remember that this page is solely the opinion of "About Weston" and
- BINGO - LOOK FOR PUBLIC INFO MEETING IN JANUARY BEFORE "SPEAK UP XXIV" ON FEB. 7, 2015 - INFO ON WHAT?
ONGOING WITH DEEP/FIIRST SELECTMAN: The three shells and the
pea: Shell #1 the Police Commission, shell #2 Selectmen, shell#3
- Serious planning for new Police Station - who will support this expense
($8 million)? We are wondering where the Town thinks it
will get the money. And an "oops" moment as someone finally asks the Town Engineer about drainage plans...leading
to necessary silence and information blackout, we suspect, because
installation of new septic systems will require high water and low water
tests...was it discussed at the Joint Meeting of Finance and Selectmen
on Election Night? How about at the Board of Finance Thursday,
Dec. 11, 2014?
- SCHOOL ROAD NOT CLOSED TO
TRAFFIC AUGUST 28, 2011 - CLUB WESTON
on hold! Tropical Storm
Irene says "Whoa!" Full steam ahead in 2012, however! School Road closing 6-7-14!
- Ideas and topics - the Highline in NYC; accidents involving bikes,
not in Weston - we don't have train tracks..
- First step in the
multiple moving parts
conundrum in the Central Part of Town settled - new Police Station
including Communications Center will go first, then the offices in the
Portables or Annex will be brought back to Town Hall over 5 years.
How does any of this, including questions about standards used for
measuring runoff, apply?
2015 TO BRING TALK ABOUT: T H E H U B
What a great time to be in Weston if you are a planner!
OUR PLAN FROM 2005 HERE; BASED UPON COLLECTED DATA, MEETINGS NOTES, THIS
IS WHAT WE UNDERSTAND IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING:
- HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION INITIAL REVIEW OF POLICE STATION, ACCESS IMPACTS; FAIRFIELD COUNTY BANK DRIVE THRU WITHDRAWN.
- GLOBAL FACILITIES COMMITTEE MEETING NOTES HERE.
"Implementation of the Plan"
is accomplished by more than just zoning...that's why GLOBAL FACILITIES
COMMITTEE is a good idea. But longer range ideas might need
"planning" arm of P&Z - or delegated by P&Z to another body - to conduct community meetings to flesh out
Plan implementation ideas???
IMPLEMENTATION INTO THE
FUTURE: Zoning Regs done...new draft zone for a Village District
circulated, zone change for Cobb's Mill turned down. Later, Cafe
approved. What's next? Stadium lighting without a stadium? YUP.
BICYCLE-PEDESTRIAN COMMITTEE REVIVES SCHOOL ROAD CLOSING! Rebirth
of Club Weston idea with a twist...
- Town Farm concept discussed at Lachat; trees.
about run off?
- Rebirth of the Nature
Center Building Committee,
meeting held Nov. 8, 2010 - we did not attend, but minutes should be on
file in the Town Clerk's Office.
- EXECUTIVE SESSION:
Board of Selectmen to meeting executive session on "Potential Land
Acquisition" on November 4, 2010. What parcel could this
be? One at the edges of the "Central Part of Town" superblock?
- REVERSE CHRONOLOGY FOR FACILITIES
COMMITTEE: most recent meeting Wednesday, March 2, 2011,
7:30pm in the Town Hall
Meeting Room; in process of preparing a draft of a report to the
Selectmen; visited facilities; second
meeting held Wednesday, October 27, 2010 at 8pm in
Weston Library Community Room; first meeting was organizational, so we
understand, and the 3
members have been going to all town facilities and inspecting for how
these look compared to the Kaestle Boos study observations form a few
In planning, everything's related!
For more, click here...
Bethel says "no" to new Police Station because public not on board with size (size = $$ per sqft).
2015 vote in Weston? If Fire Department volunteers are in favor,
it may pass - the longer it takes to come to a vote, the more it will
become a budget issue indirectly. JMO.
2014: How you tell which meetings are being held for which purpose?
Well, if security for school children is involved, doors are
closed...and if something is being discussed that is desired to be kept
public but not TOO public, it happens at meetings not televised on Town
AT THE BOARD OF SELECTMEN MONDAY, JUNE 23, 2014
When is an item on the Town Plan Implementation page and when does it appear at "Central Part of Town" or "GFC?"
MEMORANDA OF UNDERSTANDING: Besides re-appointments, a land matter was
also taken care of with Town Attorney present. This was the "MOU"
About Town stood to ask if after the year of testing and measuring what
buffers might be provided, why can't the Town develop buffering ordinances on both
light and sound - built around what they've learned during the stadium
lights year of experience?
Senior Center M.O.U. brings clash over threat that
single person can close down this Town service. It turns out that
building use policy is a sticking point, too. Not the end of this...
Stadium Lights M.O.U. has neighbors and other parties
further clarifying their agreement - when it comes down to it, the
neighbors, now bound to it, are the most vulnerable here - let's keep our fingers crossed!
System, too. First Selectman to take it to Conservation
(wetlands). A question, from me, not asked: Is an 80' tower like a tree? Are
there "roots" and how deep must they be to support them?
Also, Lachat Town Farm Commission enlarged to 9 members.
And road completion matter discussed and decided.
What is Memorial Day all about? Remember. Town Engineer remembers about "Lake Gomeau" and the swimming pool effect of drainage from the new Fire House (r).
And by the way, a "Sunshine Report" from the New Haven REGISTER, which may or may not, or we guess it will, improve after new Police Station is built!
In Weston it is about having a good time. Memorial Day 4-Day weekend of regional rides, according to Daily Weston!
plans all coming together for Memorial Day! P&Z meeting at
Town Hall (8:15pm for the Stadium lights 8-24)...PTO Fair: Where
will the rides get stored after Police Station parking lot is built?
AT THE BUILDING COMMITTEE...
WESTON HAS NOT BEEN RURAL FOR A LONG TIME...SINCE 2001.
BRAVO!!! First time we have seen plans for new Police Station! I wonder what Dave would have thought?
Just what we thought the traffic flow should be like, with a minor
alteration or two - over emphasis on big new parking lot (too much
impervious surface) - a work in progress!
BEST MEETING ON THIS SUBJECT SINCE...ONION BARN WAS AT ISSUE A LONG TIME AGO...
POLICE STATION ACCESS ON 57 FOR PUBLIC; REST OF POTENTIAL PROJECT NOT ON THE TABLE
Early review at Historic District Commission Monday at 2pm
went well; tomorrow, Wednesday, at Building Committee the new plans
The two big issues for the project are moving
the Onion Barn and how to phase the renovations/additions at Town Hall.
How much opposition each draws and who has the power to decide the
plan's fate (plan for the Police Station, in this case) is a matter of
how much anybody in town cares about it.
Where is the project now? Why is it or is it not a good idea for Weston
to pursue? What is the plan - to make the Police Station the new face
of Weston - "Welcome to Weston, CT, home of the Weston Police
Department." Sounds like a bad remake of "The Stepford Wives."
I think we have to rethink how we brand this project - the overall plan for the Central Part of Town needs a map;
what is the cost of any of this might be a question some have. Where
will the money come from? How about the cost of not beginning the
Central Part of Town Plan - that is my concern. Without an overall plan
we will waste effort and money fighting battles that need not happen.
At the Historic District Commission meeting at 2pm Monday, a preliminary
presentation (not the latest drawings - in process) by First Selectman,
Police Chief and member of the Police Commission show access to a new
Police Department FOR THE PUBLIC ONLY from Weston Road, pending approval
by the State
Traffic Commission. If the permit claims no more access than presently
uses it - or just a bit more - why move the Onion Barn at all? This is
an old structure and perhaps not in good enough condition - plus the
foundation is new in its present location.
And although we can't quite be sure from the schematics we were given,
looks as if Town Hall is almost doubling but via use of "lower
levels." Good luck to that, based upon the experiences the last
time Town Hall was expanded...with expanding by half again as many
square feet of rooftop and 100% increase in impervious surfaces for
parking and access to the new Police Station, some heavy duty
detention-retention structure will have to be designed to keep runoff
from entering drainage in Route 57 - and flooding the septic systems at
the Shopping Center across Weston Road.
Why do we follow this Committee on the Town Plan Implementation Page? Should P&Z be involved in longer range planning?
GLOBAL FACILITIES COMMITTEE: Superintendent of Schools, member of
Board of Ed, former Board of
Finance member, First Selectwoman, Director of Finance, Bd of Ed, Bd of
Finance, Board of Finance Chair., Director
of Facilities, Bd of Ed, , Building Committee Chair., Town
Administrator. Commission on Aging Chair. in audience. Is Senior Center going to move to the
other side of Town? Nope. Didn't work out. They
will get an extra day and more parking, if things work out...
The Onion Barn in the way of progress?
New Weston police station: Architect to draw up schematics
By Kimberly Donnelly on May 2, 2014
Plans in the works to build a new police station perpendiculare to the
Norfield Firehouse (at right) might also include moving the Onion Barn
(at left, behind police vehicle) about 20 feet to make room for egress
onto Weston Road. —Kimberly Donnelly photo
Plans in the works to build a new police station perpendicular to the
Norfield Firehouse (at right) might also include moving the Onion Barn
(at left, behind police vehicle) about 20 feet to make room for egress
onto Weston Road. —Kimberly Donnelly photo
The Building Committee and the Police Commission are working
collaboratively, with “a level of oversight” from the first selectman,
to complete plans for a new police station in Weston.
“We’ve seen some great progress, said First Selectman Gayle Weinstein.
Ms. Weinstein reported to the Board of Selectmen last week that plans
are moving forward with a design that will orient a new station at the
west end of the Norfield fire station, parallel to Weston Road and
perpendicular to the firehouse.
The new station will be set back with a sally port and egress in the
middle so that the public will see the front of the station facing
Having a sight line from the main road solves one of the problems
frequently encountered with the current police station, Ms. Weinstein
said — that of people not knowing where the police station is and not
being able to find it.
Architect Brian Humes has been asked to draw up schematics, Ms.
Weinstein said, the next step in the process. “We’re very excited that
we’ve moved it to this point,” she said.
Mr. Humes of Jacunski Humes Architects was hired nearly a year ago to do
a space needs assessment for the police department. He determined the
police and emergency dispatch need approximately 14,300 square feet of
space, just under 6,000 square feet more than they currently have.
Mr. Humes’ report takes into consideration the current department size,
the town’s current and projected population, crime statistics, staff,
and vehicles. He used that data to determine space recommendations for a
facility that will serve the town for the next 50 or so years.
Construction costs for the new station are expected to run about $500
per square foot, making the cost of the new building approximately $7
“That’s the very general number,” Ms. Weinstein said. With proper
schematics in hand from Mr. Humes, the Building Committee will be able
to begin “tweaking” the project in order to estimate costs more
accurately and save money wherever possible, she said. “That’s what our
Building Committee is fantastic at.”
There are still many details to work out, Ms. Weinstein said, including
parking and reconfiguring the egress from the police station.
One option under consideration is moving the historic Weston Onion Barn about 20 feet to accommodate an egress.
Any changes to the structure would need approval by both Planning and
Zoning and by the Historic District Commission, since it is within an
Ms. Weinstein said she’s aware of the historical and community
significance of the Onion Barn and she doesn’t want anyone to think the
town is planning to get rid of it.
“I have said I will never be the first selectman that authorizes the teardown and demolition of the Onion Barn,” she said.
However, she added, because relocating the building about 20 feet would
make a better, safer egress for the police station and would improve
safety and parking at the baseball field behind Hurlbutt Elementary
School, “it’s definitely something worth looking at.”
Plans might also include using grass and natural pavers at the entrance
where the Onion Barn now sits, which would also be an improvement over
the current “dust bowl or mud pit situation,” Ms. Weinstein said.
Once the schematics are completed, the project can be put out to bid. It
eventually must be brought to a Town Meeting for approval.
Before that happens, Ms. Weinstein said, she would like to get all the
proper permits approved. “And, of course, we need to figure out how
we’re going to pay for it,” she said.
The space vacated by the police at town hall will likely be renovated to
accommodate other town departments. Land use and social services are
currently housed at the Town Hall Annex, a temporary building expected
to go off-line in about five years.
The town will need to decide if it wants to include renovation of the town hall space as part of the same building project.
GLOBAL FACILITIES COMMITTEE 3-20-14
NOTES - (L-R) THE COMMITTEE, OUR LAND USE MAP FROM 2008 - COMMITTEE
MEMBERS AT THE TABLE...MORE TO COME?
What happened Thursday, March
2014, 7:45am Global Facilities meeting?
Plenty. Fortunately, the Weston FORUM editor
attended this 7:45am meeting and will report it in the
newspaper! "About Town" spoke up supporting another who asked for
P&Z to be in the loop if not actually on the Committee.
A meeting of the minds among Selectmen, Police Commission, Board of
Education, Board of Finance, Building Committee, advisor, Commission on
Aging in the audience as was the Communication Center Director.
No one taking notes except for Weston FORUM editor and "About Town" -
not being videotaped either, I assumed - or maybe it was?
It should have been, in retrospect - because it was an excellent
meeting and there should be a record for review...but this was
advertised as an early meeting with many more to come in a process that
will stretch for years...more "About Town" comment below:
WAS I DREAMING OR DID I HEAR THE
PLAN REPRESENTED AS MY PREFERRED PLAN?
- The Onion Barn Field taken (NOT the Onion Barn, which is
in the firstl Historic District) and I would expect a lot of drainage
work and redo of Hurlbutt fields (nobody mentioned this) to
- Shouldn't the Planning and Zoning Commission help out this
process, wearing their planning hat?
- And our Town Engineer designed the soft drainage (drainage
between the Onion Barn and Fire Department to hold back the overflow
onto Route 57 and into the Shopping Center...the problem was,
previously, that the State of CT catch basins and storm drains were
designed for 25 year flood and would overflow too frequently and run
off onto private property.
- Because the water table is so high in the center of town,
basements flood and this should be recognized as one reason why the new
proposed "Police Station" might have to be two stories above ground???.
- Fuel Cell or other ideas for grants more possible now than
before, and the First Selectman is exploring all kinds of possibilities
re: LEEDS platinum and its benefits.
OCT. 25, 2013 GLOBAL FACILITIES
COMMITTEE: WE STAY FOR TOWN HALL- POLICE EXPANSION OF TOWN HALL
WHAT HAPPENED AT OCT. 25, 2013 EARLY
Great stuff!, well run. Police and safety issues vis a vis
communications center and bringing town hall employees back to town
THE PLANS AT THIS
note the connection to this
article about consolidation in CT...
Below are photos of unofficial plan - developed prior to costing or
even design development phase. Three choices for new P.D. - all
in the Town Hall-Fire Department-Library...access appears key to me
right now - but once we get to design development, after the Schools
come in with their study in January 2014, these ideas may change.
First step, access and
parking for each of the three alternatives. Very different ideas
- no change to shared parking in two, access from Weston Road addded
for two, new P.D. building and separate parking an access only for P.D.
emergencies for the third. JMO.
Pictures of the meeting below, too.
25, 2013 Special Town Meeting 48 Norfield Rd
Says "yes" but at a lower price than agreed to...no
deal, as it turned out.
What happened Friday June 21, 2013 at
10:30am, Global Facilities Committee at Town Hall Meeting Room.
Finance Board on
speakerphone - our notes: Regarding
48 Norfield Road, the Global Facilities Committee met Friday at 10:30am
in the Town Hall Meeting Room and heard some strong support for
purchasing the property and then engaging in a community-wide planning
study of what to do in the central part of town, similar to what
Simsbury did some years ago. Agenda notes below:
GLOBAL FACILITIES COMMITTEE AGENDA ONLINE
FRIDAY JUNE 21, 2013 10:30 AM - before noon.
TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM
1. Discussion/decision regarding the potential uses of 48
Norfield Road - no voting.
2. Discussion/decision regarding Town owned land - preliminary
map displayed without legend - colors meant nother, or so it was
reported. Altho' the Fromson-Strassler property was significantly
3. Discussion/decision regarding school and town facilities -
part of first discussion
NOT OPEN GOVERNMENT, jmo
FACILITIES COMMITTEE FORMED LATER IN 2013 AND NOW HAVING OPEN PUBLIC
meeting was Monday
morning June 10, 2013 at 7:45AM in Town Hall Meeting Room below -
follow their efforts in full here, reverse chronological order.
"NEXT MEETING" WAS TO BE IN LATE JUNE
DECISION ABOUT 48 NORFIELD ROAD IS MADE...NOPE, THERE WAS A MEETING ON FRIDAY BEFORE THE SPECIAL TOWN
Our impression, while initially positive, takes note
that their was a threat to open space the Town owns if it is not
permanently preserved. "Landbanked" purchases such as Moore
Property has town hall investigating the legal standing of "passive
open space" conditions. The map of town land shown is very
preliminary and not at all accurate - taking the "map block and lot"
number of "town" property and putting it on a 1"=600' scale blank map
with no legend explaining why Fromson Strassler was a different color
and style from all the others.
GLOBAL FACILITIES' first open meeting
Monday June 10, 2013 at
7:45am, Town Hall Meeting Room
What should the goals now be? What's on the
table? What are some of the variables?
At this point there was a discussion of properties owned by the
town of Weston that they might sell - Jarvis, Davis Hill open space,
Lachat, Keene Park, Morehouse.Farm Park, Fromson Strassler. A
discussion of affordable housing came up briefly. Strong opinions
were voices regarding: no more new buildings, move the bus
garage. Need for coordination of consultants' work mentioned.
Concentrate on new revenue sources, bearing in mind that Weston will
not be getting any larger - keep budgets and new projects in
check. Also, an addition to historic building (48 Norfield) might
do the trick if the drainage issue can be resolved.
- Next meeting planned for the end of
June...oops, Special Town Meeting approves lower amount, deal
falls through for former Guidera law office.
- Close Annex, move staff;
- Jarvis - sell? EMS/Communications Center?
- 48 Norfield - Town/School officies? - will know by end of
June if there is interest in buying it.
- Sell previous purchased town open space?
- Declining enrollment in schools (?); space available
study (by same consultant as Board of Police Commissioners);
- First Selectwoman reported...at Planning & Development
Committee in Hartford: "'Lady, you need to change your
- East House Town Use?
- Re purpose space.
- There might be reuse of school buildings for pre-K
- How is our enrollment picture similar or not to other
- On the "Town side" of facilities report implementation
(Kastel Boos) - town has not done as well as the Board of Ed (see first Committee work) - Police and Fire and
Communications next step
Weston Library is independent of the Town - should part of the Library
be considered for any future town use?
In case you were wondering, Town
Meeting has said yes many times to buying land...no Committees
involved, Board of Selectmen did it, the review and other calculations, via Executive Sessions.
FROM A TOWN PLAN UPDATE PAGE - http://www.aboutweston.com/landuse99.htm
LANDBANKING BY TOWN OF WESTON: Special Town Meeting, January 9,
2003: Town Meeting voters approved this action.
Fromson-Strassler gets a "yes" from both P&Z and Board
of Finance (Special Town Meeting January 9, 2003); P&Z says
"yes" to both but Board of Finance says "no" to part of former Maurice
Moore estate--then reverses itself and says "yes" after Town staff does
more research and legal wording is changed by prospective seller...and
Town Meeting agreed after discussion of both - standing count needed
for Fromson-Strassler (not close when the votes were tallied);
voice vote all that was needed for Moore OK!
(L) FIRST SELECTMAN OF KILLINGWORTH REACTS TO THIS - NOW ENTERING ITS LAST STEP BEFORE IMPLEMENTATION.
KILLINGWORTH'S DEGRADED STREAMS (C); (R) WHITE ARE NON-IMPACTED AREAS ON
L.I.S. - NON-POINT SOURCE POLLLUTION NOW PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE.
CT Water Quality Standards, Section. 303 (c) (1) "Triennial Review" for EPA Region 1.
Killingworth is inland, above
Madison (on the Sound). Like Weston is to Westport.
Although the First Selectman noted that catch basins on roads were few
and far between (because all they have is trees and woods and parks),
she was not pleased by the one size fits all DEEP effort. A blow up from
the Killingworth Town website, showing DE(E)P surface water quality,
from their 2008 Town Plan, (C) - also appears as unimpaired on DEEP map
of Regional Basins, at right in white.
Surface water quality is an indicator of what might be coming next for
groundwater. And by the way, we note that DEEP has not stopped CTDOT
from ordering localities to use salt in their sand for winter treatment
of roads! A reversal of what used to be the ideal.
Town Center in rural CT trial
"Natural run off" in town center, paved
over for parking lot.
slow to embrace new approach to storm runoff pollution
Jan Ellen Spiegel, CT MIRROR
October 18, 2011
TORRINGTON -- Kim Barbieri, the zoning and wetlands enforcement officer
here, points to what looks like a gravel-topped garden set in a steep
concrete sidewalk in this city's old downtown. There is one cherry tree
growing in it.
"If I took a gallon of water and dumped it right here, it would not
spill off of this," she said. "It would just go straight in."
And that, surprisingly, is a big deal.
The gravel in fact is called FlexiPave, a carpet-like aggregate of
recycled rubber and gravel. Underneath is soil engineered at Cornell
University that includes large stone, compost and mortar. The two allow
the tree to grow without its roots heaving the concrete and water to
filter naturally through the ground, a process that will clean it
before it winds up in the nearby Naugatuck River, which leads to the
Housatonic, which eventually dumps into Long Island Sound.
This is an example of what's
known in the current green lexicon as low impact development, or LID.
It covers a host of techniques, zoning and engineering practices
designed to more environmentally handle stormwater runoff, which in
Connecticut has a major impact the water quality in the Sound.
Simple concept, yes? But in practice here, LID gets hit-and-miss
attention with minimal funding, even though there is a demonstration
project on the state Capitol grounds. Unlike the sweeping policy,
coordination and financing mechanism the state now has for energy,
communities and even state agencies interested in LID are pretty much
on their own.
"The practice in the region is really advancing; just in five years
there's a significant amount of momentum building," said Robert Roseen,
director of the University of New Hampshire's Stormwater Center which
researches and advises on the subject and has become the go-to source
for the northeast, if not the nation, on LID-related matters.
"Connecticut certainly is not in the forefront on that," he said.
"You'd think the interest would be enormous considering the Long Island
The FlexiPave in Torrington was installed as part of a 10-community
Municipal Land Use Evaluation pilot project in the Farmington River
watershed that, if not for a $500,000 fine against Hamilton Sundstrand
in 2007 for environmental violations, might have never happened. The
money went to help the communities take steps towards changing how they
handle stormwater, from regulations going forward to actual projects.
But with the money spent, about the best the state can offer at the
moment is advice and encouragement along with examples of LID that are
installed around the Capitol in Hartford, including porous pavement and
small rain gardens.
"We've directly worked with 10 towns and we're hoping that other towns
will see this, will talk to someone from another town and we just hope
they contact us and ask for additional information," said MaryAnn Nusom
Haverstock, the supervising environmental analyst with the Department
of Energy and Environmental Protection handling the project. "The hope
is we've planted some seed money here but it will go much, much
The general function of LID is to limit the time water spends on paved
surfaces collecting oils and other contaminants by dealing with it as
close to its source as possible. Techniques typically include retention
ponds that allow runoff to filter naturally instead of through
expensive piping and catch basins, narrower roads without curbs, rain
gardens that direct runoff for horticultural purposes and use of
pervious concrete, asphalt and pavers that also mean less piping and
more natural filtration.
Researchers like Roseen, advocates, communities that have begun limited
LID as well as private adopters point out that many of these are less
expensive than conventional engineering, and even the ones with higher
upfront costs in the long term are likely to save money. Some, however,
like certain pervious pavements, can have higher maintenance costs.
Stormwater management is driven by performance standards for how clean
runoff must ultimately be as dictated by the federal Clean Water Act.
States implement the standards through what are known as stormwater
permits. How water is cleaned generally is a function of local zoning
laws and land use policies.
Tightening regulatory requirements typically has been the impetus
behind zoning and land use changes, including those considered "green."
Municipalities, Roseen said, are unlikely to embrace LID without some
kind of regulatory push.
Connecticut is just finishing a two-year process - several years late
environmental advocates point out -- to revise its stormwater permit
regulations in anticipation of tighter requirements expected from the
Environmental Protection Agency in another year or so. Some of the
Connecticut permit manuals will now include appendices covering LID,
but they are guidance, not requirements.
Advocates and others say that's not enough; that what the state needs
is an overarching LID policy goal.
"A more cohesive message from the state to towns would be helpful,"
said Michael Dietz, the water resources educator for the Nonpoint
Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO) program run through the
University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension to help municipalities
manage land use and resources. "It is a little bit difficult. People
don't like heavy-handed regulations."
Within state government, agencies are encouraged -- not required -- to
use LID. The Department of Transportation, with ongoing new work and
continuous repair projects even in difficult economic times that have
stymied much of the new construction for which LID is most
cost-effective, uses LID when it's appropriate and possible such as on
the I-95/91 interchange and Quinnipiac River Bridge project, said Chief
Engineer Thomas Harley. But he said most projects aren't tearing up
whole roadways. "We're not going to buy a neighborhood to put these
Others dispute his notion that LID necessarily requires additional land.
Addressing a widely held belief among experts and government officials
that engineers in general and departments of transportation in
particular have been less than embracing of LID, Harley said: "They get
stuck in the box that they grew up in.
"It's hard for me to say DOT is pushing the envelope. DOT is not trying
to change the rules. We're trying to live by them as they change under
DEEP spokesman Dennis Schain called state adoption of LID "an
"Changes in stormwater permits, even if they're not ironclad
requirements, are still important," he said. "As are changing zoning
regulations to allow for no curbs."
Experts and officials also point out LID's broader impact from more
natural surroundings - which means more things like trees - which in
turn have environmental benefits - which in turn attract more people.
Green infrastructure they call it.
Groups like the Connecticut Nursery and Landscape Association view that
as a jobs stimulator. Kevin Sullivan, owner of Chestnut Hill Nursery
and a board member of CNLA, said his group has been working with state
officials to make it part of the LID economic equation.
"The buzzword of green infrastructure is important to us. We actually
create it; we grow it," he said. But, pointing again at engineers, he
said there's a "disconnect.
"It's at times frustrating."
Leah Schmalz of Save the Sound, a program of the advocacy group
Connecticut Fund for the Environment, said using LID to clean water
infused with everything from lawn fertilizer to street pollutants can
help improve the livelihoods of fishermen and others who make their
livings from Long Island Sound.
She noted the financial obstacle in Connecticut where no city or town
has a stormwater authority, as do communities in other states, allowing
them to levy user fees to help fund LID projects. Three stormwater
authority pilot projects in New Haven, Norwalk and New London,
authorized by state enabling legislation, have so far failed to
"I do believe there needs to be a an overarching coordinated effort,"
Schmalz said of state involvement, but stopping short of faulting its
limited and delayed efforts.
"Is it ideal to be doing a few pilot projects and calling it quits?
No," she said. "Is it good to have pilot projects to gather information
for long-term strategy? Yes."
From that standpoint, the upshot of the Farmington watershed project is
mixed. Avon used its share in the money to make zoning regulations
flexible enough to include LID as part of plan to reshape downtown.
"Rather than mandating LID, our conversation has always sort of been
eliminating the barrier to it," said John McCahill, Avon's planning and
community development specialist.
Torrington used its funds to take a more forceful route, making LID the
default mode for subdivision development and exploring concepts like
shared parking to cut down on the need for lots.
"Whether this would have happened without state funding? I don't think
so," said Barbieri echoing the sentiment of other communities. And she
noted it was fun during tropical storm Irene to watch the water
disappear in locations where LID measures were in place.
"If Irene wasn't a good test," she said. "I don't know what is."
P&Z members expressed serious interest in saving trees from
Planning and Zoning
Monday, May 16, 2011 - three members of the public present.
with minor technical changes for Special Permit section (i.e. Farmers
Fire Station not owned by Town of Weston) and plus
Apartment Regulation now to be dealt with as of right, with no Special
Permit public hearing or notice to neighbors - staff will take care of
apartment applications in house, if we understood things
addition, there will be more sections of the Zoning Regulations changes
to go to Public Hearing, but not until September 6, 2011.
Planning board approves adding
sustainability goals to city's master plan
Elizabeth Kim, Stamford ADVOCATE Staff Writer
Published: 10:35 p.m., Saturday, January 1, 2011
STAMFORD -- Representing the first significant policy amendment to the
city's master plan, a 47-page amendment that outlines a set of
long-term sustainability goals for Stamford has been unanimously
adopted by the Planning Board.
The amendment was written by the city's land use bureau staff, along
with members of Sustainable Stamford, an environmental advocacy group.
To a large degree, the authors compiled policies that have over the
years become part of the city's agenda: transit-oriented development,
reducing personal vehicle usage, making improvements to the Stamford
Transportation Center, conserving parkland, and expanding recycling, to
name but a few of the more than 70 proposals included in the plan.
In voting to approve the amendment last week, board members rejected a
recommendation from those representing developers to avoid the use of
words like "require" and "promote."
Among the chief concerns of the developers was the city's promotion of
standards set by the United States Green Building Council's
certification program, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design,
otherwise known as LEED. Developers had argued that the LEED framework
can wind up being costly and inefficient.
The sustainability amendment does not require private developers to
adopt LEED, but beginning next year, the city is planning to implement
its own ratings system to judge certain projects on the basis of their
Stamford is currently home to at least 15 significantly-sized buildings
or developments that have been certified as LEED.
Despite favoring stronger language, the Planning Board did make one
concession to developers, by revising the land use bureau's suggestion
to make all new city buildings reach LEED Gold status, the second
highest of the four ratings. Currently, a Stamford ordinance requires
such buildings to attain LEED Silver certification.
"What if some of them can't do LEED?" asked Theresa Dell, the board's
chairwoman. She proposed that the city accept an alternative
The change reflected hesitation by both the Planning Board and city
land use officials to push more aggressively for LEED, which has been
incorporated by other cities and states. For example, Connecticut
mandates all large state construction projects to be built according to
LEED. In New York City, considered a national leader in green planning,
many building projects that receive city funds must follow LEED
On another issue, the board also declined to incorporate a request from
preservationists to include a section on saving and rehabbing historic
Robin Stein, the city's land use bureau chief, argued that the master
plan already contained a section on the subject. "Some communities are
much more supportive of historic preservation than Stamford is," he
said. "I just think it would have been overkill."
However, Renee Kahn, director of the city's Historic Neighborhood
Preservation Program, criticized the omission, saying, "There is
nothing greener than saving an existing building."
She added that preservation of existing housing stock is often aligned
with the city's affordable housing goals, an issue which is highlighted
in both the master plan and the sustainability amendment.
Despite the passage of the amendment, implementation is likely to be
gradual. The city's master plan is not a regulatory document, but
rather a compendium of recommended ideas and policies. In some cases,
it has taken years for the city to approve the regulations needed to
enforce the master plan
The challenge now, Stein said, is "to get things to actually happen."
Haven considers tax on stormwater
Published: 01:14 a.m., Sunday, January 2, 2011
NEW HAVEN (AP) -- New Haven officials believe they may have found a new
source a revenue: a fee for stormwater removal.
A proposal would establish a Stormwater Authority that would charge
residents a flat fee for the stormwater removal, while property owners
that create more runoff -- such as those with large, impermeable
parking lots -- would pay more.
Storm water removal includes services such as maintenance, street
sweeping and catch basin cleaning.
Currently, all those service are paid for through taxes. City
Administrative Officer Robert Smuts says the idea is to switch to a
system paid for by users. Critics say the fee is just another tax and
they ask if other taxes will be cut if the new fee is imposed.
The cost of managing storm water runoff in New Haven is about $2.5
Central Park pedestrian circulation - separate from vehicular
If the Town of
Weston owns the title to Lachat (l), by itself, there are many new
- Town Farm (like Westport)
with apartment in main house for caretaken/teacher.
- Open space restrictions
could be trumped by Town-owned housing (i.e. case of Haddam Land
- Town-leased corporate park
(public water drawn from Aquarion wells on Godfrey Road) a possibility
or is that idea only for Georgetown Fromson-Strassler property?
Wakeman Farm and
GVI: Resolution Reported Reached
James Lomuscio contributed reporting
Posted 08/05 at 09:50 PM
There has been a resolution to the simmering controversy involving the
town-owned Wakeman Town Farm and the pioneering Westport environmental
group Green Village Initiative (GVI) and its highly regarded teacher of
the year tenant farmer. But exactly what was decided is not known.
Sal Gilbertie, a member of the GVI board, said the board agreed on a
course of action at a Thursday meeting but would not say what it was.
He said a GVI statement would be forthcoming but did not say when.
First Selectman Gordon Joseloff, who had previously said the town was
working hard for a successful resolution to the issue of continued
residency at the farm by teacher Mike Aitkenhead and his family, said
he had been told of a GVI decision but did not know the details.
Calls to another GVI member were not returned. Earlier in the week Dan
Levinson, who founded the non-profit GVI in 2008, said that a release
about the matter would be forthcoming soon, but no official statement
has been given.
By James Lomuscio
Aug. 3. 2011
Board members of Westport’s Green Village Initiative (GVI) say
that a shakeup involving the town-owned Wakeman Town Farm and its well
regarded farmer-teacher occupant hired by GVI is nearing a resolution.
The controversy centers on Michael Aitkenhead, a Staples High School
advanced placement environmental studies teacher and 2010 Teacher of
the Year, who had been hired to run the farm, living there with his
wife and two small children. A report on the local 06880 blog
that Aitkenhead’s contract has not been renewed caused a flurry of
objections from Staples students as well as criticism of GVI. Five GVI
board members reportedly resigned over the matter.
Aitkenhead and some of the GVI board met at Town Hall Tuesday morning
to iron out differences, but no resolution has been reached. Board
member Sal Gilbertie said that he is hopeful the matter will soon be
resolved. Approached at the farm on Monday, Aitkenhead said he
has been advised by his attorney not to talk and walked away.
Board members examining Aitkenhead’s stewardship of the farm reportedly
found fault in numerous areas. An individual close to the GVI
board but not a town official or employee, and who asked to remain
anonymous, said safety supervision was among board concerns which
exposed the town to potential liability. The person said that the
board offered Aitkenhead a six-month contract to make improvements in
his performance and that he refused it.
Begun “to create environmental and community change,” according to its
website, GVI entered into a $1 a year lease agreement with the town in
2009 to operate the farm, gifted to Westport by farmer Isaac Wakeman.
Caretaker Aitkenhead and his family live in the 122-year-old renovated
farmhouse that was home to Pearl Wakeman until her death in 2009.
Dan Levinson, who founded the non-profit GVI in 2008, said that a
release about the matter would be forthcoming soon, but no official
statement has been given.
“At this point, we’re hopeful things work out,” board member Gilbertie
said. “We’ve got some positive vibes.”
His sentiments were echoed by First Selectman Gordon Joseloff and
Second Selectwoman Shelly Kassen.
“We’re working hard to achieve a successful resolution,” Joseloff said.
“I’m hopeful, working very closely with GVI on behalf of the town, that
everything will work out for the best,” said Kassen.
The Wakemans sold 38 acres of prime farmland to the town in 1970 for
$200,000. Most of the property, known as Wakeman Park, is now used as
playing fields. Pearl Wakeman died in the farmhouse on the
property in 2009 at age 90. (See WestportNow April 20, 2009)
Isaac Wakeman died May 7, 2000, at the age of 88. As part of the sale,
he retained lifetime use of 2.2 acres of the property containing the
farmhouse for himself and his wife. The deal became the subject
of much controversy 20 years later when the town sought to build
playing fields on the property.
Wakeman maintained he had a “handshake” deal to keep the land as open
space. The town said otherwise and prevailed.
LEFT, BIKE PED COMMITTEE. Right, Parcours station
in blue; Bisceglie Park location below.
and Pedestrian Committee:
Forging a path forward
Written by Kimberly Donnelly
Wednesday, 08 December 2010 12:04
[The Weston Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, clockwise from left, Eric
Tyson, Julie Sidhu, Jon Howell, Ray Rauth, chairman, Allison Robbins,
Louise Hastings and Ruth Glazer. —Kimberly Donnelly photo]
The Weston Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, clockwise from left, Eric
Tyson, Julie Sidhu, Jon Howell, Ray Rauth, chairman, Allison Robbins,
Louise Hastings and Ruth Glazer. —Kimberly Donnelly photo
Weston’s newly formed Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee met for the
first time last week to roll out plans for the path it wants to take.
The seven-member committee was formed by the Board of Selectmen in
September to explore ways to enhance pedestrian and bicycle access
throughout Weston. The committee was one of the recomendations made in
the 10-year Plan of Conservation and Development, written by the town’s
Planning and Zoning Commission, as a way to strengthen and support a
sense of community in Weston.
The committee has been tasked with determining whether proper bicycle
and pedestrian design can be incrementally incorporated into the town’s
existing transportation system; deciding if some roads can be closed
off to motorists at certain times to be utilized exclusively for
bicyclists and pedestrians; and working to educate motorists, cyclists
and pedestrians on proper safety techniques with a goal of making the
town’s roads a safer place for all.
Committee members include Chairman Ray Rauth, who also chairs the
Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board to the state Department of
Transportation, Julie Sidhu (secretary), Eric Tyson, Jon Howell, Ruth
Glazer, Louis Hastings, and Allison Robbins
All of the members are either active runners, walkers, or cyclists — or
all three. They all expressed a love of outdoor activities and a
frustration in not being to take full advantage of Weston’s roadways
because of safety concerns.
Ms. Glazer lives on Nimrod Farm Road, just north of School Road. “When
I first moved here, I decided to walk to the post office one day. I got
out there and I felt like I was risking my life,” she said. “Weston is
such a beautiful town, it’s a shame you can’t feel safe walking down
Mr. Rauth pointed out that statistics collected by the South Western
Regional Planning Agency (SWRPA) show that there are actually
relatively few bicycle vs. vehicle and even fewer pedestrian vs.
vehicle accidents reported in Weston. While all agreed there are likely
more “close calls” and unreported accidents than are reflected in the
official data, Mr. Rauth said there is a “reality vs. perception”
Part of the problem is “we don’t have the critical mass of enough
people using the roads — other than driving on them — that we need to
make them safe,” Mr. Rauth said. The committee, he added, can be “the
nucleus of that critical mass.”
There was a consensus on the committee that “sidewalks all over town”
are not what anyone wants. However, they also agreed that
“connectivity” of various natural gathering places in town — i.e., town
hall/library, town center, the schools, Bisceglie-Scribner Park — is a
It is not as simple as just putting in sidewalks or a bike path,
however. Things to be considered include bike racks, pocket parking
areas, paths to connect the town’s many culs-de-sac and dead ends,
clearing of roadside brush, installing signs, crosswalks, and
restriping and paving options.
First Selectman Gayle Weinstein told the committee that SWRPA has been
working on a long-term transportation plan for the southwest region.
For Weston, one of the top transportation priorities is improving some
of the intersections in town, including the three that would be part of
a center of town loop: Norfield and Weston roads, School and Weston
roads, and the four-road intersection of Georgetown Road, Old Mill
Road, Weston Road, and Newtown Turnpike that currently has a blinking
light and three stop signs.
Acknowledging that there are many pieces to the puzzle and many town
departments, officials, and commissions that must be involved, the
Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee decided to invite the police chief,
the chairmen of the Planning and Zoning and the Conservation
commissions, and representatives from the Parks and Recreation
Department and Commission and the Sustainability Committee to some of
its upcoming monthly meetings.
The committee will meet on the first Wednesday of each month from 12:30
to 2:30 in the Commission Room at Weston Town Hall. All interested
members of the public are welcome to attend meetings.
Led by Ms. Sidhu, the group is also planning to walk Bisceglie-Scribner
Park to look at the fitness trails there next Wednesday, Dec. 15, at
12:30, weather permitting.
“Bisceglie Park is a neglected treasure,” Ms. Sidhu said. When the
baseball fields there were built several years ago, the fitness trail
that was already in place was split and has since fallen into
disrepair; many don’t even know it’s there, she said. With just a
little care, the area would be great for seniors, especially, she added.
The committee is also looking at improving bike and pedestrian
accessibility on School Road.
First Selectman Weinstein said she has met with the president of the
middle school PTO about exploring a Safe Routes to Schools federal
grant that is disbursed by the state. The purpose of the program is to
make it safer for elementary school-aged children to walk or bike to
school; the grant could pay for the bulk of the cost of installing
sidewalks along School Road, Ms. Weinstein said.
The first selectman said she is also looking at the Healthy Lives
Initiative that is part of the new federal health care bill. Because
Weston’s Senior Center is on the school campus, the town might qualify
for some of that funding if it were used to install sidewalks there.
The town has also talked about closing School Road to motorized
vehicles at certain times in order to encourage using the road for
walking, biking, running, etc.
The committee agreed that the educational component of its mission is
perhaps the most important if there is to be a change in town. They
also realized, however, that they first need a cohesive and focused
For example, the state has a relatively new law on the books that
requires cars and trucks to give cyclists a minimum clearance of three
feet when passing them on the road. Mr. Rauth showed the committee road
signs, posters, and bumper stickers that are available.
Committee members were enthusiastic, but soon realized there is work to
be done first to determine if and where signs can be installed on town
and state roads, if that’s something the town wants, and how much it
will cost. After figuring all of that out, then an education campaign
to spread the word may be developed.
Ms. Glazer agreed to put together a “master plan” of the committee’s
ideas and goals, broken down into components that can be tweaked and
“So in a sense we have a path forward to the next meeting,” Mr. Rauth
said at the conclusion of the inaugural meeting.
A MAP NEEDED.
School/Town property (l) towards lower right; Schools and Town
"superblock." Notes taken at meetings
above in reverse
COMMITTEE" formed by Selectmen to evaluate public land and
buildings in light of future needs - a precursor to perhaps a larger
Committee (Hal Shupack, Glenn Major and Joe Fitzpatrick); first
meeting conflicts with Board of Selectmen Thursday, October 7,
2010. Do you think they will concentrate on infill
development of properties colored light, bright green and dark
blue? Will they map town-owned rights of way, easements and
development rights parcels? (Too much work for anybody else we can
think of, so far.)
CENSUS 2010 DATA FOR
Source: South Western Regional Planning Agency
A MAP OF POPULATION DENSITY IN
WESTON 2010, U.S. Census of
Population and Housing
THE ACTUAL DATA FOR
WESTON; American Community Survey Data 2005-2009
the snapshot of Weston population and housing in greater depth.
Click on spread
sheet above to get 2005-2009 "Rolling Census" American Community
Survey data for Weston. This source will give you much of
the detail Weston got from the Census 2000 and earlier - statistically
is was collected differently - it might even be more accurated
than samples from the past!
Sketch Plan 2005 (left); At right, a blank base map for central Weston planning. About Town colors in 2005 example here.
CHARTER REVISION NECESSARY...AGAIN?
How could changing the form of Weston government assist in supporting the
Plan at the left? Four neighborhoods with three members each or
perhaps more, of an RTM each (but onethird of that number per "ring"
neighborhoods shown) replacing the Town Meeting, for example. With
a Board of Selectmen and all the other boards that have operating
authorities in the budget continuing. RTM is on top and is
NON-PARTISAN so that unaffiliated voters may participate as members.