ABOVE TOP:  The current faces at NEMO-CLEAR (left to right--John, Chet and Jim); Zoning Regs to be ready for September 2007 Public Hearing: Weston Zoning Regs.
BELOW:  Planning and Zoning at the end of process...tired but happy to have finished the Plan - now the hard work begins implementing it!  Or at least trying to do so!!!

THE WESTON PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION:  Not working in a vacuum



PLANNING & ZONING:  Please remember that this is not official information, nor does it purport to represent the opinions of anyone but the author of these pages.  A source for basic urban planning education is:  http://www.planning.org/


BAD NEWS IN 2009 - "Shovel ready" may mean burying this fine idea...planning process take too long or was it just the ways things work?  There may be some news of a positive sort soon...and that word came from former lead staff who noted at a SWRPA meeting that the scale of any development and the timing, while bad for the project, will create less upset in neighboring communities through constrtuction.
Weston land use 1999 next. Georgetown Land Development gets "smart growth" award and now funding comes through for green design at Gilbert & Bennett - see CLEAR aerial photo and official UK greenbelt next...for overview of the Weston Plan itself, click HERE. PLANNING & ZONING:

NEWS:  P&Z to go to Selectmen tent. Monday, May 10 (a "special") to get their comments.  DRAFT is on the Town Website;  the Selectmen may hold their own Public Hearing;  deadline for finishing  in time to get SWRPA comments and the 65-day comment from the general public is supposed to be June 30, 2010.
NOT SO NEW NEWS:  Here is Planimetrics' review of where we're at with the Town Plan - click here for their report.

CONTENTS: Links to our researchNew CLEAR and CT DEP website for maps - http://www.cteco.uconn.edu/
E-WESTON TOWN PLAN UPDATE

The Plan of Development for Weston, CT; change "workshops" - water meeting with NEMO;
Elements of the Plan to focus on for future impacts:
Aquifer protection;
CT towns with designated aquifers;  Weston's mapped aquifer;

NEMO imperviousness mapping regression analysis coming!
New NEMO page for do-it-yourself planning!  http://nemo.uconn.edu/tools/cri/index.htm.
Source of info recommended by DEP -who else--NEMO!
State of Connecticut's "Aquifer Protection" areas.
Eminent domain research,,,OLR reports HERE.
ZONING:  Weston uses "floating zone" concept (with standards and site plan review ) and "special permit" to control other-than purely 2 acre residential and farming use. 
What do other placesdo (and what are some issues there)?
Planning & Zoning gets Weston Center to file site plan;  take our Weston "downtown" quiz here..

  • Unofficial update of Town Plan begun (first things first:  develop an existing land use map...)

  • ANYTHING NEW OUT THERE? ENERGY IMPROVEMENT DISTRICTS - link here and scroll down to sections 21-36 for the official word, or click here to go to this website's version  (Weston's unofficial planning process as well as a look at a few places far away.)  Cool map of "tear-downs" in Westport HERE (thanks to WESTPORTNOW.COM)
    Ideas;  density bonus legislation/special taxing district
    Change agents;
    Action;Facts.
    Related Weston Town Plan 2000 information - unofficial Town Plan illustration.
    Unofficial version of the Town Plan's maps;
    Postcards from Weston.
    CT Plan of Conservation & Development 2004-2009 link HERE;

  • Outdoor Recreation in CT;  go directly to information on "SCORP" HERE;
  • NEMO land cover map for Weston HERE.  CLEAR interactive and explanation of remote sensing data HERE for Weston.
  • Wetlands:  what are they and how many different types can you think of...
  • Out-of-town projects;
  • Nature Center at Lachat news...
  • Regional Planning and data link to U.S. Census Bureau

  • State of Connecticut:  latest CT PLAN OF C&D - easy to read version.
    Special Permit Zoning gives people the last say...latest (things happen slowly in Weston...):

    LACHAT AGAIN!
    At left, concept;  center, the site of P&Z Special Permit public hearing;  at right, ATBM considers cut to funding...and they did;  another Committee formed - "Lachat Advisory Committee."

    LACHAT:  something is up...Committee (not sure which one) is to meet, we think, on June 18, 2009 at Lachat.
    NEW COMMITTEE REVIVED PLAN - Public Hearings September 12 and 25, 2006 came up with modest proposal;
    Juliana Lachat Preserve Master Plan presented first Dec. 4, 2003, then...
    June 17, 2004 Special Town Meeting says "YES" to $1.5 million Town share of funding plan...and then project is withdrawn after first night of Special Permit Public Hearing at Planning and Zoning...ATBM cuts all funding for FY07.;  WHAT NEXT?

    Cultural, historic, architectural and natural preservation...

    Click (l.) above for history of G&B.
    Built environment - click (next) for Whidbey Island, WA news; and our Seattle page.
    Mt. St. Helen's outside Seattle, 2004--nature takes a hand...in other places, too.

    How to start...inside as well as outside (of Weston proper):  check out P.A.05-205;

    Historic Presevation:
    Georgetown, CT:  a work in progress; elsewhere in New England:

  • Site Plan Public Hearing for Georgetown Development at former Gilbert&Bennett Property;
  • Gilbert & Bennett history;  Georgetown Land Development press:  http://www.georgetownland.com/news.asp
  • Georgetown and the Flood of 1955;
  • Georgetown CT New Urbanism?
  • Neighborhood plans/revitalization:

    West Hartford, CT:  Blue Back Square news...
    Seattle, WA: a cool place to emulate?  Maybe not... NEWS here.  Check up on third count of votes in gubernatorial election HERE;
    On Whidbey Island, WA., cultural activity is an accepted way to build community (supporting its
    arts community). Ideas from Whidbey Island HERE.

    Seattle, WA  incorporates urban design into its planning;  check out Whidbey Island research HERE
    R-e-s-p-e-c-t nature's impact:  Mount St. Helen's virtual tour...

    Urban design in Redding:

    We think the Central Part of Weston needs some:  some ideas;
    Any development consequences of Zenon plant use?
    CT SITING COUNCIL...cell towers, 345kV lines regulators;
    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on power to Long Island;  other (not Weston)
    History of School Construction: HOW DID THIS MEGA-PROJECT develop?Army Corps projects;


    Open space planning - both active and passive open space - involving transit:

    Seattle neighborhoods to be linked by bike trail - how does SAFETEA-LU (Federal Highway Bill) relate to this?
    SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER STAFF
    Tuesday, June 21, 2005

    The City Council yesterday approved a measure that will allow hikers and bicyclists to travel between Magnolia and Fremont by trail.  The Ship Canal Trail's link at the Ballard Bridge will now connect to the Lake Union waterfront. In 1996, the city acquired property as part of the Lake Union Ship Canal Trail Project, allowing the trail to be extended from near the Fremont Bridge to Sixth Avenue West.  The measure transfers property from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. to the city to complete the trail. The city will extend the trail westward from Sixth Avenue and connect it to the existing bicycle path along West Emerson Street.  Cyclists will be able to travel between Seattle and Redmond almost entirely by trail.  (Redmond=Microsoft)


    High points in Weston open space purchasing (but by no means the whole story)...

    "Village of the Dammed" a great history of why Weston is the way it is!!!
    Special Town Meeting Jan. 9, 2003 votes "yes" twice and takes well-established open space purchase policy one step further--begins landbanking program.
    Check out location of Fromson-Strassler and Elizabeth Luce Moore "land bank" properties;  link to Aspectuck Land Trust.
    The power of www.aboutweston.com - 2002 bike map from the State of Connecticut (lower Fairfield County) now uploaded!


    "ABOUT TOWN" HAD ITS OWN PLAN IDEAS...This website's original (original as any plan ever is!) unofficial e-document, online planning, mapping & research here.


    CLICK HERE FOR TEXT OF OFFICAL WESTON TOWN PLAN 2010:  Plan process this year, 2010 (above, l to r in reverse chronological order).  Previously...


    Watershed, Sub-watersheds map plus others displayed ("limitations for development" below, right).
    HOW DID JOINT P&Z-SELECTMEN PUBLIC HEARING ON THE NEW TOWN PLAN DRAFT GO?

    WHO SHOWED UP?  Prepared Westonites who had done their homework!  The only citizens who spoke, and this was a lot for any meeting in Weston, either had written comments referencing pages from the online version - print copies available at the PH - minimal presentation by P&Z and Selectmen (it was for the people to speak up this evening).

    JOINT SELECTMEN/P&Z TOWN PLAN PUBLIC HEARING Monday evening went 90 minutes, 16 speakers, reminded us of why we moved here!  What a great town - its the people!!!   Yes, the peace and quiet, beauty and 1940's look of Weston Center (a remark made by a young resident who brought his mother to see his Weston home) here in the 21st century makes us special, too!

    IDEAS/QUESTIONS: 
    Track use, bicycle plan, how much land is left to subdivide, cost of development v. benefits, some need to relieve tax burden, economic development, bus to train, neighborhood parks, tree removal ordinance and ENFORCEMENT, against chicken coops and goats, litmus test on development or tax relief ideas, schools willing to work with town to use facilities, gathering place needed, no sense of community - we need more, CONSERVATION & Development this time, Weston is "best kept secret" and bravo to the individual who's mother had made the "1940's-like" remark, CLUB WESTON idea picked up by P&Z!!!

    WHAT'S NEXT?  A REVISED TOWN PLAN DRAFT WHICH IS NOW THE ADOPTED PLAN - HERE

    Formal P&Z Public Hearing on June 24th, adoption on June 28th.  Read the now superceded 2010 Plan online and let P&Z know what you think!  Ideas not questioned but explained at the end included the concept of renting town-owned land - which would require a Town Meeting to approve the contract.



    THE  UNOFFICIAL MAPS (first 2) AND TOWN PLAN MAPS OF "LIMITATIONS FOR DEVELOPMENT" AND WATERSHEDS, SUB-WATERSHEDS, WESTON, CONNECTICUT
    Left, Weston, Connecticut @1996 by "About Town" (prior to website). Legend for 1996 here; 2008 version
    "Existing Land Use Map"... "Limitations for Development" and "Watersheds" 2010.

    OK, we'll started the ball rolling: 
    If the GOALS of the new Plan are to both maintain the relatively rural nature of Weston while both making the schools even more of a focus, while not bankrupting the taxpayers, then...

    POLICIES of the PLAN should enhance them...including
            sewer avoidance,
            heavily enforced and creative environmental protection policies,
            consistent Town spending on and maintenance of "education village"and education programs, buildings and infrastructure improvements.

    Results of the SURVEY taken by P&Z at the end of 2009;  looks as if we are in step with the responding population! 

    SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION: Census of Children
    What has been done in this area in the past:  http://www.aboutweston.com/towncen00.htm
    And even longer ago:  http://www.aboutweston.com/TWN00.htm


    Please remember that this website is unofficial...

    Planimetrics' analysis of the process undertaken by the P&Z...

    SWRPA Study of Saugatuck coming soon...
    At the top, Planimetrics conducts Feb. 26, 2009 meeting to determine what people consider important to emphasize in the Town Plan revision (r.).  Natural Resources discussion March 25th at the Library very thoughtful and input from DEP as well as citizens knowledgeable about environment.  The new Lunch Box decor, the old Revson Field an opportunity area - how about new thoughts???  And NEMO/CLEAR State of Connecticut advisor...now retired.


    PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT...GOING THE EXTRA STEP...LATEST ON SURVEY RESULTS HERE!

    --------------------------------------

    AN ACT CONCERNING ELECTRICITY AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY:  read all about the section devoted to ENERGY IMPROVEMENT DISTRICTS in Public Act 07-242!

    SAMPLE QUESTION:  How can Revson Field (shown above in a photo BEFORE the Referendum) be the key to developing a more coordinated, centralized approach to energy policy for the Town of Weston?  ANSWER:  By making it part of an Energy Improvement District! 

    MOVING AHEAD!!!  citizens' call for "sports complex" heard by Selectmen;  movement gaining steam to build Booster Barn/home stands/press box (never accomplished with the $80 million from the Nov. 15, 2001 Referendum).  Keep your fingers crossed and hope for Booster Barn by Sept. 30th of 2009!  Nope.  But there is always Sept. 2010!



    "About Town" Original Town Plan 2010 - 2020 includes:  link to "Village District" map proposed - compare to our Central Part of Town "hub" map.
    REMEMBER CLUB WESTON?
    QUESTION:  What is the story on migration?  In other places in America there is out-migration...if birth rates go down too, that is 1990 ("there are no more children") all over again!
    ONLINE "About Town's" unofficial EXISTING LAND USE MAP 2008 (still in progress);
    ONLINE DOCUMENTATION:  Our own, unofficial historical Land Use Maps here (1986 to 1999); our own Land Use analysis 1999.
    ONLINE RESEARCH:  NEMO doing regression analysis based on newer data - should be helpful in Town Plan update...measuring the effects of incremental construction (NEMO leader above, at right, who spoke to P&Z this Spring)?
    COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH:  include 10-year look into public finance and capital expenses as part of Town Plan of Conservation and Development.
    VIDEO interviews with information sources.


    Town Planning not done locally across the pond.  "Knock downs,"  UK definition of "brownfield" and UK discussion of planning: http://news.bbc.co.uk/player/nol/newsid_7190000/newsid_7197500/7197538.stm?bw=nb&mp=rm&asb=1&news=1&bbcws=1



    RESEARCH SOURCES and ideas on related challenges for Weston: map above left links to "land use change" page...at right, a previous NEMO map of the State by Census Tracts (1990). NOTE:  top two-thirds of Weston in the low development category--and much of that is the Nature Conservancy and the Reservoir.
    Ideas and topics from out there (including "visual issues" ):  how do do a Plan...



    Wildlife in crisis...in Weston! 

    CAN WESTON MAKE THE TOWN-SCHOOL SUPERBLOCK INTO AN ENERGY IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT?

    How does "Responsible Growth" implementation, now the law, apply in Weston? Perhaps the new Town Plan can address this?
    Research to date (what has happened since Year 2000);
    GIS system for Weston coming (not before Town Plan is due for update, tho');  can SWRPA help?
    Long-range population projections from UCONN:  go to CT Data Center here:  http://ctsdc.uconn.edu/; and enrollment projections here:  NESDEC10-15007.pdf
    What relationship is there between the State of Connecticut Long-Range Transportation Plan and Weston's Town Plan? 
    Where do bicycles fit in...Energy Options  to the forefront?
    New use for high school roof?  GLOBAL WARMING - National Conversation came to Weston H.S. cafeteria Oct. 4 - click here for pix. 
    Global Warming before the Supreme Court!   How is Weston affected by this decision? And for Connecticut especially, "green policy" wins the case!
    Should the new Plan include any other ideas, such as the ones in red Italic here?
    From across the pond...always a good place to check for new ideas.


    MAKING CHANGE

    The economy:  Very much in the news, don't you think?
    Scramble for water?
    What was that you said?  I couldn't hear you over the noise of low flying jumbo jets...FAA issue;
    Power issues: New England Governors and Canadian Premiers Conference;report #2 is about day 2 of that conference, re: region's prospects.  So how does the U.S.A.plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
    Growth enablers:  power supply, generation and delivery systems.
    Long Island Sound:  Liquified Natural Gas ("LNG") facilities- where are they in the U.S.A.?
    Utopia Studios and the further redevelopment of South Eastern CT;  base-closing in Groton...didn't happen...what is the Plan for Southeastern CT economy now?
    Investment by outside "agencies" - for example, art in Everett, WA;
    University of Connecticut/NEMO; here you will find maps for Weston (of land cover and basins) - COOL MAPS!C.L.E.A.R.
    "Smart Growth/Property Tax Commission" - link to CCM summary; download full report from there;  civil rights lawsuits reviving.
    How about global warming and the Kyoto Protocol?  I-BBC article here.

    TAKING ACTION ("so how do we do anything about solving problems?")

    CTDOT reform panel website;
    Bridgeport newspaper's editorialson housing policies...
    Check out equivalent of "village district"in another part of CT.
    BLUE RIBBON COMMISSION REPORT;  local control of zoning...METROPATTERNS.
    Affordable Housing History... news reports;  Norwalk HOUR series HERE;
    ANTI-BIG HOUSES REPORT:  latest article;  old article HERE;  later report HERE;
    Some LAND USE LEGAL DECISIONS...Legislature passes "Poirier" relief bill. Substitute Senate Bill 448 history...signed by Governor June 1, 2004.


    KNOW THE FACTS

    TERRASERVA:  Aerial photographs and U.S.G.S. maps;
    CLEAR maps from University of Connecticut;
    Center for Population Studies at UCONN: http://popcenter.uconn.edu/
    U.S. CENSUS 2010 WEBPAGE:  Census 2000 NewEstimate for 2004...regional Census link;
    Hartford Courant/U.S. Census 2000 selected data for the State of Connecticut. ...AND SOME MORE FACTS

    Weston's block group ("neighborhood") maps from U.S.Census 2000...Profile of selected economic characteristics, U.S. Census 2000 for Weston, CT -
    The major CT source on the Internet and the latest report of interest: http://www.ct.gov/
    http://www.conndot.ct.gov/pttrans/index.html

    HOW DOES WESTON RELATE TO EVENTS AND TOPICS OUTSIDE ITS BORDERS?

    Eminent domain:    U.S. Supreme Court Kelo v. City of New London--click here for commentary;  eminent domain ruling in New London sets up CT Legislative debate in Special Session - CT POST editorial;  new proposal in legislature never saw the light in '04.  DAY editorial on New London urban renewal...CT Legislature asked to empower Zoning Boards re: site plan powers - didn't pass 2005...

    Legal issue other than eminent domain:

    Farmland tax breaks in court;  a victory for farm preservation (Falls Village).
    Farmland de-classification elsewhere in CT (importance of Board of Assessment Appeals);
    How Lyme does land preservation.
    When is a gift of open space not forever?  (Answer:  when you don't follow the tax rules closely?);
    Wetlands litigation.
    Sprawl as a health issue?

    "...study found no link between suburban sprawl and a greater incidence of mental health problems.  Regions considered to have the worst suburban sprawl included Atlanta; Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif.; Winston-Salem, N.C.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; and Bridgeport-Danbury-Stamford, Conn., the report said. Regions with the least amount of sprawl included New York City, San Francisco, Boston and Portland, Ore...

    Property Tax and taxes in general department:

    Discussions in CT
    Tax Study by Program Review and Investigation
    Latest NJ PRESS RELEASE:
    How New Jersey study PART THREE reads;
    PART TWO by R.P.A. came out...


    Review part one here (issued during the recent election campaign for Governor of New Jersey);  please note that the victorious candidate, now Governor, over the July 4th weekend, closed down the State of New Jersey in a battle with the Legislature over increasing the sales tax to pay for his budget.


    Other:  Could Weston learn anything from Missoula, Montana?  From Seattle?The Citizen-Planner info source, horses mouth variety: http://www.plannersweb.com/.    Intersection and highways design thoughts...roundabouts on Whidbey Island (Oak Harbor)?  How about visiting ANWR and learning to be a musher?


    Planning ideas from...across the pond.
    In Weston's next Plan?  Examples of greenbelt, roundabout and parking gargage...just below!


    "LOOK LIKE..." (but these are across the pond):  North of the Merritt, roundabout in the news on the Greenwich-Stamford border and the Stamford parking garage, perhaps?

    Outreach by About Town:  we can learn from other places (classic English ideas above)!

    IN CONNECTICUT:  looking east along Long Island Sound and generally in an easterly direction:
    Utopia - the project, as it was; related to Utopia. Casino expansion...
    East Norwalk Neighborhood Association (ENNA);
    FROM THE COURTS...  LATEST WORD ON URBAN RENEWAL LAW!  Photographic essays from Brooklyn by talented artist/urbanist.  Latest:  http://www.brooklynfootprints.com/home.html
    I-BBC take on urbanization:  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/world/2006/urbanisation/
    Architecture can make a difference:  http://www.newhampshire.com/article.cfm?ArticleID=1839
    Arvada, CO - a place we did long-distance consulting about street-closings for a mall (many years ago) news;
    Scottsdale, Arizona our newest e-place to visit!  We're a bit behind on this one...
    Missoula, Montana a recent e-place for research (related to WILD THINGS farm team)!
    Weston, CT sometimes might be mistaken for...Palo Alto, CA!
    Seattle, plus tourism and "visioning" on Whidbey IslandE-Land Use Planning on Whidbey Island, WA;  open space and preserving history important on Whidbey Island;  compare South Whidbey Schools to Weston's (U.S. Census 2000) - click here to read about their school construction issues.
    American Planning Association (APA) in China - pre-earthquake: urbanization:  create communities of lasting value.







    Weston Woods studios almost predated zoning...1953 was when uniform 2 acre zoning began...



    TOWN PLAN UPDATE:  ZONING REGULATIONS CHANGES WORKSHOPS CAME FIRST

    2007 INTERESTS:  ZONING REGULATIONS TOPIC OF WORKSESSION AUGUST 14, 2007


    PROPER NOTICE POSTED
    Five members of the Planning and Zoning Commission attended the Special Worksession.

    PUBLIC HEARING ON SPECIAL NIGHT (COMING UP EARLY IN SEPTEMBER 2007)
    "About Town" and in the morning, the Weston FORUM P&Z reporter attended the Special Worksession August 14, 2007.  The full Session ran from 10am to 2pm.  The Zoning Enforcement Officer attended, too, as did the Town Attorney. 
    The Land Use Coordinator attended the afternoon portion only.  A recording of this meeting was made.

    Wording was agreed upon to send regulation changes to Public Hearing shortly after Labor Day on the topics of coverage percentages for lots of 2 acres or more.  Discussion ranged during the morning from the philosophy of zoning to a particular and detailed wording for other aspects of the Zoning Regulations. Definitions and date for Public Hearing on the particular sections is to be placed in the newspaper Public Notices section two times prior (please remember that this report is not official).

    We believe there will be a separate evening for Public Hearings sections of the Zoning Regulations being considered for changes in early September (not at Regular Meeting).


    Previously, as posted in the Town Clerk's Office:

    "NOTICE:  Planning and Zoning Commission Special Worksession, August 14, 2007 (10am to 2pm) in the Commission Room at Town Hall" on the board since August 9 - we just picked it up, and will attend.  "Discussion and decision of Zoning Regulation changes" is what the notice says will take place. 

    THIRD DISCUSSION (Oct. 18, 2004 at end of Regular Meeting):  Loopholes.
    P&Z finishes a last step in "loopholes" revisions; discussion with P&Z SWRPA representative regarding Council of Governments (COG) and how it relates to voluntary regional planning as we know it now.  The symposium below is a good place to start understanding this issue.
    SECOND WORKSHOP (6pm August 31, 2004) IN COMMISSION ROOM:
    With Town Attorney present, a quorum of the Planning and Zoning Commission got through much of the Zoning Regulations in 3 hours (we left at 9pm) -- less than dramatic proposals.  It would appear that before the year is out some changes will come forth, but it is anyone's guess right now what they will be.  There is no document of record to obtain--the "draft" is not available for perusal because...there is no draft!  As soon as we find out that there is something official, we will post the proposals here.

    Commissioners "parking" other discussions (their choice of words) of more major matters.  We will try to keep up with this thread--certainly Planning and Zoning changes might make big difference in how the Town of Weston is able to handle future municipal expansion projects.


    FIRST WORKSHOP (6pm August 3, 2004) IN WESTON LIBRARY:

    CLUSTER ZONING NOT MENTIONED IN SPECIAL MEETING ON CHANGES - BUT IDEA FOR THIS "WORKSHOP" IS APPARENTLY NOT FOR PEOPLE TO SUGGEST IDEAS - Do you suppose Channel 79 will televise this event?  P&Z kept "workshop" open because they did not get finished the first night.

    WHAT'S PROPOSED AS NEW IN THE "WORKING DOCUMENT" AS OF 8-3:
    These are some of the ideas and sections proposed for change that we noticed in a quick perusal...copies of Zoning Regulations and proposed additions and deletions available for inspection in CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICE at Town Hall.
     

    ZONING REGS:



    Weston Conservation Commission (our Inland Wetlands Commission) take note!
    Judge Upholds Old Saybrook's Refusal of Housing Development
    DAY
    By Eileen McNamara       
    Published on 2/21/2008

    Old Saybrook – A Middletown Superior Court judge has upheld the town’s refusal to allow a large housing development on a swath of coastal forest known as The Preserve.

    In ruling she issued earlier this week Judge Julia L. Aurigemma determined that the town’s Inland Wetlands Commission properly determined that the 221-unit housing complex, which would have included an 18-hold golf course, would negatively impact wetlands on and near the site.

    The decision is a major latest setback to plans by River Sound Development for the nearly 1,000-acre site that lies mostly in Old Saybrook but also straddles Westbrook and Essex.


    From Open Farmland To 1,500 Units?
    By EDWARD J. JACOVINO | Courant Staff Writer
    August 13, 2007

    FARMINGTON - The woman selling her family farm to a developer planning a 1,500-unit housing complex for older people says she wanted to sell to the town, but she turned elsewhere when it never pursued the chance to buy last year.

    Patti Krell, a 45-year-old hairdresser who said she needs money to pay estate taxes owed since she inherited her mother's 100-acre farm in 2003, said the town's silence puzzled her. For years, she said, town officials sent notes to the family that indicated they would consider buying some of the property for open space if it went up for sale.

    "It's something that I have to do, not necessarily what I want to do," Krell said of her tentative agreement to sell 80 acres to Erickson Retirement Communities, a Baltimore-based developer.

    Town Manager Kathy Eagen said she did not know Krell was eager to sell because the town council was never asked to have the land appraised, a sign of a possible sale. Eagen said the parcel was last appraised in 2001 at the request of Mary Krell, Patti's mother, who had otherwise seemed unreceptive to the town's interest.

    "My understanding to this day is that we'd still love to have that land," Eagen said.

    Bill Wadsworth, a council member who heads the town land acquisition committee, said Saturday that the town still would be interested in buying the property but can't get involved while Erickson has a proposal before the planning and zoning commission.

    That commission is considering a zoning amendment proposed by Erickson to allow for buildings 55 feet tall and densities of 20 units an acre. If the amendment is approved, Erickson says it will apply the new zone to the Krell farm.

    It's too soon to tell whether the planning and zoning commission will accept or reject Erickson's proposal, Town Planner Jeff Ollendorf said last week.

    Until the Erickson deal goes through, Krell said she is open to other offers.

    The agreement with Erickson hangs on the plan and zoning commission's decision, which Krell doesn't seem entirely confident will pass. Neither party would release the details of their deal, including how much the developer is willing to pay or at what point the land would actually change hands.

    "The town [residents] want Krell Farms to stay the way it is, but they're not in my position. I want to keep it the way it is too, but that's not something I can do," Krell said. "If I didn't need to do this, I wouldn't be changing a thing right now."

    Krell said she and her attorney met with Wadsworth in May 2006 to explore a sale.

    Krell wanted to have a small portion of the property rezoned for residential use, Wadsworth said recently, recalling that meeting. Any offer the town could make about a larger purchase of Krell property would have to wait until after the subdivision matter was settled because it would be a conflict for the town to be involved in both a review of her subdivision application and a separate negotiation to buy some of the farmland, he said.

    In November 2006, Krell applied for the residential subdivision, but the application stalled because of wetlands issues before the town's conservation commission, Wadsworth said.

    Krell withdrew the subdivision application in January 2007 and waited for Wadsworth to return with an offer for a larger piece of the parcel.

    "He told me that my property was No. 1 on the acquisition list," Krell said. "They seemed quite excited about at least buying some of it, and then we never heard from them."

    Wadsworth said Saturday that the town could not go back to Krell about its interest in her land soon after she had withdrawn the residential subdivision application from the town's conservation commission.

    "We're not going to go to them the next day," he said.

    By the time the town was ready to reopen the discussion of land acquisition with Krell, Erickson was in the picture, Wadsworth said.

    Because of this, the town never sent a formal offer or did a new appraisal to determine a fair price - which Krell said would have at least forced her to make a decision.

    The May 2006 meeting with Wadsworth wasn't the first time the town showed interest in the land, nor should it be the last, Wadsworth said. A copy of the town's land acquisition list shows that the Krell farm has been on it since at least 2000.

    Eagen said Mary Krell showed little desire to sell her land to the town but said she didn't know that Patti Krell had expressed interest. Wadsworth said both Krells had at least kept an open dialogue.

    Arline Whitaker, the former council chairwoman and a member on the acquisition committee, said the town has been interested in the parcel for at least 20 years.

    "The Krell farm has always been a topic of discussion," said Whitaker, who is known for her tenacity on acquiring open space for the town. "We tried very hard to put something together when the older Mrs. Krell was alive."


    Plan For Self-contained Community 'Bigger Than Anything This Town's Seen'
    DAY
    By Jenna Cho
    Published on 1/7/2007
     
    North Stonington — Were 116A Wintechog Hill Road to be developed the way Rick Contino sees it, the town's housing units would increase by about half its current total of 3,000.  Contino, a developer, had a workshop session Thursday with the Planning and Zoning Commission, where he discussed informal plans to subdivide the 162-acre property into 1,620 mixed-use residential units. No application has been filed — the workshop was one requested by Rick Contino/Ririto LLC for informational purposes only.

    “It's just an extraordinary project,” said Craig Grimord, zoning enforcement officer. “Bigger than anything this town's seen before.”

    Residential units would range from assisted living, condominiums and apartments to single-family homes and clusters.  Grimord noted that the town's 3,000 or so housing units are spread out over 54 square miles, while this particular project would be concentrated on 162 acres of land situated between Lantern Hill Road and Route 2.

    Grimord said Contino mentioned the possibility of including a small retail component to the project because the development would yield a self-contained community.  If the developers follow through with the project proposal, Grimord said they told the commission it could take some 10 years to complete the project. Grimord said this was the first proposal he has seen on that parcel of land in his five years as the town's zoning officer, and the first of its size.

    He said the developers would need to first apply for a zoning text change to allow for the type of mixed residential units they are seeking in that one location.

    First Selectman Nicholas Mullane II said Friday that while the town has encouraged cluster-type residential developments, preliminary plans for the Wintechog Hill Road project show that the number of residential units may be too dense for that plot of land.  Mullane said he was concerned that the high density of the suggested development might strain the town's ability to service roads and emergencies there.

    It may also raise issues of whether there is adequate water supply and sewage package plant capacity to handle 1,620 new residences concentrated in one area.

     
    North Stonington

    City responds to invalidation of part of zoning law
    BY MARCEL PRZYMUSINSKI
    Staff Reporter, New Haven REGISTER
    November 9, 2004

    Reacting to a recent Connecticut Appellate Court ruling that invalidated part of New Haven's zoning law, city leaders are preparing to either formulate new legislation or appeal the court's decision.

    On Wednesday, the court ruled in Campion v. Board of Aldermen that planned development districts, special zones used for large building projects, are illegal. The city's leaders must now decide whether to modify New Haven's zoning legislation or appeal the ruling to the Connecticut Supreme Court.

    The result may affect Yale directly, particularly since the University is seeking to zone the planned parking structure for Ingalls Rink as a planned development unit, which is similar to a PDD.

    New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. said his administration's initial reaction is not to appeal the ruling, though the possibility is still being considered. DeStefano also said he does not think the ruling will have a significant impact on what projects are actually constructed in the city.

    "The court ruling doesn't apply to the merits of the project itself," DeStefano said. "It applies to the process by which we zone them. That distinction is important."

    Ward 1 Alderman Ben Healey '04, who is chairman of the Board of Aldermen's Legislation Committee -- the committee that will have to approve any proposed changes to the city's zoning regulations -- said he believes the administration and the board should cooperate quickly to formulate new legislation.

    "I would recommend we get together and write the new law rather than use up valuable time and money in what I think will be probably a losing case," Healey said. "The main thing that makes me nervous is trying to figure out what happens in the interim, either while the court case is being appealed or while the new law is being written. I think if we don't have a law we're operating in a vacuum."

    This uncertainty about ongoing and upcoming projects may affect Yale's parking garage project, though the structure actually may not require special zoning.

    "The claim has been made that [the parking structure] didn't actually require a PDU, in which case even if the current PDU plan falls apart under the court ruling, there's an opportunity to move it under regular rules of the zoning code," Healey said.

    PDDs and PDUs are used to provide some flexibility with zoning regulations for construction developments with special requirements.

    In the decision, the court offered a potential solution by affirming the legality of floating zones, an alternative to PDDs that imposes more stringent limitations on builders. In floating zones, only specific, legislatively preapproved uses are permitted.

    Rob Smuts '01, the mayor's deputy chief of staff, said he thought the court's suggestion of floating zones demonstrated an understanding of the need for some flexibility in city planning.

    "If the decision stands, I think that the use of floating zones would give us the flexibility that is needed," Smuts said.

    Healey said he thinks there are some advantages to implementing a floating zone policy.

    "The main complaint about the PDD is that there's a vagueness about where and how it could be applied," Healey said. "A floating zone would provide some more standardized guidelines."  


    NEMO guy John Rozum at left - "About Town" maps of land use at right.
    Monday, Jan. 24, 2005 event:  No "Snow Job"!!!  The real deal!
    Planning & Zoning hears from NEMO re: keeping Weston's water pure and accomodating the growth and expansion time brings--without extra runoff or erosion...Weston regs will change (our guess) to respond to this information.  Below is the FORUM's read on the meeting!

    Click here for rest of this long story!

    REGIONAL PLANNING ORGANIZATIONS:  Better Use of a Hidden Asset
    A half-day symposium for Municipal, Regional and State Government stakeholders on issues related to enhancing the roles and functions of Connecticut's Regional Planning Organizations.

    Tuesday, November 16, 2004, 8:00-12:45
    Holiday Inn
    North Haven, CT
    Exit 12 - off I-91

    Symposium sponsored by the CT Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations:




    WESTON'S AFFORDABLE HOUSING CHALLENGE

    OPEN SPACE-CONSERVATION SUBDIVISION:  "Parish Ridge" is located in the upper left of the map to the right;  above left is a blow-up of the site of this Affordable Housing Application (note the Town line running through this property--Wilton is to the left).  ROBINSON & COLE gives P&Z seminar on newest version of Affordable Housing Appeals process (effective October 1, 2000)...TOWN OF WESTON PURCHASED THIS PROPERTY 
    PROPOSED 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!


    For backround...from December 18, 2000:
    Breaking News!!!
    Long vacant parcel, owned by former Democratic First Selectman and Selectman, to be Weston's first Affordable Housing challenge...preliminary submission, dated 12-18-00, by attorney for Mr. Fromson and Mr. Strassler showed:  of the five units of affordable housing, three (3) would be for those with 80% of median state-wide income, and two (2) would be at 60% of the state-wide median income.  Total number of units of all housing=18.  Previous appearances for this property (once as a farm, another as a combination of Belknap and Fromson-Strassler, etc.) in Town had Conservation approve 8 units non-cluster approach.  If we heard them correctly, representatives of the developers Fromson and Strassler pretty clearly stated that the rest of the land in Weston would by given to Aspetuck Land Trust and the Nature Conservancy--but maybe we did not hear it exactly right!  Later in the Public Hearing (Dec. 18), a property owner with access to the "old wood road" represented that he and several others would claim use of access--thereby, perhaps, making even more properties need the 3200' long deadend proposed for Upper Parish Drive (extension).  To be continued January 8, 2001...link to meeting notes.

    Arriving just in time to beat the deadline for stricter regulation is the "Parish Ridge" self-styled "Open Space-Conservation Development."  On October 1, 2000 the latest redraft of State of Connecticut Affordable Housing Law revisions goes into effect.  Please click here for review of the Affordable Housing Appeals  legislation.  A Former First Selectman and a former member of the Board of Selectman of the Town of Weston are combining to bring to the Planning and Zoning Commission Monday, September 11 for receipt, the very first subdivision application that calls itself "affordable housing."  Whether this application is truly "affordable housing" in the full sense of the definition is a matter to be considerd by the Weston Planning and Zoning Commission."

    The scene...
    It is a very creative way around the environmental difficulties plaguing that site (very wet, extremely rocky and barely accessible) that encompasses approximately 129 acres in the towns of Weston (83 acres) and Wilton (46 acres).  All development shown is planned in Weston, with access shown only from Weston.  In an extremely confusing table in the application it appears that the Weston-only access will have to take any other future traffic generated from Wilton lots if and when these are developed (if a grand scheme to preserve the land in both Towns is not effected).  Or is there more to all this than we know?


    SEEING CLEARLY...What is the definition of a "Cluster Subdivision" - see "Illustrated Book of Development Definitions" below.  Or, check out a bill that did not pass in 2008...HB5641.

    Now also "C.L.E.A.R." at UConn, NEMO Co-founders in CT:  Above left is Chet Arnold (when he spoke to the League of Women Voters of Weston in the early 1990's);  at right is a photograph of Jim Gibbons, noted Connecticut Planner and staff at the University of Connecticut, who has been making the rounds of local Planning and Zoning Commissions describing how Conservation Zoning (a close relative of "cluster zoning") can help maintain groundwater supply.  Mr. Gibbons works with NEMO("Non-Point Source Education for Municipal Officials"). 



    From "The Illustrated Book of Development Definitions"
    by Harvey Moskowitz and Carl Lindbloom (Center for Urban Policy Research),  Rutgers University, 1981, "cluster subdivisions" are defined on page 52 in the above noted book as (and we quote):

    "...A form of development for single family residential subdivisions that permits a reduction in lot area and bulk requirements, provided there is no increase in the number of lots permitted under a conventional subdivision and the resultant land area is devoted to open space."

    Further commentary from the authors of the above noted book:

    "The cluster subdivision is an excellent planning concept that has been used successfully in many communities.  Using this concept the number of lots (density) remains the same as in a conventional development but the community gains in the retention of open space and reduced maintenance costs by having shorter streets and utility lines.  The developer also gains in reduced development costs, which may result in less costly housing.  Many communities require the developer to submit two (2) sketch plans before approving a cluster subdivision;  a conventional subdivision plat to establish the number of developable lots possible and a cluster subdivision plat to determine the appropriateness of cluster design for the site."