This is a model of my "new town planning" project design some years ago.


       
"Stone walls are a Weston signature" said Connecticut Magazine:  From Trout Brook Valley (l) to, Leon Lachat's barns, reasons why Weston rates high on any list!  The Saugatuck Reservoir, a major feature in our region - in U.S. Census "TIGER" mapping program.  Weston Water Resources Guide preceded both 2008 Kaestle-Boos Study (r) and (r) the 2010 TOWN PLAN


Weston Town Plan of Conservation and Development 2010-2020:  About Weston's version below.  A review how we went about our planning process...centrality still key?

In Weston, Connecticut, Planning is a Process. What P & Z did differently this time around...it is seeing beyond land planning and zoning...and here is a link to the P&Z final product.

Table of Contents: 


Regional picture; 


Review of past Town Plans:  No longer online.  But here is a link to Westport's new Downtown Plan, for an example of what another neighboring community is up to:  https://downtownwestportct.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/dwmp_06042015_web.pdf

Next, what has changed since the last Plan?  (As well as some of what has not changed...this research no longer online.)

Existing land use in Weston 2008;  individual lot by lot, as well as newest data with our own analysis, both no longer online.

Goals for the new Plan;  does Weston relate to new plan ideas  for the State of Connecticut...or to Paris?

Objectives 2020:  suggested new concept in neighborhood planning;  energy use improvement in Town "superblock.


Implementation

Available maps online;

Data resources;  and more resources;  newly revived - About Weston's observation of what "went down"

On-line articlesuse of aerial photography and digital mapping.

Instruction for doing your own Plan;

More on our process
--------------

Index:


"SPEAK UP 2010" NOW ONLINE HERE:  P&Z announces Public Hearing timing...
Length:  1 hour 41 minutes 32 seconds


'SPEAK UP 2009' video:  more context for writing this Plan...

Cable/DSL version:
http://www.lwvweston.org/LWVSpeakup2-7-09CableVersion.wmv

Dial-up: 
http://www.lwvweston.org/LWVSpeakup2-7-09ModemVersion.wmv







C H A N G E    O U T S I D E   W E S T O N . . .
What has changed since the June 2000 Plan of Conservation and Development?  Since the Town Plan 2010?



Economy:  as the economy in Connecticut changes, will Weston be affected?  And cost of gasoline and heating oil is an unknown negative
influence.  How about the global downturn?  Newtown?

Affordable housing:  Weston must respond to State Plan of C&D requirement that every town address this matter;
Environmental threats:  drought cycle (last in 2002) - how about flooding, too - emergency services response - examples of regional problems
to the fore.

Infrastructure repair and maintenance must continue even as the town is under economic stress.



SOURCES:

WCCOG - merger of SWRPA & HVCEO in 2015 by State of CT mandate:  http://www.westernctcog.org/

Regional Plan of Conservation and Development
updated 2006; HVCEO-SWRPA website has this map:  http://nebula.wsimg.com/62b1879c419bb09aa3ab319bcd512381?AccessKeyId=9F35ADC83CFAA5FBE2A4&disposition=0&alloworigin=1


Surface water quality in the main branch of the Saugatuck River - is it still as pure as ever?  Link to more information about it here.

"The central government [of Indonesia] is blaming poor urban planning for the disaster, our correspondent says" regarding the following: one Jakarta
resident, Elan Manoppo, told the BBC there was "no integrated development plan" for the capital, adding:
"Most of the city's drainage systems are
not taken care of."


Water quantity;  run off from heavy rains in CT...is this what Dominski-Oakrock's report was all about?

Flood plain management:  is there a new approach? 

Are we seeing overbuilding or is it global warming, or what?

What the government is doing
about it ;

"Smart Growth"
in CT as it works its way into over-all planning, 2007...








C H A N G E    I N S I D E    W E S T O N . . .
In Weston planning activity, what has changed since the June 2010 Plan of Conservation and Development?



Lachat Autumn 2009

Planning is now professionalized;
Capital planning is conducted alongside "Global Facilities" Committee on an irregular but more frequent basis than on a ten-year cycle;
Schools complex and fields projects are completed;  those projects left off the Referendum being accomplished as needed by new staff.  Impact of post Newtown security felt.
Full development:  vacant tracts almost all developed or permanently preserved.
..see below. 
2015 brings this report:
  http://www.aboutweston.com/CraftingaStrategicPlanForWeston%27sFuturePhaseI050715.pdf  



SOURCES:

NEMO on-line:  do-it-yourself Town Plan toolkit from CLEAR.

From Assessor's Maps:  please note that previously provided maps by About Weston no longer online.

LAND USE CHANGES IN WESTON, CT:  1986, 1999 review of Town Plan development no longer online. . 

For CLEAR data from aerials from NEMO...

NEW - Existing conditions, buildings and structures, at ten town-owned sites, in Kaestle-Boos 2008 report.

School and Field construction.*

Conservation/Education Center proposal back on the table!
Lachat 2 was purchased by Town Meeting in 1999, completing this most significant acquisition.

Rural By Design:  https://www.planning.org/store/books/pdf/ruralbydesign2ed.pdf

Where did Weston first get the idea that environmental planning was a wise thing to do?  This history no longer online.  But a later study is, here.





Watercolor (detail) by Margaret Wirtenberg
The School Road campus was developed since the last Town Plan revision...

GOALS OF THE 2010-2020 Plan :
as suggested by "About Town"  (written in the "About Town" column July 17, 2008)...



Renew:  Weston, a residential community, should renew its compact with nature and dedicate itself to supporting the natural water cycle;
Improve public infrastrucure and its maintenance to minimize run-off waste and effects; 
Maximize output and efficiency of limited natural resources in a time of climate change:  make the centralized school-town complex energy self
sustaining.

Minimize the human foot-print;  reuse land, buildings and resources;  recycle.

NEW GOAL - inspired by P&Z:  Make choices
and set priorities for use of limited resources.

Pooling municipal health benefits is a good start
Alan J. Desmarais, CT MIRROR
May 27, 2010

A new bill passed by the General Assembly and now before Gov. M. Jodi Rell for signature could offer fiscal relief as municipalities all over Connecticut stare down a current budget crisis that will become even more daunting in fiscal year 2011- 2012 and beyond. House Bill 5424 allows towns and boards of education a no-strings-attached option to pool their healthcare benefits-and thereby better control soaring benefit costs. This bill confirms that the previous legislative action, which allowed municipalities to "jointly perform any function that each municipality may perform separately," specifically applies to the financing of employee healthcare benefits. Many towns now understand that this law opens up a necessary cost-control opportunity, and none too soon.

This is not the first time such pooling arrangements have been green-lighted in New England. The Governmental Health Group of Rhode Island was created to 2005 and now includes cities, towns and school districts that have joined together on a voluntary basis. Among the keys to the success of the Rhode Island program-which are also essential to this latest effort in Connecticut-are that member groups define the pool's concepts, organizational structure, and financial framework...

Please search the CT MIRROR archives for the remainder of this story.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________




OBJECTIVES OF THE 2010-2020 PLAN: 



REGIONAL, TOWN AND NEIGHBORHOOD/SUB-NEIGHBORHOOD MAPS NO LONGER ONLINE
New concept for our version of this new Plan of C&D:  Neighborhood Sub-Plans - a concept who's time has come?

 
Chapters of the Plan:  go to each chapter or just scroll down!

NEW CHAPTER neededPublic safety comes to the fore.  Also here.



Emergency management and public safety priorities to the fore... watch Police Chief interview here from 2008, prior to Newtown:

Click Here If You Are Using A Dial-Up Modem
Click Here If You Are Using A DSL Or Cable Connection
Natural resources objectives;

Roads objectives;

Community facilities objectives;

Residential development objectives;

Business development objectives;

Open space and Recreation objectives.






NATURAL RESOURCES:  PROTECT THEM.  There is an urgency to protect the natural water cycle while also making use of other natural
processes and energy sources.
Weston is fortunate here in the 21st century, to have natural resources to enjoy and maintain.  We live with the necessity of maintaining the natural
water cycle as Weston is a community devoid of sewers and with public water supply only to the Schools and Town buildings located in the central
area plus @28 homes off Godfrey Road; a few streets are served from the end of Westport's waterlines.  Looking on the bright side, the sun is one
natural resource available where the trees don't get in the way!

Over the years suggestions have been made regarding environmental zoning;  Aquifer protection is something the whole community must care about. 
The recent introduction of special language for an overlay zone around the Aquarion well fields in the south of town, based upon Connecticut mapping,
is something new for us.  Weston followed suggested DEP language in developing this area.

Following upon the Dominski-Oakrock Study (Weston Environmental Resources Manual, 1976) was the Weston Water Resources Guide (1993), which,
while the water testing program was beginning, discovered PCE and TCE down gradient from both the Town bus garage and the private shopping center, reporting these finding to both the Westport-Weston Health District and the CTDEP.  Corrective measures were taken to clear the water supply, and a
regime of groundwater monitoring was put in place.

We note that Stamford is currently starting a well testing program in the northern part of their city.


Saugatuck River Valley Watershed Alliance
Weston has taken the lead on this effort, as it has on the Air Space redesign issue.  It is in our interest to see that water supply stays pure and abundant; 
it is no longer as peaceful and quiet as it used to be - anywhere, in fact.  But one new threat to the long term preservation of the Weston life style is
NOISE.
 








ROADS:  KEEP UP ROAD REPAIR PROGRAM TO AVOID NEED FOR BONDING
NEW Town of Weston culvert policy;

CT DOT ADT data for Weston @2005 no longer online.

"About Town" interview with Weston's DPW Director on the subject of Weston's roads.  Watch it now and find out how public works plans ahead!
Joe Lametta interview DSL Or Cable Connection
Joe Lametta interview Dial-Up Modem version






COMMUNITY FACILITIES:  PROPER MAINTENANCE (Kaestle-Boos Report no loner online here) IS VITAL TO ASSURE FULL LIFETIME FOR CAPITAL INVESTMENT (some noted below).
A NEW CONCEPT EMERGES.  Post - Newtown, security takes front and center.

Each year the Board of Finance puts the Board of Education through its paces.  This year is an imposing financial challenge to governments and
individuals.

What can be expected from the School Budget this year?  From FY 2011-2012...how have things changed since this interview?  2015 birth rate news here.

For Fiscal 2011, "About Town" interviewed Superintendent of Schools Jerome
Belair and Director of Finance and Operations Dr. Jo-Ann Keating: 

Please  Click Here If You Are Using A Dial-Up Modem
Please  Click Here If You Are Using A DSL Or Cable Connection



From the excellent Board of Education website, a link to their recommended budget, FY2009-2010:  http://www.westonk12-ct.org/

SOME HISTORY

FY2008-2009 was an example of what is done in a more normal situation.  Here is a link to part of that presentation, especially the section
that relates to enrollment projections.

The Weston Budget, although dominated by school expenses operating and capital, has another side--the "Town side."  Read of the budget of the
Board of Selectmen (FY2009-2010): http://www.westonct.gov/media/file/BoardOfSelectmenBudget2009-2010.pdf

Additionally, through its appointed Building Committee and that body's subcommittee on Alternative Energy, plans are just beginning to emerge to
employ what for Weston is a new concept - establishing, perhaps, an Energy Improvement District in the superblock of Town/School activities in the
Central Part of Town!  Other departments and disciplines keep innovating, whether Social Services or Parks and Recreation...


         


Centralized school system includes its own central office building and a tertiary treatment plant.  Watch "About Town" interview with new
Superintendent of Schools Jerome Belair for up to date report of status of the educational system in Weston. 






OUR NEW CONCEPT ACCEPTED FOR NEW TOWN PLAN, WE THINK: 
THE SUPERBLOCK
 


The School Road superblock should combine with Town Hall/Library/Main Fire House facilities for effective energy improvement (note: 
Public Works headquarters building below included). Middle School needs a new roof, and we wonder about a solar panel option there...
Please link to the Town of Weston for the draft Plan of Conservation and Development 2010 - this concept appears to be in the Plan!







Public Works is fully reported on by Mr. Lametta (see "Roads").  DPW headquarters at left, Transfer Station/Recycling Center at right. 
Recycling (Weston Transfer Station and Recycling effort at right above) is a critical issue right now, with markets for secondary materials
picking up...or not!!!



Library roof will need replacement in the next years...and so it was done.  Weston Library did its own "Strategic Plan" exercise 2015-2018.



Other municipal government...

  • Town Hall:  the roof replacement and related repairs always ongoing...
  • Police  Commission: seeks long range alternative for new quarters.
  • Fire and ambulance:  the new Lyons Plains fire station open.  Data about fire and property loss (U.S.A.) here.
  • Social services plans ahead, increased senior and other demands as demography and economy change; 
  • Emergency Services:  our idea...does it make sense to work regionally on this?  More than we do already?



Semi-public uses:  their role in  providing places and spaces for needed community activity changes.  Norfield Congregational Church, founded
in 1757, is an important part of Weston's history, and of its present and its future.  Watch a very special show commemorating the Church's 250th anniversary ssome years ago!
Watch now!


At LWV of Weston info meeting, P&Z Chair., Vice-Chair. and member in charge of rewrite of Plan report;  cluster development considered.




RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT:  Town undergoes reassessment every five years...research when Weston lost its open space here

REVALUATION OFFICIALLY COMPLETE (ALL APPEALS GO TO B.A.A.) 

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

UNIFORM TWO-ACRE RESIDENTIAL ZONING
  • RESIDENTIAL ZONING REGULATIONS 321.7:  15% Building coverage;
  • RESIDENTIAL ZONIING REGULATIONS 311.4:  Parts of lot not counted to minimum area requirement-1.6 acres of dry land required.
  • SECTION 322:  NEIGHBORHOOD SHOPPING CENTER DISTRICT.
"About Town" unofficial map of non-conforming lots above, exclusive to this website;  consider changes to
residential zone to protect natural water cycle.










BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT:  WESTON DOES NOT SEEK THE LIMELIGHT.  NOR THE DISRUPTION CONSTRUCTION FOR MAJOR INFRASTRUCTURE SUPPORT FOR COMMERCE WOULD REQUIRE.  NEIGHBORHOOD SHOPPING CENTER DISTRICT IN THE ZONING REGULATION, TOO.
The Lunch Box doubles, the pharmacy is reborn at reduced size, the bank is working as a small town bank again.  Without infrastructure, any more,
larger scale development of a non-residential nature will not prove feasible, and as Georgetown is on the cusp of a rebirth at Gilbert & Bennett,
which is planning, we believe, for a railroad station at their site, the  words of the last Plan are well taken:  "So Weston finds itself somewhat removed
from the greater density and bustling activity of neighboring towns in the region...Concern for development to the north, in particular, is paramount. 
What happens in Georgetown--at the assisted living facility under construction at Gilbert Hill or with the Gilbert and Bennett site--will have a
considerable impact on Weston"



Weston Center through the years.



CLUB WESTON:  It began when a member of the Board of Education, during the Memorial Day Parade in 1994 asked if Weston could ever "close School Road" as NYC has done for closing Central Park to cars on weekends...we undertook an experiment, trying to get something specific accomplished - just to see how many steps and official actions it took to make closing School Road on Sundays in August a reality that summer...first OK was an informal discussion with the First Selectman - he said "sure" as long as it didn't cost anything (have impact on the budget).
Next we sought official approval from the Board of Education (lots of "can't do" this or that);  Parks & Rec (keep access to tennis courts open), Police Chief (couldn't assign officer to help with cones/"horses" because emergency came first; Town Administrator to get van to transport cones/"horses" them.  Finally, when the idea finally landed on the table of the Board of Selectmen, they couldn't do anything except decide where to place the cones!  The only problem?  About Weston had to spend Sundays in August 1994 setting up "Club Weston" herself!


IDEA MAKES IT INTO DRAFT!!!  At LWV of Weston info meeting, P&Z Chair., Vice-Chair. and member in charge of rewrite of Plan report;  school superblock and specifically street-closing on Sundays in the summer is a big policy for community-building activity!!! 



OPEN SPACE AND RECREATION:    KEEP MAJOR  PUBLIC ACTIVE RECREATION FACILITIES TIED TO THE CENTRAL PART OF TOWN



Public and private spaces and places can link together and work to create an even greater protection for the environment and natural creatures who
live with us.   Above, Bisceglie Park (left) and right, Trout Brook Valley.
"About Town" interview with  then Aspetuck Land Trust Executive Director - watch it now:

    Bruce LePage Interview, Cable or DSL Version
    Bruce LePage Interview, Dial-up Modem Version

The Parks & Recreation Commission has some great ideas and original thinkers at work...visit its webpage.
Get the word on how we compare to other towns in the region:  SWRPA Open Space Study






Remember the tropical storm in August 2011?  Rebirth of Club Weston as "Bike-Ped Day" cancelled.

It was a new year, 2012, and a hopeful crew manned the barricades!  Sunday, September 9, 2012 was super!!! 
Early on, this was the view at Lord's H'way end of School Road. 


Weston Big Bike/Pedi Event is Sunday
Weston FORUM
By Kimberly Donnelly on September 8, 2012

School Road will be closed to all motorized traffic on Sunday, Sept. 9, from noon to 5 for the Big Bike/Pedi Event, sponsored by the Weston Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee. The event will take place rain or shine.

The road will be open to all for vehicle-free biking, scooter-riding, walking, and jogging. Due to a school policy, however, no skateboarding is allowed.

The Weston Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee was formed to promote safe bicycle and pedestrian facilities and activities in town, and to educate the public about proper safety techniques and to encourage residents to walk and bicycle.
..see FORUM archives for story in full.


At LWV of Weston info meeting, P&Z Chair., Vice-Chair. and member in charge of rewrite of Plan report;  implementation to be an ongoing, if voluntary, responsibility (taken more seriously).

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE 2020 PLAN:  Always look out for change in Hartford...

       




WESTERN CONNECTICUT COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS
Then there is Regional Cooperation...now in 2015 mandated "cooperation" - an oxymoron?



Pictured above at Norwalk City Hall:  This had to be the most lively SWR Legislative Breakfast yet - Congressman Himes (r) called it  "a partisan food fight" and it was for new Darien  Legislative Rep to put things in focus!
2011 not to be videotaped by About Weston.
2 0 1 0   R E G I O N A L   L E G I S L A T I V E    B R E A K F A S T  
South Western Regional Planning Agency/Metropolitan Planning Organization meet with Legislators at the "Community Room," Norwalk City Hall,  January 26, 2010

http://www.aboutweston.com/SWRPALegMtg1-26-10CableVersion.wmv   (172 megaBytes)
 
http://www.aboutweston.com/SWRPALegMtg1-26-10ModemVersion.wmv   (25 megaBytes)



Pictured above at Norwalk City Hall:  Senator McKinney, First Selectman (Wilton) Brennan, Senator Boucher, Chair. of the MPO, First Selectman Woody Bliss

REGIONAL COOPERATION 2009:  Remember this fracas?  The issue is back...
Another is to take a regional view of shared problems:  please note that First Selectman Bill Brennan of Wilton pointed out areas where SWRPA towns
cooperate voluntarily!  Watch the 2009 SWRPA-MPO Legislative Breakfast here:


Cable version:
http://www.aboutweston.com/SWRPALegMtg1-8-09CableVersion.wmv
Dial-up version: 
http://www.aboutweston.com/SWRPALegMtg1-8-09ModemVersion.wmv




MAPPING AND RESEARCH REPORTS NO LONGER AVAILABLE ONLINE:  SKETCH PLAN HERE.
Through the reassessment project, the best maps of Weston with lot lines will be available, eventually.  Will aerial photography done by SWRPA, now WCCOG, ever become available for public use?  If no answer, why not?  In the meanwhile, Where to begin?
 
Get out the drafting tools...and Prismacolor pencils.

WANT TO DO A PLAN?
Some tools of the trade. 
As someone once said to me, "you gotta have a map"...and one that gives you a big pictureOn your mark, get set, search and survey!!! 

SOURCES:


THIS WEBSITE'S original maps of neighborhoods in Weston - no longer available online.

What does the U.S. CENSUS tell us?  About peopleAbout housing?

WHAT WE THINK FROM THE OLD TOWN PLAN HAS BEEN ACHIEVED:  "About Town" is of the opinion that Weston is doing very well at
implementing its Plan.  Committees formal and informal are at work on Global Warming, Saugatuck River Valley Initiative, Weston Parks Project,
WestonArts, and others.  The School expansion project is winding down successfully and the Shopping Center has submitted a map and plan for its activities.  No longer online here.

However, since the Weston Plan of Conservation and Development 2000 (PDF unofficial version here) was approved (June 30, 2000), newer Town
Plans in other towns must say more than Weston's does about the affordable housing issue.  The Weston P&Z, when commenting on the new
Regional Plan, expressed interest in creative solutions SWRPA might come up with on the subject of affordable housing.


SWRPA found the Town Plan 2010 "not inconsistent with its Plan"
REMEMBER: THE NEW PLAN MUST BE "NOT INCONSISTENT WITH" SWRPA's (and SWRPA's had to be found "not inconsistent with"
the CT Plan--which it was found to be, as were the addenda for open space and recreation chapter and maps, transportation long-range
plan and the Housing Study of housing opportunities within the region). 





LAND USE PLANNING 101:  BASE MAP AND OUR MAP OF EXISTING LAND USE 2008 (no longer online but remains in our files).
A "windshield survey" (in the 21st century, via aerial perspective) requires a functioning road system (and bridges across the Saugatuck).




 What land use color do planners use for each  (our example of a legend for a Weston land use map)? 
An "existing land use map" is two-dimension; it depicts land use category for the acreage but not the structures.

Cobb's Mill Inn (by the waterfall).
Local attorney's office;
Weston has a centralized school system with all buildings on one campus (detail);
Town Hall.
Bisceglie Park.
Weston Library.
Onion Barn.
Weston Shopping Center.
Norfield Church.
St. Francis.

Note: parking and loading requirements not discussed.  But that is an interesting topic to explore:  2001 standards report - how have these changed over time?  Try A.P.A. website:  https://www.planning.org/







DATA RESOURCES 21st CENTURY STYLE:  E-STUDIES & E-SOURCES

SOURCES: 

Kaestle Boos Report summary no longer available here online.

Land Use law -
article about large subdivisions being treated differently from smaller ones

Appendices:  a Zoning/Environmental Chronology;  list of Town Officials
(under construction)

On-line research;

Population articles from the Net...other than government sources;

Urban design and historic preservation in the new Weston Plan?  This information no longer available online here.

Macro/micro economics;

Other sources.
Handy map of U.S. Census Block Groups 2000, and courtesy of the South Western Regional Planning Agency, some data for Weston.

Locational map of Weston Historic Districts.  No longer available here- see the Town Plan 1987 for this information.

Background on the affordable housing issue;

Where the vacant land identified in the 1969 Town Plan (our first) went;

Dominski-Oakrock recommendations re: zero incremental run-off and others built into subdivision and zoning regulations since 1976 in Weston; 
some of the more advanced concepts recommended but not yet implemented by P&Z from D&O "Weston Environmental Resources Manuel." 
 
URL for State Data Center, which should provide FREE info:  http://ctsdc.uconn.edu/

U.S. Department of Labor:

Research Data link, D.E.C.D.: http://www.ct.gov/ecd/cwp/view.asp?a=1106&Q=250610&ecdNav=|

Our labor market area: http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/lmi/lma_bridgeport_stamford.htm

TAXATION - how government activity elsewhere and in Weston is financed.  :  link to State Tax Panel reports:  .

Connecticut and Property tax studies:  http://www.cga.ct.gov/fin/taskforce.asp?TF=20140929_State%20Tax%20Panel

Smart Growth and Property Tax Commission Final Report (not online);  or http://www.engr.uconn.edu/environ/nrcc/Newsletter-%20Feb%202003.pdf

Or https://www.law.umn.edu/uploads/9b/d3/9bd3085ac6e62d813c1bb99d6f60b449/Connecticut-Brochure-2005.pdf

Or http://articles.courant.com/2003-09-14/news/0309140017_1_tax-exemptions-tax-overhaul-tax-system

Metropatterns; and check out the familiar names here

NYTIMES: 
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/05/opinion/where-should-a-poor-family-live.html?ref=opinion    In long article on affordable housing,
opinion included this study.

More studies - http://kirwaninstitute.osu.edu/pdfs/CTMaps/connecticut_opportunity_mapping_report.pdf


 Legislative action this Session:

WATERSHED  RESOURCES:
DEEP:  http://www.ct.gov/dep/cwp/view.asp?a=2719&q=325628&depNav_GID=1654&depNav=|

Saugatuck River Watershed Partnership:http://www.nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/connecticut/preserves/art22151.html


E-MAPPING
Newest from "CLEAR" ("Son of NEMO") is  Weston map showing changes in land cover between 1985 and 2002, tables.

The CT State Plan:  http://www.opm.state.ct.us/igp/cdplan/cdplan2.htm




MORE SOURCES:  Planning is not a static activity...some of our ideas that didn't make the P&Z's official 2010 Town Plan are coming into  view in 2015, perhaps?




Town-wide Sketch Plan above;  About Weston coloring in its own neighborhood planning maps lot by lot...no longer online.

About Town columns;

"About Town" recent intervierws with:
Police Chief
Superintendent of Schools
Director of Public Works
Former Executive Director of the Aspetuck Land Trust

Online articles:  announcing the "Workshop" Feb. 26, 2009; on populationfrom the FORUM, on culvert policy;  also from the FORUM - "village district"

Online articles on the economy

Online articles about water supply;  reshaping the state's future;

CT legal decisions

Other.


F R O M    T H E    A B O U T    T O W N    C O L U M N . . .



                       

Making Order Out Of Chaos -
April 20, 2000


Weston has always been a very neat and orderly place.  

Zoning makes order out of what could become chaotic construction, as Plans are "built out" and the future becomes the present before our very eyes.  We are a society of laws, and the Zoning Regulations--not to mention the Inland Wetland laws and the Building Code and more general societal norms--are what keep us civilized.

In the case of the Town of Weston, the map of all our dreams is the Town Plan of Conservation and Development.  A short series of regional workshops this Spring on the subject "Linking Land Use to Water Quality" is being made available by the University of Connecticut.

Interested in land use?  Norwalk City Hall (125 East Avenue, Community Room #128) on May 2 and 24, from 7:30pm to 9pm both evenings, is the place to be! Through the University of Connecticut's NEMO ("non-point education for municipal officials") instructors, protecting against water quality degradation will be front and center. NEMO is against land use "sprawl," and that topic will no doubt be raised.  Showing how other areas have used watersheds as the framework for planning is part of NEMO's mandate.  You can find out more about just who "NEMO" is by visiting this column's WEBsite:  http://members.aol.com/AboutWstn/index.html.

Action on Village District Bill

Remember the "Municipal Village District" idea discussed by "About Town" here a few weeks ago?  "Village Districts" revisions are still alive in the Legislature!  The village district proposal this session is more applicable to Weston's needs than last year's version, which became law.  This year's bill, sHB 5177, is a revision of last session's action.  The new "Act Concerning Village Districts" has now passed the House and is on the Calendar of the Senate.  What is different about the concept this year?

This year the bill works for Weston.  Introduced into this new, improved version is the required tie to the municipal plan of conservation and development.  Although zoning law, village districts would be the kind of zoning only permitted by the Town Plan.  If your "village district" site does not show on the Town Plan of Conservation and Development, it can't exist.  The bill this year has expanded "village districts" from those places within communities distinctive for their historic virtues to just plain "distinctive" locations around Town.  Although the Town of Weston may be exempt from its own zoning law, it must follow the guidelines of its Town Plan!

For example, the just completed Final School Facility Plan creates a "village district" combining Schools, Town Hall and Weston Library, as illustrated on the Plan map.  The School Plan "Option 4A" map (the option selected by both the Ad Hoc School Facilities Planning Committee and the Board of Education) could become a part of the new Town Plan.  Defining the limits of Weston's "Village District" and establishing these in the Town Plan of Conservation and Development 2000 is an idea whose time has come.

The Town Plan thus is the key protecting Weston against "sprawl," by allowing growth only at the "Village District."         



From 2008...



The Plan


One of the first steps in making a new Town Plan for Weston is creating a map that can be viewed on the Internet.  

What information do we need to start the planning process?  In the early stages of this effort, using a set of maps from the NEMO website will do.  Create a “Community
Resource Inventory Online.”  Start here: http://nemo.uconn.edu/


Is it good planning or just good luck?  As the reassessment rolls on, Vision Appraisals will be updating property maps online, coded to new assessments.  I can envision
the Planning and Zoning Commission being able to piggyback its early planning efforts to determine how much of Weston is yet to be developed, with this other accurate
information being produced for the town.


Is it time to revisit Dominski-Oakrock?  The Weston Environmental Resources Manual of 1976 at least needs updating.  Its basic principles still hold water, no pun intended.  However, has development over the past quarter century eroded river banks?  Is rainfall more intense now, or is it that the increasing percentage of impervious surfaces
townwide makes flooding a more common occurance?


In other communities around the country, information about lot lines, natural features, infrastructure, land use, and links to other information coded to each particular property
are available.   Most famously, Greenwich fights against revealing public infrastructure data, and may be winning this battle at the Freedom of Information Commission.


Some of this appears intrusive, and here in Weston we do not have the ability to cross-index maps and data.  Will any new Plan provide this to the general public? 
Should it?


Perhaps most importantly, should the Planning and Zoning Commission make this new Plan more comprehensive?  By this I mean including a section on Capital Planning.  

Should there be discussions of taxes?  How does land use relate to taxes?

What do you think are other relevant questions to ponder?  Post your thoughts at www.aboutweston.com/aboutwestonforums

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Climate Change

“Climate change” can be hard to envision.  Treading water on Main Street in Westport is one vision.  Having this year’s Presidential Debates run in a non-partisan way,
such as they would be if the national League of Women Voters were to run them, would be another. 


Julie Belaga said it best.  Having recently been asked by the Weston League to speak to the topic "Restoring American Leadership in Global Environmental Affairs,"
she asked “what leadership?” 


This former Environmental Protection Agency Region One (New England) administrator was very frank.  She pointed out that E.P.A. is not an agency in the Cabinet on equal
footing with, for example State, Defense, or Education.   Until the next administration in Washington decides to make Climate Change a focus for all departments, America
will not be able to focus on its own environmental crises, never mind achieving “leadership” status worldwide.


Weston over the years, however, might be closer to leading the pack.  How does Weston come to be so smart and so lucky?  Why is it that we are able to politically unify
over almost any issue that smacks of environmental concern?  If Weston has a motto for municipal government improvements, it is “Less is more.” 


Our Republican First Selectmen is perhaps the most distinguished nature lover I have ever met.  He gets support from our Republican and new Democratic Selectpersons. 
They are thoughtful and dedicated.  The Board of Selectmen has our best interests at heart.  But it isn’t easy to keep a balance among competing community interests.


Can Weston navigate the waters of economic gloom and doom and come out at the other end still the natural, unsullied “rural” community we all know and love?

Will there be an ultimate happy ending to the Lachat saga?  This joint effort by the Town of Weston and the Nature Conservancy to create a “Juliana Lachat Preserve”
entrance to Devil’s Den began with initial purchase of part of the farm in 1997. 


I once met Leon Lachat at the Lunch Box.  He was a modest and kindly gentleman.  Mr. Lachat would have wanted Weston to be at peace as a community.  Let us try to
find a fitting middle ground.  One more time, let us join together to try to find a way to make the Juliana Lachat Preserve the new entrance to the Den, without destroying the neighborhood.


Call it municipal climate change.

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Town Plan Progress

What’s happening at the Planning and Zoning Commission?  How is work coming along on the Town Plan update?

This Plan will have to pass muster with the Board of Selectmen and possibly a Town Meeting.  So that means that we all must keep up with the planning process.  Read the
most recent Plan here: WestonTownPlan2000.pdf


The Commission would do well to retain a consultant for this summer.  Set up a schedule and locational map for traffic counts.  Gather data from the Police Department and
the State of Connecticut.  The Fire Department is a big player in our community as well.


New water testing has its schedule, too, and should be done during Fall and Spring.  The 1993 Weston Water Study needs updating.  Data gathering from secondary sources
of all kinds is a nice summertime activity.  While school is out is a good time to sit down with the Board of Education and its staff to gather historic information from their files. 
And find out what to plan for in their bailiwick. 


Find out about infrastructure plans including the Kaestle-Boos report.  Capital Planning deserves a whole chapter for itself in Town Plan 2010.  And let us not forget to check in
with the Building Committee and its Alternative Energy Sub-Committee. 


Part of the new Plan’s process should include general “meet the citizens” events beginning this winter, too.  And let’s not forget Global Warming!

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Regulations Update

Our zoning regulations need to be “tightened up.”

Development can erode the natural environment.  The effects of a “blow out” of soil and erosion protection devices at a construction site can be shocking. 

When there are steep slopes, there is always the opportunity for heavy rainfall to get the earth moving downhill.  And especially if a building lot is being redeveloped.  Bare
land is particularly vulnerable.


How to keep this from happening?  One way that is sure to minimize erosion is to simply not take down trees, bushes and grass.  This natural growth and its roots grabs the
soil and anchors it against all but the most calamitous events.


There are mathematical models to calculate runoff.  Some features to consider are degree of slope; frequency, duration, and severity of rain events; type of soil; and the natural features that are present

But make no mistake, whenever “engineered solutions” to development are employed, you are walking a thin line between “progress” and catastrophe.  In order to make
Weston’s two-acre zoning work for the future there must be changes made to our present zoning regulations.


These changes involve a strict reduction in “coverage” on a building lot.  Presently a two-acre lot may use 15 percent of its 87,000 square feet for the house and other structures.  Planning and Zoning should reduce this percentage immediately.

There must also be provision made in one or more sections of the Town code to provide for proper management of roof runoff, such as via connection to underground drainage structures.  

Lastly, boards and commissions that deal with land use must keep in mind the need to always consider the impacts of their decisions on the ultimate sustainability of the
planet.  Beginning in Weston.


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Green plan for Connecticut

What forms our environment?  The answer is we do.  Weston’s next Town Plan should be green.

The terms “carbon footprint” and “sustainability” are very popular now.  Books and scholarly papers come forth almost daily announcing the end of the world as we have
known it. 


One “inconvenient truth” is that globalization of the world’s economies has actually brought us into direct conflict with saving the planet. 

A global economy only works if the costs of cooperating in one big market do not exceed those of the alternative of going it alone.  Could the United States, for example,
get by without importing significantly from abroad?  Has this country ever been able to isolate itself? 


The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island bear silent witness to the fact that the answer to my questions is “not really.”  In simpler times, before much of the industrial era,
maybe. 


Will we have to get used to a different calculus for job creation in the future?  The answer may lie in having a plan.  A green plan.  I have confidence that American businesses
that remain will find a way to redefine the old economic equation. 


Beginning in Weston, a “green plan” means being smart about how much the human footprint mars the natural environment.  No clear-cutting.  No bad chemicals on the
ground.  Keep the natural water cycle going every day! 


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Simple

Weston could get a complex about being a really small town.  With a limited tax base and unbridled appetite for spending money on education.  But what else is there to
spend tax money on?


No sewers.  No public water, except for the 29 homes near the former landfill off Godfrey Road.  An excellent Police Department, Public Works pros, devoted town hall and town
hall annex employees.  A part-time First Selectman.  Capital funding for needs of the volunteer Fire Department/Emergency Services group.


The little city that is our schools complex mirrors in some ways the rest of the community.  Along its meandering spine or “mile of safety” are speed bumps, stop signs, and
curb cuts.  The Board of Education works with the police to keep all modes of travel safe.


Cleverly designed loop roads help separate the different classes of vehicles.  Bus loading, service deliveries, emergency access, parking for teachers and students and other
staff all are part of the School Road plan. 


Adjoining the more than 100 acres of centralized school system, with no roadway cutting through, are Town Hall, Weston Library, Department of Public Works, and the Onion
Barn.  Have I left anything out?


This, in planning language, is called a “superblock.”  It is Weston’s Central Park.

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Infrastructure

What is infrastructure?  Who wants it or needs it?

A quick tour of town just this week showed several types of infrastructure in several places.  There were significant clusters of street lights at the town hall-school complex. 
There are four intersections with traffic lights and one with a “blinker.”  We’ve got bridges, one under repair and one waiting in the wings for its redo. 


So Weston is not what you would call a “bustling metropolis” with a downtown and an “other side of the track” neighborhood.  There are no tracks.  When you have no
infrastructure capable of handling higher densities, developers will go elsewhere. 


One kind of infrastructure that Weston has is a road system.  In fact, as the Town Plan rewrite gets started, one of the first considerations should be how our road system is
working now and its prospects for the future.  Road drainage is a concern.  Run-off in Weston eventually makes its way to Long Island Sound.  So we try to keep catch basins
and storm sewers clear of silt.


There are two north-south State highways.  Major and minor Town roads meander east and west. And then there are private, dead end streets.  Most are paved but some are
not. 


Part of Weston’s charm, I have always thought, was how careful the community has always been at keeping up the fine condition of its roads.  Weston is, if nothing else, neat. 

One kind of infrastructure that Weston does not have is sewers.  That is why Weston maintains a system of large lot development, with effluent disposed of parcel by parcel.  Although we do have a tertiary treatment plant on School Road, it is designed for school use only, and its maintenance and upkeep are in the school budget. 

The original Town Plan of 1969 envisioned town and school activity where they are today.  The Plans of 1987 and 2000 reinforced centralization of municipal activities. 

Infrastructure improvements in this next town plan should include investment in alternative energy within the boundaries of an “energy improvement district.”  Such a district
would encompass the schools campus and town facilities. 


This would be a bold first step. 

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


Density is destiny.

Weston has 500 people per square mile.  That’s 10,000 persons living on 20 square miles in the woods.  Almost every piece of land is spoken for.  Whether by human
homeowners or by other natural creatures resident in the vast, permanent open spaces in town.


In contrast, human density teems in a place such as Hong Kong.  Over 6,900,000 live in the 425 square miles of that port city.  That comes to more than 16,000 people per
square mile.


The history of Weston during the last few hundred years has been well documented.  Our form of government is the New England Town Meeting.  Hong Kong and its port have played a vital role in China’s relationship with the rest of the world.  Its governance had long been feudal.  Then it became a colony and part of the British Empire.  In 1997 it
became a largely autonomous part of China.


That autonomy was only agreed to last for a minimum of 50 years.  Will Weston still be free in 2047?  Will town meeting government and a two-party system prevail much
longer in our town?  Thinking globally, I would answer my own question with a resounding “yes,” for two reasons. 


The first is that a lack of infrastructure, whether sewers, water lines or train tracks, makes us a non-starter in the larger economic picture.  Our “land capability” is nil.

Reason number two is that we are not foolish.  No matter how much Westonites disagree about small matters and money, we all recognize that this training ground for the
next generation of leaders and contributors to society must be nurtured and protected.


That is why the next Town Plan revision is so important.

Goals 2020

Ironically, the next Plan must cover the years 2010 to 2020.  Calling it a “2020 Vision” for Weston sounds catchy and right!

This is our first Plan written in the 21st century.  It seems an appropriate time for Weston to reexamine its goals.  I am not sure myself about some of them any more! 

For example, as the “basic goals” I would only state four this time.  The first encompasses several of the older Plan’s goals.  It is:  “RENEW:  Weston, a residential
community, should renew its compact with nature and dedicate itself to supporting the natural water cycle.”


The second goal for the new Plan should be:  “IMPROVE public infrastructure and its maintenance to minimize run-off waste and effects.” 

Goal number three links the voice of planning with the work of the Building Committee and the Global Warming Committee.  “MAXIMIZE efficient use of limited natural resources
in a time of climate change:  make the centralized school-town complex energy self-sustaining.”


This is where the Planning and Zoning Commission takes charge.  As part of work towards a new Plan, a study of feasibility for an energy improvement district would fit right in! 
The study could also recommend suitable attendant technology.


Efficiency and economy are ways to MINIMIZE the human footprint.  In the new Plan we must find ways to reuse land and buildings and resources.  And recycle!



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Legend

A legend for a land use map follows conventions.  Land use colors for Weston are primarily yellow, green and blue, with just a dash of commercial red at the Center and at
Cobb’s Mill Inn.


And black.  Black is used to represent infrastructure.  In Weston that means roads.  Thicker or thinner, in double strands or even greater, planning maps are careful to place
roads correctly.  Dotted lines are road connections planned for the future.


All you need to look at is a town map of roads and immediately you can tell where you are.  Only Weston looks like Weston from the air!  North of Godfrey Road is forest, the deepest of deep green.  

Yellow is for low density residential properties.  In Town Plan 2000, this equaled 56% of all acreage in town.  Second in area was green, at 23%.  Green space is of different
kinds.  Passive uses, such as Aspetuck Land Trust Property, are one shade of green.  Active uses, such as Morehouse Farm Park, are a different tone of green.


Another 15% of our acreage was either undeveloped or undevelopable.  The aforementioned roads comprised 4%.

Public and semi-public land uses are shades of blue.  In Weston this includes Town Hall, the Fire Department, Library, Transfer Station, Public Works as well as school
property and churches.  These uses comprised the remaining 2% of total acreage.


Some colors not seen on a land use map of Weston are purple and browns.  Purple is the traditional color representing industrially classified property.  An example of industry
might be a factory.  Interestingly, in the 19th Century, Weston had a functioning axe tool factory and a toy factory!


Brown is the color of higher density housing.  Should Weston include this in the new Plan?  Only if we plan to build the necessary infrastructure, sewers and public water supply, and risk changing the character of our town!

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Afloat

When it rains, it pours.

There is a science behind the weather events we’ve been having, and their effects.  Besides the fashionable explanation of global warming.  In addition to increased run-off
caused by bigger homes and mounting coverage of paved areas.

Who can forget the graphic horror of Hurricane Katrina?  So many families and individuals and animals engulfed in the wet sorrow of that disaster.  But let us stop and think
for just a bit.

What was the real bottom line awful part of Katrina?  For me, it was the knowledge that the very same thing could and probably will happen again.  I had not really understood
that New Orleans was constructed below sea level prior to the storm.

How is this related to Weston?  The flood plains in town are mapped.  Planning and Zoning presides over regulations controlling development in these wet areas.  But like
New Orleans, much of Weston was developed prior to any zoning, subdivision, or Federal Emergency Management Administration (F.E.M.A.) edicts.

In reviewing F.E.M.A. grant programs, one stands out.  It is “pre-disaster mitigation.”  This is a planning program that sets in motion, at all levels of government, the effort to
get endangered structures out of harm’s way.

Funds to elevate houses, pay for hydrologic and hydraulic studies, and pay for storm water management projects come through F.E.M.A.  Qualifying for government funding, however, is not easy.  The available funds don’t go very far, and most projects down our way don’t pass muster.

So it is ever more important to make our flood management regulations as strong as possible, and try to prevent disasters if we can!

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


Building blocks

So cooperation among public and private sectors is the first building block for a happy financial future. 

Attention to detail in budget making is the second building block, in my opinion.  Lastly, wise land use planning is the capstone. 

After all, keeping Weston Weston is the goal.  These three factors should guarantee us a happy future. 

But we always must be prepared to ask tough questions.  Such as explanation of the cost-benefit calculations used to justify expenditures of public funds.  This kind of
question will be front and center at the League of Women Voters of Weston’s “Speak Up” in 2009.  Whatever the results of last Tuesday’s elections, there will be at least one
new voice there to stand and address the questions.

Weston’s budget process may reach a climax at the Board of Finance Public Hearing on March 31, 2009, which is held shortly before the Annual Town Budget Meeting,
scheduled for April 20, 2009.  Westonites who may not be fully up to date on the community’s financial position, and that means most of us, should use this opportunity to
grill the Board of Finance.

What is Weston’s situation?  Is the General Fund surplus as high as it was last year?  Has the latest town-wide revaluation of property shifted the tax burden from large
homes to small ones, or from new ones to older structures?

Is Weston’s Grand List shrinking? 





POPULATION CLOCK



C.I.A. World Fact Book:
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/print/us.html

ANOTHER SOURCE:  SIERRA CLUB ACTIVISTS*:
http://www.susps.org/overview/birthrates.html

*SUSPS® is a network of Sierra Club activists who support a comprehensive approach to environmentalism within the Sierra Club. We support Sierra Club policies and principles with the exception of current Sierra Club
U.S. population policy, which we believe is inadequate in addressing U.S. overpopulation. A comprehensive approach to environmentalism must include effective action for population stabilization in the United States.
Currently Sierra Club policies call for stabilizing U.S. population but do not address the combined impacts of mass migration and birth rates on U.S. population growth.



U.S. Birth Rate Hits All-Time Low; Teen birth rate also falls to record low
By Robert Longley, About.com
Found 7/18/08

See More About:u.s. birth rate;  life span of americans;  u.s. population growth

Continuing a 12-year decline, the U.S. birth rate has dropped to the lowest level since national data have been available, according to statistics just released by the Centers for Disease
Control (CDC). The rate of births among teenagers also fell to a new record low, continuing a decline that began in 1991...

Please search the web for the remainder of this story.



Weston selectmen approve new policy on culverts       
Weston FORUM
Written by Brian Gioiele    
Friday, November 21, 2008

The town is required to maintain drainage culverts, not replace them, even in areas where nearby properties endure periodic flooding, according to a newly established policy.
The Board of Selectmen on Thursday, Nov. 6, approved the final wording of the new policy on culvert replacement on town roads, a move stemming from the recent rash of requests from
residents asking the town to examine specific areas of flooding in town.

According to the new policy, the town is “under no obligation, legal or otherwise, to replace existing culverts” — an opinion town leaders received this past summer from Town Counsel Ken Bernhard.

The policy does state that the town will “cooperate with residents in order to determine the nature and location of the drainage problem.” Property owners may work with the town to replace culverts, according to the policy, if the project receives approval from the selectmen and has been properly vetted by the town engineer, public works director, and police chief.

“The purpose of this policy is to establish rules for private property owners,” said Selectman Glenn Major. “It spells out what their expectations about the culverts should be.”

But that was little consolation for one couple at Thursday’s meeting. The Fischers, who live on Deep Wood Road, are among a handful of property owners in that stretch who have
experienced four flooding situations in the past two years.

“It defies any test of fairness,” said Barry Fischer. “It’s hard to come to terms with — that this is a town road but the town won’t take responsibility for it.”

Town Engineer John Conte, also present Thursday, told the selectmen the culvert in that area was built according to town standards and was not damaged. He then offered
recommendations that would help alleviate the flooding, but the work would be at the property owners’ expense...


Please search the Weston FORUM archives for the remainder of this story.



Greenwich Time
NYTIMES
By TOM WOLFE
Published: September 27, 2008 (we only saw it today!)
 
Be aware that your correspondent is merely bringing you the news when he reports how many people have besieged the author of “The Bonfire of the Vanities” over the past week with the question, “Where does this leave the Masters of the Universe now?”

“This” refers to the current credit panic. The Masters of the Universe is a phrase from that book referring to ambitious young men...


Please search the NYTIMES archives for the remainder of this story.



Fairfield County still top-earning area in country
Norwalk HOUR
Staff Report
August 12, 2008

REGION -- The U.S. economy may be struggling as a whole, but Fairfield County residents still have money -- and lots of it. In fact, the region is the richest in the country.

It may not be equally distributed among all its residents, but the Bridgeport-Norwalk-Stamford metropolitan area had the highest average total income per resident at $80,192 in 2007 --
up from $74,281 in 2006. The 8 percent increase in per capita personal income also topped the national average increase of 6.2 percent.

The figures are according to data released last week by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Fairfield County retained the top spot, while Naples-Marco Island, Fla., was second, and San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif., was third.

The national per capita personal income (total income divided by number of residents) in 2007 was $38,632, less than half of Fairfield County's. In Connecticut, Hartford ($47,641) was the
second richest county and ranked 17th among the U.S.'s 363 metropolitan areas.

Connecticut was the highest-earning state with an average of $54,117 -- 40 percent above the national average. New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York and Maryland followed Connecticut
as the richest state. Mississippi was the lowest-earning state at $28,845...

Please search the Norwalk HOUR for the remainder of this story.

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Economy is no drag on vacancies
Stamford ADVOCATE
By Peter Healy
Staff Writer
Article Launched: 08/05/2008 02:42:39 AM EDT

As developers work on grandiose plans for projects that might attract the next UBS AG or Royal Bank of Scotland to Stamford, the city's office availability rate has remained virtually flat
this year...

Please search the ADVOCAT archives for the remainder of this story.


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Population loss is threat to our state
Stamford ADVOCATE
Staff Reports
Article Launched: 07/12/2008 02:39:30 AM EDT

Get ready for some competitive congressional races in Connecticut soon after the 2020 Census. That's the time officials say the state is likely to lose one of its five remaining U.S. House
seats - we originally had six - and with it one of its seven electoral votes.

The state showed growth over the past year that could charitably be called "anemic." The population rose 0.19 percent in the past year, the equivalent of adding about 6,500 people. In a
state of almost 3.5 million, that's almost like going backward.

A multigenerational trend is emptying out the Northeast and filling up the West, specifically places like Arizona, Colorado and Nevada. Those states stand to pick up the congressional seats,
and the national clout, that Connecticut and its neighbors appear on track to lose...

Please search the ADVOCATE archives for the remainder of this story.


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

Estimate from State Data Center at UCONN...

Stamford ADVOCATE
By Kate King, Special Correspondent
Article Launched: 07/11/2008 01:00:00 AM EDT


Fairfield County saw a small increase in population despite a drop statewide, according to census figures released yesterday.

Stamford, Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien and Westport all saw minor increases, according to the data. Norwalk posted a decline of 0.1 percent.  But the statewide picture isn't promising, experts say, pointing to a shrinking work force, loss of jobs, an aging population and a potential reduction in state representation in Washington, D.C.

"This population growth is consistent with our slow growth in the recent past," said Lisa Mercurio, director of the Business Council of Fairfield County. "New England as a whole has been
growing more slowly than the rest of the U.S."

The population in Connecticut rose 0.19 percent over the last year, according to the census data.  Connecticut's population growth is the eighth lowest in the nation, according the report.
Nevada had the highest growth rate since 2006 at 2.9 percent, and Rhode Island had the lowest at minus 0.36 percent.

Within Connecticut, Milford's population grew the most, by 532 people. Bridgeport showed the biggest population decline, losing 252 people over the past year...

Please search the ADVOCATE archives for the remainder of this story.



Uncomfortable Answers to Questions on the Economy
NYTIMES 
By PETER S. GOODMAN
Published: July 19, 2008

You have heard that Fannie and Freddie, their gentle names notwithstanding, may cripple the financial system without a large infusion of taxpayer money. You have gleaned that jobs are disappearing, housing prices are plummeting, and paychecks are effectively shrinking as food and energy prices soar. You have noted the disturbing talk of crisis hovering over Wall Street...

“The open question is whether we’re in for a bad couple of years, or a bad decade,” said Kenneth S. Rogoff, a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, now a professor at Harvard...

Please search the NYTIMES archives for the remainder of this story.



Region boasts highest GDP
Greenwich TIME
By Elizabeth Kim, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 07/20/2008 02:31:14 AM EDT

Call it a triumph of brains over brawn.

The region consisting of Stamford, Bridgeport and Norwalk has the highest average gross domestic product per capita in the country, according to a new economic study from the Federal
Reserve Bank of New York.

In their report, "Human Capital and Economic Activity in Urban America," economists Jaison Abel and Todd Gabe cited the 20 highest average gross domestic product per capita of
metropolitan areas from 2001 to 2005. They based their list on data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The Stamford, Bridgeport and Norwalk area, considered a contiguous employment zone, had an average GDP per capita of $74,261. In second place was the San Jose, Calif., area with
$66,708. The greater New York area, which includes northern New Jersey, came in 15th, with an average of $51,440...

Please search the ADVOCATE archives for the remainder of this story.


Report: Westport Commercial Real Estate Takes Hit
WestportNow
July 11, 2008

Reflecting tough economic times, the Westport office vacancy rate stayed at around 7.5 percent for the third period in a row but availability rates went up to 12.5 percent as of July 1, a
long-time Westport commercial real estate broker said today...

Please search WestportNow archives for the remainder of this story.


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Towns can’t be stricter with big subdivisions;  Windsor ‘Lord’s Woods’ case sets statewide precedent
By Alex Wood, Manchester Journal Inquirer
Published: Friday, September 5, 2008 11:36 PM EDT

In a Windsor case with statewide significance, the state Supreme Court ruled this week that local planning and zoning commissions can’t impose stricter standards on large subdivisions
than they do on small ones...

Please search the Manchester Journal-Inquirer archives for the remainder of this story.

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Discussion of affordable housing and Selectmens' vision at March 12, 2009 Town Plan work session...review of workshop.

Weston's Plan of Development: What is the town's vision?       
Weston Forum
Written by Patricia Gay    
Wednesday, February 18, 2009 

School expansion, adequate municipal septic facilities, and the need for active recreational areas.

When the town of Weston put together its Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) 10 years ago, those were three major public concerns.

But are they the same concerns people in town have today?

That’s what land use experts are hoping to find out at a special planning workshop being held Thursday, Feb. 26, at the Weston High School cafeteria. The purpose is to gather public
input on land use issues for development of the new plan.

The workshop will be moderated by Glenn Chalder of Planimetrics, an Avon-based planning and consulting firm. “Ultimately, the new plan of development should reflect the town’s vision,
and you need to know what that vision is,” Mr. Chalder told members of the Planning and Zoning Commission at a recent meeting...

Please search the Weston FORUM archives for the remainder of this story.

 -------------------------

Public nixes idea of expanded village district in Weston
Weston FORUM
Written by Patricia Gay
Thursday, 23 July 2009 00:00

A large majority of residents attending a town plan workshop were against the concept of forming a village district in the center of Weston.

Harold Halpin, a 16-year resident of Weston and member of the Weston Village District Coalition, appeared before the Planning and Zoning Commission Monday night, July 20, to discuss a multi-zoned, village district plan that would allow for a mix of residential, municipal, religious, and business uses in the town center.

The town is currently zoned residential, with one exception — the Neighborhood Shopping District, which houses Weston Center.

Mr. Halpin asked P&Z to consider incorporating a village district into the town’s 10-year Plan of Conservation and Development, which the commission is in the midst of reviewing and updating.

He said the district would be a good thing for Weston and give the town flexibility to add things like medical offices, sidewalks and cafes.

“The idea is not to turn the center into a commercial district, but to protect the distinct character of the town while adding some more services,” Mr. Halpin said.

Another benefit he said was that land values within the district would increase — if and when residents decided to sell.

P&Z member Don Saltzman did not care for the idea. “It’s too broad a concept. It’s difficult to encumber people’s houses and I don’t understand why churches are included,” he said.

Several residents with homes within the proposed contours of the district said they did not want to risk someone next to them putting up a commercial structure.

Others who spoke against the idea said it was unfair that houses within the district could benefit and profit by selling their homes for commercial development.

And several other others said they wanted Weston to stay as it was, without more development...


Please search the Weston FORUM archives for the remainder of this story.










Read it now!

Expert: World's water crisis will grow worse if action not taken 
DAY
By Judy Benson 
Published on 4/4/2009

New London - Friday's intermittent rain and dense fog suited the occasion: the first of two days of a conference featuring scholarly talks about water.
The conference, “Water Scarcity & Conflict,” focused on a commodity many Americans take for granted and often waste, but one that is increasingly the source of tensions and supply
problems across the world.

”I think there is a water crisis, and it's getting worse, not better,” said Peter Gleick, a leading expert on the sustainable use of water, who gave the opening address. Gleick is co-founder
and president of The Pacific Institute, a nonpartisan policy research group focusing on environment and development issues. He is also a member of the National Academy of Science
and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Gleick noted there is good news about water - Americans consume less than 20 years ago, for example, thanks largely to water-conserving toilets and a shift away from industries
that use large amounts...

 Please search the New London DAY archives for the remainder of this story.
 


At Forum In Hartford, Planners Talk About Reshaping State's Future
The Hartford Courant
By DON STACOM
June 1, 2009

Clustering new housing around Connecticut's job centers, transit lines and existing commercial hubs would significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the cost of infrastructure in the decades ahead, regional planners said at a forum in Hartford.

Starting from that basic premise, the group Friday exploring possible approaches to the state's future that ranged from the innocuous, such as tax incentives for building apartment towers near Union Station, to the semi-revolutionary — creating a streetcar route from downtown to the University of Connecticut Medical Center via Farmington Avenue.

"It's about giving people freedom to choose, and preserving long-term value for our communities," said David Kooris, Connecticut director of the Regional Plan Association...

Please search the Hartford Courant archives for the remainder of this story.



Paris Journal: A Paris Plan, Less Grand Than Gritty
NYTIMES
By STEVEN ERLANGER

June 11, 2009


PARIS — Every president of France’s Fifth Republic has had his Pharaonic project, by which he believes he will leave his mark on the capital and French culture.

François Mitterrand, a fierce Socialist known as the Sphinx, left the new French national library and, to continue the Ozymandias theme, the controversial glass pyramid in the Louvre. Jacques Chirac left the Musée du Quai Branly, an anthropological museum, with an argumentative design by the French architect Jean Nouvel.

President Nicolas Sarkozy, no slouch, wants nothing more than to leave behind “Le Grand Paris.” In more than a year of discussions, there have been some spectacular ideas and drawings by 10 teams of famous architects, drawn by the president’s invitation to reimagine Paris as a city integrated with its suburbs and responsible in its environmental footprint...

 Please search the NYTIMES archives for the remainder of this story.




         

OTHER PLANNING RESOURCES
 

QUESTIONS:  How does this relate to Aquarion's well fields?  AQUIFER PROTECTION ZONE (p. 38 of Weston Town Plan 2010) shown - it extends into Westport...how far?
What's happening in Westport that might or might not affect Weston policies?  Link to WestportNow story:  http://www.westportnow.com/index.php?/v2_5/comments/conservation_commission_tours_bridgewater_campus/#more

Still online here is this information for your use:  "Smart growth" in CT Legislature thru the years and updates.

Story as About Weston followed it, without links to in-depth reports previously online.

HOW WE GOT TO WHERE WE ARE:
Intermediate School open September 2005, Weston High School doubled in size, "opened" May '06

PRELUDE: Where this all began - the history (1995 through current) of sewage disposal discussion;  ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY of three (3) different architect/planners' plans for Weston's school expansion.

SEPTIC SOLUTION:

        SELECT COMMITTEE ...Once confronted with the choice of school expansion and sewers, the Town said a loud "NO" in May 2000 - and so the "Select Committee" (with the longest title in the world) was formed;  report from State Department of Education on school population forecast given.

        SELECT COMMITTEE WORKBOOK:The Committee goes to work...supplied with documents by the then Town Administrator;  Select Committee gets extensions...

        GENERATORS OF EFFLUENT:  What is the status of septic generation in the heart of Weston?  How can this problem be treated without sewers?

        SEPTIC SYSTEM/SEWAGE TREATMENT LOCATION...CT D.E.P. lays down the law;  upgrades needed to existing systems before any remedy can be permitted for tertiary treatment options.

SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION/EXPANSION:  Unofficial minutes for School Building project (as far back as May 2000--in reverse chronological order), by "About Town"--we did not miss one Building Committee/School Building Committee meeting since the Referendum of November 15, 2001) until after the completion of construction of the Referendum project;

        SCHOOL BUILDING COMMITTEE: with additional representation from Select Committee (alternatives to sewers), Board of Education facilties sub-committee, Superintendent of Schools and design critic, the Building Committee shoulders the task of administrating the early phases of work on school expansion.  Together, these 11 individuals make up the "School Building Committee."  As design work progresses, a Construction Management firm and an Owner's Representative come on board to administrate/supervise the November 15, 2001 Referendum work.

        FLETCHER-THOMPSON: Architects of the Plan that won the Referendum of Nov. 15, 2001.  Previous description of "alternatives" (no $$ here).  Results of Adjourned Town Meeting machine vote that cut short planning prior to Referendum of Nov. 15, 2001 HERE... during the summer of 2001, planning for school referendum continues...big meeting at Weston Library.

        DESIGN SUB-COMMITTEE...begun on December 4, 2001...design detailing now held at end of School Building Committee meetings.
        Early design timeline (not current official document).

        O,R& L CONCEPTS:  For historical reference - the ideas of the second architect/planner:The Plan for school construction put on shelf as septic issue and "sticker shock" - high bonding cost - combine to bring the two separate issue discussions together, and bring the school improvement program to a temporary halt in  February 2000.  What were O,R&L's "options" for school expansion?




Prelude


This is where it all began:  Shortly there after came the Town Engineer's news (l.) and link to reports on "Impact of Sewage Treatment on the Character of Weston" and more.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18, 1995 (WESTPORT NEWS):
  On the left is the Town Engineer describing the septic systems at the Schools; right is a suggested place to locate the tertiary treatment plant if such a solution is considered.  "We may have room for expansion (on School Road), but it needs more study" he said. 

The School Road alternative ultimately worked out (Conservation had denied Town-preferred option at  Bisceglie twice - second time March 2003).


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


(NOTE--EXPANSION #1, The Overture) FOUR CLASSROOMS:  We note that this first expansion took place in 1993-94 approx.

The Board of Education had reduced that proposed addition from 8 rooms [including 4 finished and 4 unfinished] to 4 finished rooms only over the recommendation of a committee representing Town Boards and employees knowledgeable on the subject of real estate and growth--this was the period of time when Weston was ahead of its neighbors, having anticipated the need for elementary capacity before other communities did.)




It was January 1995...
 
For those paying attention in January 1995, during the first go-round of "Joint School-Town Facilities Planning" efforts, this information will not come as news.  One Saturday morning in Town Hall (shown above) at a "Joint... Committee" meeting, in January of 1995, the Town Engineer had news that was most distressing.  A member of the Building Committee is reported to have said that the State of Connecticut can "shut down the schools" if there is a problem with the old systems there.

D.E.P., according to the Town Engineer, wanted to see a plan from the Town showing how it might deal with future expansion at the schools.  His recommendation, if memory serves, was to place a tertiary treatment plant in Bisceglie Park or on School Road and no doubt make other improvements to the septic fields as required.



"There are no more children"...
was the cry mid-decade!

That winter finding out how many children resided in our Town became an issue.  It was smack in the middle of the decade between U.S. Census of Population 1990 and what was to become "U.S. Census 2000" now completed (and getting out of date, perhaps).  Demographers were projecting a continuation of dropping birth rates in wealthy countries (as more women went to work during peak years of fertility).




State estimates prior to that first Census of Children (1995)...
 
The State of Connecticut estimate for children under five years of age in Weston was, if memory serves, somewhere in the range of 475 little persons.  This was considered a big number at that time.  A prior addition to Hurlbutt just completed was totally occupied in the space of time of one school year!


No overall Plan...still a data gap


But where was our plan--long range or even short range? 

At this time, a "Census of Children '95" in behalf of the then Board of Selectmen was undertaken (by the author of this "About Town" website). 

As already noted above, the Hurlbutt P.T.O. (and other P.T.O.'s, too) sent out the same census forms to their constituencies, and together, the Town and the School community, plus aid from the Assessor's information as a secondary source, without double-counting anybody, arrived at a number of children under the age of 5 years living in Weston in the summer of 1995--that number was 808.

Remember that, as noted above, official demographers were estimating the same cohort to total only 475.



(NOTE:  EXPANSION #2) New library at Hurlbutt and new staff space connecting buildings at Hurlbutt
  • "Core" building--or as some said, "Corridor Building",
  • Conversion of old staff space to classrooms--
  • As well as new rooms created out of either too small or too large spaces at Weston Middle School. 
  • Also included in this effort was construction of a new Board of Education Headquarters Building on School Road [at the site of the old portables/Weston UNION]--removing the Board of Education from Weston Middle School, thus freeing up a whole wing, practically, gaining yet more teaching space).

Weston tidal wave breaking...


Another slightly different yet similar Town Census in 1997 showed only a minor downturn (but not continued expanding upward growth trend) in the numbers of children alive and well and living in Weston--just two years after the first Census of Children.

Only at this point did anyone truly recognize that a tidal wave of children was approaching the Weston School System.  The Board of Selectmen acted. They called upon the architect-planner of the second school expansion (see EXPANSION #2 above)--to propose a new solution. (Phase One or was it Phase Two of that original multiphase plan had the Board of Education Headquarters placed in the to-be converted Bus Garage --not as the Plan was actually implemented--in its own, new building further up School Road).
June '98:  The big meeting in Weston Middle School...


A noisy crowd in  June 1998 rejected the quickly developed Board of Selectmen options, which first identified the septic disposal problem for the general public.

And informed they were soon enough!

 It was at this point that "No Sewage Plant..." (or was it "No Sewers...") became a rallying cry.  That "plant" had been suggested for either School Road or Bisceglie Park.  In March of 1999 the Board of Education was still looking for the "out of the box" thinker, and selecting yet another architect-planner.

The community was divided about how to approach the impending inundation of the schools--should we build a new high school somewhere and convert the older buildings on School Road to lower grades...or should we build a "3-4-5 school" on campus and fill in wetlands, overcrowd the center of Town...or should we do nothing and wait for the storm to subside naturally? And there were more scenarios to pick from, further fragmenting the population.


Back to the drawing boards with a new planner...


Our version of the work of School Facilities Planners leading up to their proposal for a School Road campus plan--and then the plan itself plus visual representations no longer online. (Option 4A).

After the new planner proposed what the Town and School Board wanted to hear--that we could makes changes to school policy, rework roads and fields and manage to maintain excellence ...the other shoe dropped--or was it shoes, plural? 

First, the estimate for this reworking of our school system was expected to total $70,000,000, and second, we would probably need sewers in order to accommodate the density of new construction and pavement. 

(NOTE:  This is my interpretation of the proposal--a more than standing-room only crowd in the high school auditorium voiced its displeasure with the idea for sewers.)


The sewage treatment issue...
 
In the interim, the Planning and Zoning Commission updated the Town Plan (as required by the State of Connecticut).  The Town Plan of Conservation and Development 2000 as adopted June 30, 2000
is now recommending off-campus school development (if necessary to avoid installing infrastructure such as sewers or public water supply pipes). 

A "Select Committee" was appointed by the Board of Selectmen to find a way to deal with effluent from the school complex without necessitating sewerage.  They then created sub-committees with added membership, to look into various aspects of the issue.

And naturally, it was time for a new town census--as the U.S. Census of Population and Housing 2000 was not ready in a timely fashion...click here to see the Town/School Census 2000 questions.

To be continued...did you save the "No Sewage Plant" signs from a few years ago?  Are the arguments for and against tertiary treatment (as opposed to sewer line to Norwalk, pro and con) going to be revived?  Any new ideas?

And it was time to do the Census of Children again.  This time the Town of Weston undertook the project by itself and apparently made sure everyone answered the questionnaire!

 




Town Seal designed by Blake Hampton.

This is an unauthorized publication of the FIRST MAILING for the Weston Census 2000 form, designed and uploaded as of October 14, 2000, intended only for informational purposes.  A new form has been sent out by the Town of Weston to the households not responding to the October mailing (an unofficial version here shown below).  This version below was not intended as a substitute for the official document...IF YOU NEEDED ANOTHER OFFICIAL "OCTOBER" CENSUS FORM (i.e. the dog had the original one for lunch) YOU WERE ASKED BY THIS "ABOUT TOWN" INTERNET PAGE TO GO TO TOWN HALL AND ASK FOR ONE FROM  THE DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY...OR ASK THE TOWN CLERK!  HOWEVER YOU MANAGED TO DO IT, YOU WERE (AND ARE BEING) ASKED TO PLEASE COOPERATE!!!
Town of Weston, Connecticut

October 2000

Dear Weston Resident:

As part of the process for planning for the future needs of the community, we must identify the ages of our residents.  Each age group identifies a different need for our community.  Without understanding the demographics of our town, we cannot properly plan for tomorrow and the future.  The Board of Selectmen strongly requests your participation in this local census program by answering the following questions.  All specific information will be kept confidential.  Thank you in advance for your prompt participation and response.

1.  Please fill in your address________________________________________.

2.  How many years has your household (or family) lived in Weston? (circle one)
Less than two years         Two to five years    Five to ten years      More than ten years

3.  Please enter the number of persons living at your address in each of the following age categories:
Under 19_______ 19 to 25_______  26-44__________    45 to 55_________  65+_______

4.  My family plans to stay in Weston for the next (circle one) years:
Less than two years.     Two to five years.     Five to ten years.      More than ten years.

5.  If you have children living in your household 19 years of age or under, please supply the following information.  (If not, Skip to question 6)
 

#  OF  CHILDREN  IN YOUR  HOUSEHOLD


Date
of
Birth
mo/yr
Grade
in School,
Fall 2000
Attends
Weston
Schools
y/n
Attends
Private
School
y/n
Would you use before school childcare at Hurlbutt?
y/n
...After school childcare at Hurlbutt? y/n
Child
#1
____ ____ ____ _____ _____ _____
Child
#2
____ ____ ____ _____ _____ _____
Child
#3
____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____
Child #4 ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____
Child
#5
____ ____ ____ ____ ____ _____

6.  Enter the month and year of birth for all members of your household over the age of 19.
 

Those over 19 yrs of age Birthday (mo/yr)
Member #1 ________
Member #2 ________
Member #3 ________
Member #4 ________
Member #5 ________
Member #6 ________


A history of the Weston Town Census program is no longer online.