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
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
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,
Weston has always been a very neat and orderly
Zoning makes order out of what could become chaotic construction, as
Plans are "built out" and the future becomes the present before our
very eyes. We are a society of laws, and the Zoning
Regulations--not to mention the Inland Wetland laws and the Building
Code and more general societal norms--are what keep us civilized.
In the case of the Town of Weston, the map of all our dreams is the
Town Plan of Conservation and Development. A short series of
regional workshops this Spring on the subject "Linking Land Use to
Water Quality" is being made available by the University of
Interested in land use? Norwalk City Hall (125 East Avenue,
Community Room #128) on May 2 and 24, from 7:30pm to 9pm both evenings,
is the place to be! Through the University of Connecticut's NEMO
("non-point education for municipal officials") instructors, protecting
against water quality degradation will be front and center. NEMO is
against land use "sprawl," and that topic will no doubt be
raised. Showing how other areas have used watersheds as the
framework for planning is part of NEMO's mandate. You can find
out more about just who "NEMO" is by visiting this column's
Action on Village District Bill
Remember the "Municipal Village District" idea discussed by
"About Town" here a few weeks ago? "Village Districts" revisions
are still alive in the Legislature! The village district proposal
this session is more applicable to Weston's needs than last year's
version, which became law. This year's bill, sHB 5177, is a
revision of last session's action. The new "Act Concerning
Village Districts" has now passed the House and is on the Calendar of
the Senate. What is different about the concept this year?
This year the bill works for Weston. Introduced into this new,
improved version is the required tie to the municipal plan of
conservation and development. Although zoning law, village
districts would be the kind of zoning only permitted by the Town
Plan. If your "village district" site does not show on the Town
Plan of Conservation and Development, it can't exist. The bill
this year has expanded "village districts" from those places within
communities distinctive for their historic virtues to just plain
"distinctive" locations around Town. Although the Town of Weston
may be exempt from its own zoning law, it must follow the guidelines of
its Town Plan!
For example, the just completed Final School Facility Plan creates a
"village district" combining Schools, Town Hall and Weston Library, as
illustrated on the Plan map. The School Plan "Option 4A" map (the
option selected by both the Ad Hoc School Facilities Planning Committee
and the Board of Education) could become a part of the new Town
Plan. Defining the limits of Weston's "Village District" and
establishing these in the Town Plan of Conservation and 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."
One of the first steps in making a new Town Plan for Weston is
creating a map that can be viewed on the Internet.
What information do we need to start the planning process?
In the early stages of this effort, using a set of maps from the NEMO
website will do. Create a “Community
Online.” Start here: http://nemo.uconn.edu/
Is it good planning or just good luck? As the reassessment
rolls on, Vision Appraisals will be updating property maps online,
coded to new assessments. I can envision
the Planning and Zoning
Commission being able to piggyback its early planning efforts to
determine how much of Weston is yet to be developed, with this other
information being produced for the town.
Is it time to revisit Dominski-Oakrock? The Weston
Environmental Resources Manual of 1976 at least needs updating.
Its basic principles still hold water, no pun intended. However,
has development over the past quarter century eroded river banks?
Is rainfall more intense now, or is it that the increasing percentage
of impervious surfaces
townwide makes flooding a more common occurance?
In other communities around the country, information about lot
lines, natural features, infrastructure, land use, and links to other
information coded to each particular property
available. Most famously, Greenwich fights against
revealing public infrastructure data, and may be winning this battle at
the Freedom of Information Commission.
Some of this appears intrusive, and here in Weston we do not
have the ability to cross-index maps and data. Will any new Plan
provide this to the general public?
Perhaps most importantly, should the Planning and Zoning
Commission make this new Plan more comprehensive? By this I mean
including a section on Capital Planning.
Should there be discussions of taxes? How does land use
relate to taxes?
What do you think are other relevant questions to ponder?
Post your thoughts at www.aboutweston.com/aboutwestonforums
“Climate change” can be hard to envision. Treading water
on Main Street in Westport is one vision. Having this year’s
Presidential Debates run in a non-partisan way,
such as they would be
if the national League of Women Voters were to run them, would be
Julie Belaga said it best. Having recently been asked by
the Weston League to speak to the topic "Restoring American Leadership
in Global Environmental Affairs,"
she asked “what leadership?”
This former Environmental Protection Agency Region One (New
England) administrator was very frank. She pointed out that
E.P.A. is not an agency in the Cabinet on equal
footing with, for
example State, Defense, or Education. Until the next
administration in Washington decides to make Climate Change a focus for
all departments, America
will not be able to focus on its own
environmental crises, never mind achieving “leadership” status
Weston over the years, however, might be closer to leading the
pack. How does Weston come to be so smart and so lucky? Why
is it that we are able to politically unify
over almost any issue that
smacks of environmental concern? If Weston has a motto for
municipal government improvements, it is “Less is more.”
Our Republican First Selectmen is perhaps the most distinguished
nature lover I have ever met. He gets support from our Republican
and new Democratic Selectpersons.
They are thoughtful and
dedicated. The Board of Selectmen has our best interests at
heart. But it isn’t easy to keep a balance among competing
Can Weston navigate the waters of economic gloom and doom and
come out at the other end still the natural, unsullied “rural”
community we all know and love?
Will there be an ultimate happy ending to the Lachat saga?
This joint effort by the Town of Weston and the Nature Conservancy to
create a “Juliana Lachat Preserve”
entrance to Devil’s Den began with
initial purchase of part of the farm in 1997.
I once met Leon Lachat at the Lunch Box. He was a modest
and kindly gentleman. Mr. Lachat would have wanted Weston to be
at peace as a community. Let us try to
find a fitting middle
ground. One more time, let us join together to try to find a way
to make the Juliana Lachat Preserve the new entrance to the Den,
without destroying the neighborhood.
Call it municipal climate change.
Town Plan Progress
What’s happening at the Planning and Zoning Commission?
How is work coming along on the Town Plan update?
This Plan will have to pass muster with the Board of Selectmen
and possibly a Town Meeting. So that means that we all must keep
up with the planning process. Read the
most recent Plan here: WestonTownPlan2000.pdf
The Commission would do well to retain a consultant for this
summer. Set up a schedule and locational map for traffic
counts. Gather data from the Police Department and
the State of
Connecticut. The Fire Department is a big player in our community
New water testing has its schedule, too, and should be done
during Fall and Spring. The 1993 Weston Water Study needs
updating. Data gathering from secondary sources
of all kinds is a
nice summertime activity. While school is out is a good time to
sit down with the Board of Education and its staff to gather historic
information from their files.
And find out what to plan for in
Find out about infrastructure plans including the Kaestle-Boos
report. Capital Planning deserves a whole chapter for itself in
Town Plan 2010. And let us not forget to check in
Building Committee and its Alternative Energy Sub-Committee.
Part of the new Plan’s process should include general “meet the
citizens” events beginning this winter, too. And let’s not forget
Our zoning regulations need to be “tightened up.”
Development can erode the natural environment. The effects
of a “blow out” of soil and erosion protection devices at a
construction site can be shocking.
When there are steep slopes, there is always the opportunity for
heavy rainfall to get the earth moving downhill. And especially
if a building lot is being redeveloped. Bare
land is particularly
How to keep this from happening? One way that is sure to
minimize erosion is to simply not take down trees, bushes and
grass. This natural growth and its roots grabs the
anchors it against all but the most calamitous events.
There are mathematical models to calculate runoff. Some
features to consider are degree of slope; frequency, duration, and
severity of rain events; type of soil; and the natural features that
But make no mistake, whenever “engineered solutions” to
development are employed, you are walking a thin line between
“progress” and catastrophe. In order to make
zoning work for the future there must be changes made to our present
These changes involve a strict reduction in “coverage” on a
building lot. Presently a two-acre lot may use 15 percent of its
87,000 square feet for the house and other structures. Planning
and Zoning should reduce this percentage 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.
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
One “inconvenient truth” is that globalization of the world’s
economies has actually brought us into direct conflict with saving the
A global economy only works if the costs of cooperating in one
big market do not exceed those of the alternative of going it
alone. Could the United States, for example,
get by without
importing significantly from abroad? Has this country ever been
able to isolate itself?
The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island bear silent witness to
the fact that the answer to my questions is “not really.” In
simpler times, before much of the industrial era,
Will we have to get used to a different calculus for job
creation in the future? The answer may lie in having a
plan. A green plan. I have confidence that American
that remain will find a way to redefine the old economic
Beginning in Weston, a “green plan” means being smart about how
much the human footprint mars the natural environment. No
clear-cutting. No bad chemicals on the
ground. Keep the
natural water cycle going every day!
Weston could get a complex about being a really small
town. With a limited tax base and unbridled appetite for spending
money on education. But what else is there to
spend tax money on?
No sewers. No public water, except for the 29 homes near
the former landfill off Godfrey Road. An excellent Police
Department, Public Works pros, devoted town hall and town
employees. A part-time First Selectman. Capital funding for
needs of the volunteer Fire Department/Emergency Services group.
The little city that is our schools complex mirrors in some ways
the rest of the community. Along its meandering spine or “mile of
safety” are speed bumps, stop signs, and
curb cuts. The Board of
Education works with the police to keep all modes of travel safe.
Cleverly designed loop roads help separate the different classes
of vehicles. Bus loading, service deliveries, emergency access,
parking for teachers and students and other
staff all are part of the
School Road plan.
Adjoining the more than 100 acres of centralized school system,
with no roadway cutting through, are Town Hall, Weston Library,
Department of Public Works, and the Onion
Barn. Have I left
This, in planning language, is called a “superblock.” It
is Weston’s Central Park.
What is infrastructure? Who wants it or needs it?
A quick tour of town just this week showed several types of
infrastructure in several places. There were significant clusters
of street lights at the town hall-school complex.
There are four
intersections with traffic lights and one with a “blinker.” We’ve
got bridges, one under repair and one waiting in the wings for its
So Weston is not what you would call a “bustling metropolis”
with a downtown and an “other side of the track” neighborhood.
There are no tracks. When you have no
infrastructure capable of
handling higher densities, developers will go elsewhere.
One kind of infrastructure that Weston has is a road
system. In fact, as the Town Plan rewrite gets started, one of
the first considerations should be how our road system is
and its prospects for the future. Road drainage is a
concern. Run-off in Weston eventually makes its way to Long
Island Sound. So we try to keep catch basins
and storm sewers
clear of silt.
There are two north-south State highways. Major and minor
Town roads meander east and west. And then there are private, dead end
streets. Most are paved but some are
Part of Weston’s charm, I have always thought, was how careful
the community has always been at keeping up the fine condition of its
roads. Weston is, if nothing else, neat.
One kind of infrastructure that Weston does not have is
sewers. That is why Weston maintains a system of large lot
development, with effluent disposed of parcel by parcel. Although
we do have a tertiary treatment plant on School Road, it is designed
for school use only, and its maintenance and upkeep are in the school
The original Town Plan of 1969 envisioned town and school
activity where they are today. The Plans of 1987 and 2000
reinforced centralization of municipal activities.
Infrastructure improvements in this next town plan should
include investment in alternative energy within the boundaries of an
“energy improvement district.” Such a district
the schools campus and town facilities.
This would be a bold first step.
Density is destiny.
Weston has 500 people per square mile. That’s 10,000
living on 20 square miles in the woods. Almost every piece of
land is spoken for. Whether by human
homeowners or by other
natural creatures resident in the vast, permanent open spaces in town.
In contrast, human density teems in a place such as Hong
Over 6,900,000 live in the 425 square miles of that port city.
That comes to more than 16,000 people per
The history of Weston during the last few hundred years has been
documented. Our form of government is the New England Town
Meeting. Hong Kong and its port have played a vital role in
China’s relationship with the rest of the world. Its governance
had long been feudal. Then it became a colony and part of the
British Empire. In 1997 it
became a largely autonomous part of
That autonomy was only agreed to last for a minimum of 50
Will Weston still be free in 2047? Will town meeting government
and a two-party system prevail much
longer in our town? Thinking
globally, I would answer my own question with a resounding “yes,” for
The first is that a lack of infrastructure, whether sewers,
or train tracks, makes us a non-starter in the larger economic
picture. Our “land capability” is nil.
Reason number two is that we are not foolish. No matter
Westonites disagree about small matters and money, we all recognize
that this training ground for the
next generation of leaders and
contributors to society must be nurtured and protected.
That is why the next Town Plan revision is so important.
Ironically, the next Plan must cover the years 2010 to
Calling it a “2020 Vision” for Weston sounds catchy and right!
This is our first Plan written in the 21st century. It
appropriate time for Weston to reexamine its goals. I am not sure
myself about some of them any more!
For example, as the “basic goals” I would only state four this
time. The first encompasses several of the older Plan’s
goals. It is: “RENEW: Weston, a residential
community, should renew its compact with nature and dedicate itself to
supporting the natural water cycle.”
The second goal for the new Plan should be: “IMPROVE
infrastructure and its maintenance to minimize run-off waste and
Goal number three links the voice of planning with the work of
Building Committee and the Global Warming Committee. “MAXIMIZE
efficient use of limited natural resources
in a time of climate
change: make the centralized school-town complex energy
This is where the Planning and Zoning Commission takes
part of work towards a new Plan, a study of feasibility for an energy
improvement district would fit right in!
The study could also
recommend suitable attendant technology.
Efficiency and economy are ways to MINIMIZE the human
In the new Plan we must find ways to reuse land and buildings and
resources. And recycle!
A legend for a land use map follows conventions. Land use
for Weston are primarily yellow, green and blue, with just a dash of
commercial red at the Center and at
Cobb’s Mill Inn.
And black. Black is used to represent
Weston that means roads. Thicker or thinner, in double strands or
even greater, planning maps are careful to place
Dotted lines are road connections planned for the future.
All you need to look at is a town map of roads and immediately
tell where you are. Only Weston looks like Weston from the
air! North of Godfrey Road is forest, the deepest of deep green.
Yellow is for low density residential properties. In Town
2000, this equaled 56% of all acreage in town. Second in area was
green, at 23%. Green space is of different
uses, such as Aspetuck Land Trust Property, are one shade of
green. Active uses, such as Morehouse Farm Park, are a different
tone of green.
Another 15% of our acreage was either undeveloped or
undevelopable. The aforementioned roads comprised 4%.
Public and semi-public land uses are shades of blue. In
this includes Town Hall, the Fire Department, Library, Transfer
Station, Public Works as well as school
property and churches.
These uses comprised the remaining 2% of total acreage.
Some colors not seen on a land use map of Weston are purple and
browns. Purple is the traditional color representing industrially
classified property. An example of industry
might be a
factory. Interestingly, in the 19th Century, Weston had a
functioning axe tool factory and a toy factory!
Brown is the color of higher density housing. Should
include this in the new Plan? Only if we plan to build the
necessary infrastructure, sewers and public water supply, and risk
changing the character of our town!
When it rains, it pours.
There is a science behind the weather events we’ve been having, and
their effects. Besides the fashionable explanation of global
warming. In addition to increased run-off
caused by bigger homes
and mounting coverage of paved areas.
Who can forget the graphic horror of Hurricane Katrina? So many
families and individuals and animals engulfed in the wet sorrow of that
disaster. But let us stop and think
for just a bit.
What was the real bottom line awful part of Katrina? For me, it
was the knowledge that the very same thing could and probably will
happen again. I had not really understood
that New Orleans was
constructed below sea level prior to the storm.
How is this related to Weston? The flood plains in town are
mapped. Planning and Zoning presides over regulations controlling
development in these wet areas. But like
New Orleans, much of
Weston was developed prior to any zoning, subdivision, or Federal
Emergency Management Administration (F.E.M.A.) edicts.
In reviewing F.E.M.A. grant programs, one stands out. It is
“pre-disaster mitigation.” This is a planning program that sets
in motion, at all levels of government, the effort to
structures out of harm’s way.
Funds to elevate houses, pay for hydrologic and hydraulic studies, and
pay for storm water management projects come through F.E.M.A.
Qualifying for government funding, however, is not easy. The
available funds don’t go very far, and most projects down our way don’t
So it is ever more important to make our flood management regulations
as strong as possible, and try to prevent disasters if we can!
So cooperation among public and private sectors is the first building
block for a happy financial future.
Attention to detail in budget making is the second building block, in
my opinion. Lastly, wise land use planning is the capstone.
After all, keeping Weston Weston is the goal. These three factors
should guarantee us a happy future.
But we always must be prepared to ask tough questions. Such as
explanation of the cost-benefit calculations used to justify
expenditures of public funds. This kind of
question will be front
and center at the League of Women Voters of Weston’s “Speak Up” in
2009. Whatever the results of last Tuesday’s elections, there
will be at least one
new voice there to stand and address the questions.
Weston’s budget process may reach a climax at the Board of Finance
Public Hearing on March 31, 2009, which is held shortly before the
Annual Town Budget Meeting,
scheduled for April 20, 2009.
Westonites who may not be fully up to date on the community’s financial
position, and that means most of us, should use this opportunity to
grill the Board of Finance.
What is Weston’s situation? Is the General Fund surplus as high
as it was last year? Has the latest town-wide revaluation of
property shifted the tax burden from large
homes to small ones, or from
new ones to older structures?
Is Weston’s Grand List shrinking?
C.I.A. World Fact Book:
ANOTHER SOURCE: SIERRA CLUB ACTIVISTS*:
is a network of Sierra Club activists who support a comprehensive
approach to environmentalism within the Sierra Club. We support Sierra
Club policies and principles with the exception of current Sierra Club
U.S. population policy, which we believe is inadequate in addressing
U.S. overpopulation. A comprehensive approach to environmentalism must
include effective action for population stabilization in the United
Currently Sierra Club policies call for stabilizing U.S.
population but do not address the combined impacts of mass migration
and birth rates on U.S. population growth.
All-Time Low; Teen birth rate also falls to record low
By Robert Longley, About.com
See More About:u.s.
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
Written by Brian Gioiele
Friday, November 21, 2008
The town is required to maintain drainage culverts, not replace them,
even in areas where nearby properties endure periodic flooding,
according to a newly established policy.
The Board of Selectmen on Thursday, Nov. 6, approved the final wording
of the new policy on culvert replacement on town roads, a move stemming
from the recent rash of requests from
residents asking the town to
examine specific areas of flooding in town.
According to the new policy, the town is “under no obligation, legal or
otherwise, to replace existing culverts” — an opinion town leaders
received this past summer from Town Counsel Ken Bernhard.
The policy does state that the town will “cooperate with residents in
order to determine the nature and location of the drainage problem.”
Property owners may work with the town to replace culverts, according
to the policy, if the project receives approval from the selectmen and
has been properly vetted by the town engineer, public works director,
and police chief.
“The purpose of this policy is to establish rules for private property
owners,” said Selectman Glenn Major. “It spells out what their
expectations about the culverts should be.”
But that was little consolation for one couple at Thursday’s meeting.
The Fischers, who live on Deep Wood Road, are among a handful of
property owners in that stretch who have
experienced four flooding
situations in the past two years.
“It defies any test of fairness,” said Barry Fischer. “It’s hard to
come to terms with — that this is a town road but the town won’t take
responsibility for it.”
Town Engineer John Conte, also present Thursday, told the selectmen the
culvert in that area was built according to town standards and was not
damaged. He then offered
recommendations that would help alleviate the
flooding, but the work would be at the property owners’ expense...
Please search the Weston FORUM archives for the remainder of this story.
By TOM WOLFE
Published: September 27, 2008 (we only saw it today!)
Be aware that your correspondent is merely bringing you the news when
he reports how many people have besieged the author of “The Bonfire of
the Vanities” over the past week with the question, “Where does this
leave the Masters of the 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
area in country
August 12, 2008
REGION -- The U.S. economy may be struggling as a whole, but Fairfield
County residents still have money -- and lots of it. In fact, the
region is the richest in the country.
It may not be equally distributed among all its residents, but the
Bridgeport-Norwalk-Stamford metropolitan area had the highest average
total income per resident at $80,192 in 2007 --
up from $74,281 in
2006. The 8 percent increase in per capita personal income also topped
the national average increase of 6.2 percent.
The figures are according to data released last week by the U.S. Bureau
of Economic Analysis.
Fairfield County retained the top spot, while Naples-Marco Island,
Fla., was second, and San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif., was third.
The national per capita personal income (total income divided by number
of residents) in 2007 was $38,632, less than half of Fairfield
County's. In Connecticut, Hartford ($47,641) was the
county and ranked 17th among the U.S.'s 363 metropolitan areas.
Connecticut was the highest-earning state with an average of $54,117 --
40 percent above the national average. New Jersey, Massachusetts, New
York and Maryland followed Connecticut
as the richest state.
Mississippi was the lowest-earning state at $28,845...
Please search the Norwalk HOUR for the remainder of this story.
Economy is no drag on vacancies
By Peter Healy
Article Launched: 08/05/2008 02:42:39 AM EDT
As developers work on grandiose plans for projects that might attract
the next UBS AG or Royal Bank of Scotland to Stamford, the city's
office availability rate has remained virtually flat
Please search the ADVOCAT archives for the remainder of this story.
to our state
Article Launched: 07/12/2008 02:39:30 AM EDT
Get ready for some competitive congressional races in Connecticut soon
after the 2020 Census. That's the time officials say the state is
likely to lose one of its five remaining U.S. House
seats - we
originally had six - and with it one of its seven electoral votes.
The state showed growth over the past year that could charitably be
called "anemic." The population rose 0.19 percent in the past year, the
equivalent of adding about 6,500 people. In a
state of almost 3.5
million, that's almost like going backward.
A multigenerational trend is emptying out the Northeast and filling up
the West, specifically places like Arizona, Colorado and Nevada. Those
states stand to pick up the congressional seats,
and the national
clout, that Connecticut and its neighbors appear on track to lose...
Please search the ADVOCATE archives for the remainder of this story.
from State Data Center at UCONN...
By Kate King, Special Correspondent
Article Launched: 07/11/2008 01:00:00 AM EDT
Fairfield County saw a small increase in population despite a drop
statewide, according to census figures released yesterday.
Stamford, Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien and Westport all saw minor
increases, according to the data. Norwalk posted a decline of 0.1
percent. But the statewide picture isn't promising, experts say,
pointing to a shrinking work force, loss of jobs, an aging population
and a potential reduction in state representation in Washington, D.C.
"This population growth is consistent with our slow growth in the
recent past," said Lisa Mercurio, director of the Business Council of
Fairfield County. "New England as a whole has been
growing more slowly
than the rest of the U.S."
The population in Connecticut rose 0.19 percent over the last year,
according to the census data. Connecticut's population growth is
the eighth lowest in the nation, according the report.
Nevada had the
highest growth rate since 2006 at 2.9 percent, and Rhode Island had the
lowest at minus 0.36 percent.
Within Connecticut, Milford's population grew the most, by 532 people.
Bridgeport showed the biggest population decline, losing 252 people
over the past year...
Please search the ADVOCATE archives for the remainder of this story.
Uncomfortable Answers to
Questions on the Economy
By PETER S. GOODMAN
Published: July 19, 2008
You have heard that Fannie and Freddie, their gentle names
notwithstanding, may cripple the financial system without a large
infusion of taxpayer money. You have gleaned that jobs are
disappearing, housing prices are plummeting, and paychecks 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.
boasts highest GDP
By Elizabeth Kim, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 07/20/2008 02:31:14 AM EDT
Call it a triumph of brains over brawn.
The region consisting of Stamford, Bridgeport and Norwalk has the
highest average gross domestic product per capita in the country,
according to a new economic study from the Federal
Reserve Bank of New
In their report, "Human Capital and Economic Activity in Urban
America," economists Jaison Abel and Todd Gabe cited the 20 highest
average gross domestic product per capita of
metropolitan areas from
2001 to 2005. They based their list on data provided by the U.S. Bureau
of Economic Analysis.
The Stamford, Bridgeport and Norwalk area, considered a contiguous
employment zone, had an average GDP per capita of $74,261. In second
place was the San Jose, Calif., area with
$66,708. The greater New York
area, which includes northern New Jersey, came in 15th, with an average
Please search the ADVOCATE archives for the remainder of this story.
Report: Westport Commercial Real
Estate Takes Hit
July 11, 2008
Reflecting tough economic times, the Westport office vacancy rate
stayed at around 7.5 percent for the third period in a row but
availability rates went up to 12.5 percent as of July 1, a
Westport commercial real estate broker said today...
Please search WestportNow archives for the remainder of this story.
Towns can’t be stricter with big
subdivisions; Windsor ‘Lord’s Woods’ case sets statewide precedent
By Alex Wood, Manchester Journal Inquirer
Published: Friday, September 5, 2008 11:36 PM EDT
In a Windsor case with statewide significance, the state Supreme Court
ruled this week that local planning and zoning commissions can’t impose
stricter standards on large subdivisions
than they do on small ones...
Please search the Manchester Journal-Inquirer archives for the remainder of this story.
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?
Written by Patricia Gay
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
School expansion, adequate municipal septic facilities, and the need
for active recreational areas.
When the town of Weston put together its Plan of Conservation and
Development (POCD) 10 years ago, those were three major public concerns.
But are they the same concerns people in town have today?
That’s what land use experts are hoping to find out at a special
planning workshop being held Thursday, Feb. 26, at the Weston High
School cafeteria. The purpose is to gather public
input on land use
issues for development of the new plan.
The workshop will be moderated by Glenn Chalder of Planimetrics, an
Avon-based planning and consulting firm. “Ultimately, the new plan of
development should reflect the town’s vision,
and you need to know what
that vision is,” Mr. Chalder told members of the Planning and Zoning
Commission at a recent meeting...
Please search the Weston FORUM archives for the remainder of this story.
Public nixes idea of expanded
district in Weston
Written by Patricia Gay
Thursday, 23 July 2009 00:00
A large majority of residents attending a town plan workshop were
against the concept of forming a village district in the center of
Harold Halpin, a 16-year resident of Weston and member of the Weston
Village District Coalition, appeared before the Planning and Zoning
Commission Monday night, July 20, to discuss a multi-zoned, village
district plan that would allow for a mix of residential, municipal,
religious, and business uses in the town center.
The town is currently zoned residential, with one exception — the
Neighborhood Shopping District, which houses Weston Center.
Mr. Halpin asked P&Z to consider incorporating a village district
into the town’s 10-year Plan of Conservation and Development, which the
commission is in the midst of reviewing and updating.
He said the district would be a good thing for Weston and give the town
flexibility to add things like medical offices, sidewalks and cafes.
“The idea is not to turn the center into a commercial district, but to
protect the distinct character of the town while adding some more
services,” Mr. Halpin said.
Another benefit he said was that land values within the district would
increase — if and when residents decided to sell.
P&Z member Don Saltzman did not care for the idea. “It’s too broad
a concept. It’s difficult to encumber people’s houses and I don’t
understand why churches are included,” he said.
Several residents with homes within the proposed contours of the
district said they did not want to risk someone next to them putting up
a commercial structure.
Others who spoke against the idea said it was unfair that houses within
the district could benefit and profit by selling their homes for
And several other others said they wanted Weston to stay as it was,
without more development...
Please search the Weston FORUM archives for the remainder of this story.
Read it now!
water crisis will grow worse if action not taken
By Judy Benson
Published on 4/4/2009
New London - Friday's intermittent rain and dense fog suited the
occasion: the first of two days of a conference featuring scholarly
talks about water.
The conference, “Water Scarcity & Conflict,” focused on a commodity
many Americans take for granted and often waste, but one that is
increasingly the source of tensions and supply
problems across the
”I think there is a water crisis, and it's getting worse, not better,”
said Peter Gleick, a leading expert on the sustainable use of water,
who gave the opening address. Gleick is co-founder
and president of The
Pacific Institute, a nonpartisan policy research group focusing on
environment and development issues. He is also a member of the National
Academy of Science
and a fellow of the American Association for the
Advancement of Science.
Gleick noted there is good news about water - Americans consume less
than 20 years ago, for example, thanks largely to water-conserving
toilets and a shift away from industries
that use large amounts...
Please search the New London DAY archives for the remainder of this story.
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
By STEVEN ERLANGER
June 11, 2009
PARIS — Every president of France’s Fifth Republic has had his
Pharaonic project, by which he believes he will leave his mark on the
capital and French culture.
François Mitterrand, a fierce Socialist known as the Sphinx,
left the new French national library and, to continue the Ozymandias
theme, the controversial glass pyramid in the Louvre. Jacques Chirac
left the Musée du Quai Branly, an anthropological museum, with
an argumentative design by the French architect Jean Nouvel.
President Nicolas Sarkozy, no slouch, wants nothing more than to leave
behind “Le Grand Paris.” In more than a year of discussions, there have
been some spectacular ideas and drawings by 10 teams of famous
architects, drawn by the president’s invitation to reimagine Paris as a
city integrated with its suburbs and responsible in its environmental
Please search the NYTIMES archives for the remainder of this story.
OTHER PLANNING RESOURCES
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:
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.
Intermediate School open September 2005, Weston High School doubled in size, "opened" May '06
PRELUDE: Where this all began - the history (1995
through current) of sewage disposal discussion; ARCHITECTURAL
HISTORY of three (3) different architect/planners' plans for Weston's
...Once confronted with the choice of school expansion and sewers, the
Town said a loud "NO" in May 2000 - and so the "Select Committee" (with
the longest title in the world) was formed; report from State
Department of Education on school population forecast given.
WORKBOOK:The Committee goes to work...supplied with documents by the
then Town Administrator; Select Committee gets extensions...
EFFLUENT: What is the status of septic generation in the heart of
Weston? How can this problem be treated without sewers?
TREATMENT LOCATION...CT D.E.P. lays down the law; upgrades needed
to existing systems before any remedy can be permitted for tertiary
SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION/EXPANSION: Unofficial minutes
for School Building project (as far back as May 2000--in reverse
chronological order), by "About Town"--we did not miss one Building
Committee/School Building Committee meeting since the Referendum of
November 15, 2001) until after the completion of construction of the Referendum project;
COMMITTEE: with additional representation from Select Committee
(alternatives to sewers), Board of Education facilties sub-committee,
Superintendent of Schools and design critic, the Building Committee
shoulders the task of administrating the early phases of work on school
expansion. Together, these 11 individuals make up the "School
Building Committee." As design work progresses, a Construction
Management firm and an Owner's Representative come on board to
administrate/supervise the November 15, 2001 Referendum work.
Architects of the Plan that won the Referendum of Nov. 15, 2001.
Previous description of "alternatives" (no $$ here). Results of
Adjourned Town Meeting machine vote that cut short planning prior to
Referendum of Nov. 15, 2001 HERE... during the summer of 2001, planning
for school referendum continues...big meeting at Weston Library.
SUB-COMMITTEE...begun on December 4, 2001...design detailing now held at
end of School Building Committee meetings.
Early design timeline (not current official document).
CONCEPTS: For historical reference - the ideas of the second
architect/planner:The Plan for school construction put on shelf as
septic issue and "sticker shock" - high bonding cost - combine to bring
the two separate issue discussions together, and bring the school
improvement program to a temporary halt in February 2000.
What were O,R&L's "options" for school expansion?
JANUARY 18, 1995 (WESTPORT NEWS): On the left is the Town
describing the septic systems at the Schools; right is a suggested
to locate the tertiary treatment plant if such a solution is
"We may have room for expansion (on School Road), but it needs more
The School Road alternative ultimately worked out (Conservation had denied Town-preferred option at Bisceglie twice - second time March 2003).
#1, The Overture) FOUR CLASSROOMS:
We note that this first expansion took place in 1993-94 approx.
The Board of Education had reduced that proposed addition from 8 rooms
[including 4 finished and 4 unfinished] to 4 finished rooms only
over the recommendation of a committee representing Town Boards and
knowledgeable on the subject of real estate and growth--this was the
of time when Weston was ahead of its neighbors, having anticipated the
need for elementary capacity before other communities did.)
It was January
For those paying attention in January
1995, during the first go-round of "Joint School-Town Facilities
efforts, this information will not come as news. One Saturday
in Town Hall (shown above) at a "Joint... Committee" meeting, in
of 1995, the Town Engineer had news that was most
A member of the Building Committee is reported to have said that the
of Connecticut can "shut down the schools" if there is a problem with
old systems there.
D.E.P., according to the Town Engineer, wanted
to see a plan from the Town showing how it might deal with future
at the schools. His recommendation, if memory serves, was to
a tertiary treatment plant in Bisceglie Park or on School Road and no
make other improvements to the septic fields as required.
"There are no more
children"... was the cry mid-decade!
That winter finding out how many
children resided in our Town became an issue. It was smack in the
middle of the decade between U.S. Census of Population 1990 and what
to become "U.S. Census 2000" now completed (and getting out of date,
Demographers were projecting a continuation of dropping birth rates in
wealthy countries (as more women went to work during peak years of
State estimates prior
to that first Census of Children
The State of Connecticut estimate
for children under five years of age in Weston was, if memory serves,
in the range of 475 little persons. This was considered a big
at that time. A prior addition to Hurlbutt just completed was
occupied in the space of time of one school year!
Plan...still a data gap
But where was our plan--long range
or even short range?
At this time, a "Census of Children '95" in
behalf of the then Board of Selectmen was undertaken (by the author of
this "About Town" website).
As already noted above, the Hurlbutt
P.T.O. (and other P.T.O.'s, too) sent out the same census forms to
constituencies, and together, the Town and the School community, plus
from the Assessor's information as a secondary source, without
anybody, arrived at a number of children under the age of 5 years
in Weston in the summer of 1995--that number was 808.
as noted above, official demographers were estimating the same cohort
total only 475.
(NOTE: EXPANSION #2) New library at
Hurlbutt and new staff space connecting buildings at Hurlbutt
- "Core" building--or
some said, "Corridor Building",
- Conversion of old staff space to
well as new rooms created out of either too small or too large spaces
Weston Middle School.
- Also included in this effort was
of a new Board of Education Headquarters Building on School Road [at
site of the old portables/Weston UNION]--removing the Board of
from Weston Middle School, thus freeing up a whole wing, practically,
yet more teaching space).
tidal wave breaking...
Another slightly different yet similar
Town Census in 1997 showed only a minor downturn (but not continued
upward growth trend) in the numbers of children alive and well and
in Weston--just two years after the first Census of Children.
at this point did anyone truly recognize that a tidal wave of children
approaching the Weston School System. The Board of Selectmen
They called upon the architect-planner of the second school expansion
(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
Headquarters placed in the to-be converted Bus Garage --not as the Plan
was actually implemented--in its own, new building further up School
June '98: The
big meeting in Weston Middle
A noisy crowd in June 1998
rejected the quickly developed Board of Selectmen options, which first
identified the septic disposal problem for the general public.
they were soon enough!
It was at this point that "No Sewage
(or was it "No Sewers...") became a rallying cry. That "plant"
been suggested for either School Road or Bisceglie Park. In March
of 1999 the Board of Education was still looking for the "out of the
thinker, and selecting yet another architect-planner.
The community was
divided about how to approach the impending inundation of the
we build a new high school somewhere and convert the older buildings on
School Road to lower grades...or should we build a "3-4-5 school" on
and fill in wetlands, overcrowd the center of Town...or should we do
and wait for the storm to subside naturally? And there were more
to pick from, further fragmenting the population.
Back to the drawing
boards with a new planner...
Our version of the work of School Facilities Planners leading up to their
for a School Road campus plan--and then the plan itself plus visual
representations no longer online.
the new planner proposed what
the Town and School Board wanted to hear--that we could makes changes
school policy, rework roads and fields and manage to maintain
...the other shoe dropped--or was it shoes, plural?
for this reworking of our school system was expected to total
and second, we would probably need sewers in order to accommodate the
of new construction and pavement.
(NOTE: This is my
of the proposal--a more than standing-room only crowd in the high
auditorium voiced its displeasure with the idea for sewers.)
The sewage treatment
In the interim, the Planning and
Zoning Commission updated the Town Plan (as required by the State of
The Town Plan of Conservation and Development 2000 as adopted June 30,
2000 is now recommending off-campus school
development (if necessary to avoid installing infrastructure such as
or public water supply pipes).
appointed by the Board of Selectmen to find a way to deal with effluent
from the school complex without necessitating sewerage. They then
created sub-committees with added membership, to look into various
aspects of the issue.
naturally, it was time for a
new town census--as the U.S.
Census of Population and Housing 2000 was not ready in a timely
to see the Town/School Census 2000 questions.
be continued...did you save the
"No Sewage Plant" signs from a few years ago? Are the arguments
and against tertiary treatment (as opposed to sewer line to Norwalk,
and con) going to be revived? Any new ideas?
And it was time to do the Census of Children
again. This time the Town of Weston undertook the project by
itself and apparently made sure everyone answered the questionnaire!
Town Seal designed by Blake Hampton.
This is an unauthorized publication
of the FIRST MAILING for the Weston Census 2000 form, designed and uploaded
as of October 14, 2000, intended only for informational purposes.
A new form has been sent out by the Town of Weston to the households not
responding to the October mailing (an unofficial version here shown below).
This version below was not intended as a substitute for the official document...IF
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
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
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
|Would you use before
school childcare at Hurlbutt?
childcare at Hurlbutt? y/n
6. Enter the
month and year of birth for all members of your household over the age
|Those over 19 yrs of age
A history of the
Weston Town Census program is no longer online.