
"There are no more
children"...was the cry mid-decade!
That winter finding out how many
children resided in our Town became an issue. It was smack in the
middle of the decade between U.S. Census of Population 1990 and what
to become "U.S. Census 2000" now completed (and getting out of
Demographers were projecting a continuation of dropping birth rates in
wealthy countries (as more women went to work during peak years of
State estimates prior
to that first Census of Children
The State of Connecticut estimate
for children under five years of age in Weston was, if memory serves,
in the range of 475 little persons. This was considered a big
at that time. A prior addition to Hurlbutt just completed was
occupied in the space of time of one school year!
Plan...still a data gap
But where was our plan--long range
or even short range?
At this time, a "Census of Children '95" in
behalf of the then Board of Selectmen was undertaken (by the author of
this "About Town" website).
As already noted above, the Hurlbutt
P.T.O. (and other P.T.O.'s, too) sent out the same census forms to
constituencies, and together, the Town and the School community, plus
from the Assessor's information as a secondary source,
anybody, arrived at a number of children under the age of 5 years
in Weston in the summer of 1995--that number was 808.
as noted above, official demographers were estimating the same cohort
total only 475.
(NOTE: EXPANSION #2) New library at
Hurlbutt and new staff space connecting buildings at Hurlbutt
some said, "Corridor Building",
Conversion of old staff space to
well as new rooms created out of either too small or too large spaces
Weston Middle School.
Also included in this effort was
of a new Board of Education Headquarters Building on School Road [at
site of the old portables/Weston UNION]--removing the Board of
from WMS, freeing up a wing for more teaching space).
Another slightly different yet similar
Town Census in 1997 showed only a minor downturn (but not continued
upward growth trend) in the numbers of children alive and well and
in Weston--just two years after the first Census of Children.
at this point did anyone truly recognize that a tidal wave of children
approaching the Weston School System. The Board of Selectmen
They called upon the architect-planner of the second school expansion
#2 above)--to propose a new solution. (Phase One
or was it Phase Two of that original multiphase plan had the Board of
Headquarters placed in the to-be converted Bus Garage --not as the Plan
was actually implemented--in its own, new
building further up School
June '98: The
big meeting in Weston Middle
A noisy crowd in June 1998
rejected the quickly developed Board of Selectmen options, which first
identified the septic disposal problem for the general public.
they were soon enough!
It was at this point that "No Sewage
(or was it "No Sewers...") became a rallying cry. That "plant"
been suggested for either School Road or Bisceglie Park. In March
of 1999 the Board of Education was still looking for the "out of the
thinker, and selecting yet another architect-planner.
The community was
divided about how to approach the impending inundation of the
we build a new high school somewhere and convert the older buildings on
School Road to lower grades...or should we build a "3-4-5 school" on
and fill in wetlands, overcrowd the center of Town...or should we do
and wait for the storm to subside naturally? And there were more
to pick from, further fragmenting the population.
Back to the drawing
boards with a new planner...
Our version of the work of School Facilities Planners leading up to their
for a School Road campus plan--and then the plan itself plus visual
representations no longer online.
the new planner proposed what
the Town and School Board wanted to hear--that we could makes changes
school policy, rework roads and fields and manage to maintain
...the other shoe dropped--or was it shoes, plural?
for this reworking of our school system was expected to total
and second, we would probably need sewers in order to accommodate the
of new construction and pavement.
(NOTE: This is my
of the proposal--a more than standing-room only crowd in the high
auditorium voiced its displeasure with the idea for sewers.)
The sewage treatment
In the interim, the Planning and
Zoning Commission updated the Town Plan (as required by the State of
The Town Plan of Conservation and Development 2000 as adopted June 30,
2000 is now recommending off-campus school
development (if necessary to avoid installing infrastructure such as
or public water supply pipes).
appointed by the Board of Selectmen to find a way to deal with effluent
from the school complex without necessitating sewerage. They then
created sub-committees with added membership, to look into various
aspects of the issue.
naturally, it was time for a
new town census--as the U.S.
Census of Population and Housing 2000 was not ready in a timely
to see the Town/School Census 2000 questions.
be continued...did you save the
"No Sewage Plant" signs from a few years ago? Are the arguments
and against tertiary treatment (as opposed to sewer line to Norwalk,
and con) going to be revived? Any new ideas?
And it was time to do the Census of Children
again. This time the Town of Weston undertook the project by
itself and apparently made sure everyone answered the questionnaire!
Town Seal designed by Blake Hampton.
This is an unauthorized publication
of the FIRST MAILING for the Weston Census 2000 form, designed and uploaded
as of October 14, 2000, intended only for informational purposes.
A new form has been sent out by
the Town of Weston to the households not
responding to the October mailing (an unofficial version here shown below).
This version below was not intended as a substitute for the official document...IF
ANOTHER OFFICIAL "OCTOBER" CENSUS FORM (i.e. the dog had the
original one for lunch) YOU WERE ASKED BY THIS "ABOUT TOWN" INTERNET PAGE
TO GO TO TOWN HALL AND
ASK FOR ONE FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION
TECHNOLOGY...OR ASK THE TOWN CLERK! HOWEVER YOU MANAGED TO DO IT,
YOU WERE (AND ARE BEING) ASKED
TO PLEASE COOPERATE!!!
Town of Weston, Connecticut
Dear Weston Resident:
As part of the process for planning
for the future needs of the community, we must identify the ages of our
residents. Each age group identifies a different need for our community.
Without understanding the demographics of our town, we
plan for tomorrow and the future. The Board of Selectmen strongly
requests your participation in this local census program by answering the
following questions. All specific information will be kept confidential.
Thank you in
advance for your prompt participation and response.
1. Please fill
in your address________________________________________.
2. How many years
has your household (or family) lived in Weston? (circle one)
Less than two years
Two to five years Five to ten years
More than ten years
3. Please enter
the number of persons living at your address in each of the following age
Under 19_______ 19 to 25_______
26-44__________ 45 to 55_________ 65+_______
4. My family
plans to stay in Weston for the next (circle one) years:
Less than two years.
Two to five years. Five to ten years.
More than ten years.
5. If you have
children living in your household 19 years of age or under, please supply
the following information. (If not, Skip to question 6)
OF CHILDREN IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD
Date of Birth mo/yr
Grade in School, Fall 2000
Attends Weston Schools y/n
Attends Private School y/n
Would you use before
school childcare at Hurlbutt?
childcare at Hurlbutt? y/n
6. Enter the
month and year of birth for all members of your household over the age
A history of the
Weston Town Census program is no longer online.