Story in 6-17-14 Stamford ADVOCATE about Connecticut "best towns" for, in this case, kids.  Weston, which remains nameless on map, scored highest in the South Western Region??? 


Hold onto you hats - by January 2015, The boundaries of Regional Planning Organizations might look like the map on the right below...

Whither or wither CT?  Strategic thinking,1999.  What's new in the C&D Plan 2013-2018?

OPM releases it 2013-2019 Conservation and Development Plan:  Map Number One A Combo?
Public Hearing - June 28, 2012 from 5:30pm to 8pm receiving comments from the public:  Read the draft here


So what does OPM mean by "Priority Development?"
What does the red-brownish color stand for?  Go to the legend for this map - does this mean an area of potential development?

Same part of the   CT map:  Different legend
Do you see a correlation between the red-brown areas in the "Priority Development" map and the blank areas in this one, "Priority Conservation areas?"


The "maps" this time are unofficial -  so Weston may be shown as a priority for both preservation and development but...


Due to the desire of many for a more bottom-up approach to the State C&D Plan revision process, OPM proceeded to implement the new cross-acceptance process as described in its January 2011 report to the Continuing Committee. Following the report’s submission, OPM conducted initial outreach workshops over the next several months, which are summarized in Attachment B. OPM incorporated its findings from these workshops in the initial Draft 2013-2018 C&D Plan that was submitted to the Continuing Committee in December 2011 for a required 90-day review.

From January through March 2012, OPM proceeded to implement the plan comparison phase of the cross-acceptance process. During this period, OPM conducted fourteen regional workshops and various coordinating meetings with state agencies, which are summarized in Attachment C. The Continuing Committee opted not to comment during this early review period.

In total, 135 municipalities and 14 Regional Planning Organizations (RPOs) participated in the voluntary plan comparison phase. The participating municipalities and RPOs reviewed their respective plans of conservation and development to determine the extent to which they were compatible with the planning policies of the initial Draft C&D Plan. That effort, combined with input from affected state agencies, provided OPM with general Conservation & Development Policies: A Plan for Connecticut consensus in support of the policies listed under each Growth Management Principle. The outcome of the plan comparison phase provided OPM with the basis for producing this revised Draft C&D Plan for public review and comment.

The public comment period will run from May through September 2012, and OPM will coordinate with RPOs to schedule public hearings in each of the state’s fourteen planning regions. In addition to the statutory public hearing requirements, any municipality that wishes to continue its participation in the voluntary cross-acceptance process may request, through its RPO or other designated regional cross-acceptance facilitator, an informal workshop to discuss any element(s) of the Draft C&D Plan. Such workshops are intended to provide local and regional officials with additional opportunities to address any unresolved issues or to seek clarification on the Draft C&D Plan before progressing to the plan negotiation phase of the cross-acceptance process.

Upon conclusion of the public hearings in September 2012, OPM will begin scheduling plan negotiation meetings when requested by an RPO or other designated regional cross-acceptance facilitator on behalf of its municipalities. These meetings are intended to address any remaining unresolved issues before the regional and state negotiating entities set out to draft an optional Statement of Agreements and Disagreements for inclusion in OPM’s recommended Draft C&D Plan that will be submitted to the Continuing Committee prior to the start of the 2013 legislative session. The inclusion of such statements in the recommended Draft C&D Plan is intended to provide state legislators with information pertaining to their constituent municipalities’ level of support for the Draft 2013-2018 State C&D Plan when it is considered for adoption by the General Assembly.

Connecticut Institute for the 21st Century warned of our becoming a "cul de sac" - read selected pages here.

The Aquarion Water Company in CT (light blue)

It's official: CT is a federal disaster area
By Daniela Altimari  on September 3, 2011 12:20 AM

President Obama has signed the Connecticut disaster declaration, the White House announced late Friday night.

"The President today declared a major disaster exists in the State of Connecticut and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by Tropical Storm beginning on August 27, 2011, and continuing,'' said the statement emailed by the White House press office just after midnight.
"Federal funding is available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by Tropical Storm Irene in Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, and New London Counties.Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide."

Keep an eye on NYC Mayoral contest 2013...

Regretting Move, Bank May Return to Manhattan
June 8, 2011

Fifteen years ago, New York City’s reputation as an international financial center was called into question when the giant Swiss bank UBS moved its North American headquarters to the Connecticut suburbs, where it built the largest trading floor in the world.

Now, though, UBS is having buyer’s remorse. It turns out that a suburban location has become a liability in recruiting the best and brightest young bankers, who want to live in Manhattan or Brooklyn, not in Stamford, Conn., which is about 35 miles northeast of Midtown. The firm has also discovered that it would be better to be closer to major clients in New York City.

As a result, UBS is seriously considering a reverse migration that would bring its investment banking division and up to 2,000 bankers and traders back to Wall Street and a new skyscraper at the rebuilt World Trade Center, according to real estate executives and city officials.

“They just can’t hire the bankers and traders they need,” said one landlord who has spoken with UBS but requested anonymity so as not to alienate a potential tenant.

The bank is also looking at several Midtown locations, and Connecticut is sure to wage a fierce battle to keep UBS in Stamford, where it is the largest private employer and the biggest taxpayer.

A final decision is perhaps months away, and any move would not take place until 2015.

But over the last week, UBS has engaged in negotiations with the developer Larry Silverstein over the terms of a potential financial deal at 3 World Trade Center, an 80-story office tower that he plans to build at 175 Greenwich Street. The return of UBS would be a boon to New York, which in past decades often suffered from corporate defections that were fueled by a sense that computers and telecommunications had made a Manhattan location more of a luxury than a necessity.

The move would be the latest sign that New York has regained its allure as a caldron for the young and creative. Six months ago, Google paid nearly $2 billion for a large building just north of the meatpacking district, in the same Manhattan neighborhood where many of its employees live.

“A key piece of the mayor’s economic strategy has been to make New York City a place people want to be,” Deputy Mayor Robert K. Steel said, “and more than ever the city is the ideal location for any company, like UBS, that succeeds by attracting a talented, motivated work force.”

A UBS trader in his 20s said that like many of his peers at the firm, he would have preferred a job in New York City, where he lives.

“I mean, it’s annoying,” said the trader, who asked that his name not be used because he was not authorized to speak about the possible relocation. “I take Metro-North. I live pretty close to Grand Central, so it’s not a terrible commute. But it’s not ideal.” The trip takes about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how many stops the train makes.

He added that “the bank’s plan is to move to New York, but it’s mostly to be closer to clients.”

UBS has hired the real estate brokerage firm CB Richard Ellis to explore new space. A UBS deal would also be a vindication of a multibillion-dollar effort to rebuild the World Trade Center complex. After the terrorist attack on the trade center, there was widespread debate over the future of the city’s financial center downtown. Since then, the residential population there has swelled.

Last month, Condé Nast, publisher of The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Glamour, signed a deal to be the anchor tenant of 1 World Trade Center, the signature skyscraper at the northwest corner of the site.

Mr. Silverstein has the right to build three towers along Greenwich Street. The first one is already under construction, and the city has pledged to take space in it. But Mr. Silverstein has long sought a large financial tenant for what is known as Tower 3, which features five trading floors at the base, and will be built before Tower 2 is. A possible UBS relocation, which was first reported by Bloomberg News last week, would be a major blow to Stamford, where a quarter of the office space is vacant.

Michael Pavia, the mayor of Stamford, said UBS executives have been noncommittal, saying they have “no firm plans, nothing that they can report at this time.”

He said he and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a former mayor of Stamford, “are committed to keeping UBS here.”

Catherine Smith, Connecticut’s economic development commissioner, said: “We just want to make sure that Connecticut has a fair shot. We love having them in the state and hope they’ll stay. But you don’t always win these competitive battles.”

Mr. Pavia said UBS had about 3,000 employees in Stamford, down from more than 4,000 a couple of years ago. The bank, which leases but does not own any space in Stamford, is not expected to move all its employees out of town.

UBS issued a statement saying that “we routinely evaluate our space allocation as these leases expire and/or space becomes available.”

UBS, then known as Swiss Bank, touched off cross-border recriminations and municipal hand-wringing in 1994, when it announced plans to move from its two Manhattan locations, one in Midtown and the other in the financial district, to Stamford. New York City, still in the throes of a deep recession, was already hurting after the defection of MasterCard to Westchester County.

City officials and real estate executives feared that New York was about to endure another wave of corporate departures to less-expensive locales in Connecticut and New Jersey and beyond. Some experts suggested that financial firms no longer needed to be in Manhattan and close to Wall Street because of the spectacular growth of computerized trading and telecommunications.

Connecticut sweetened the pot for UBS by dangling what was supposed to be a $120 million package of tax breaks and interest-free loans, although the actual value of the incentives turned out to be substantially less. The bank erected a trading floor the size of two football fields, packed with more than 5,000 computer monitors.

At the time, Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani charged that Connecticut had broken a 1991 nonaggression treaty among New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, in which state leaders promised not to use special incentives to steal jobs from one another.

New York City officials took out large advertisements in Connecticut newspapers condemning the subsidies as too costly to taxpayers. They vowed to begin wooing Connecticut firms, a largely empty threat.

“If you start a border war, you don’t really give us much choice but to fight back,” Deputy Mayor John Dyson said in 1994. “New Yorkers are not widely considered to be patty-cakes.”

U.S. Trust, Goldman Sachs, Chase, UBS and other financial institutions moved at least some of their operations across the Hudson River to New Jersey, although Goldman Sachs equity traders revolted in 2002 when the investment bank tried to relocate them to an expensive new tower in Jersey City, a mere mile from its Lower Manhattan headquarters.

Goldman slowly moved other employees over to Jersey City and then built a new headquarters in Manhattan, across West Street from the World Trade Center site.

Familiar name from land preservation efforts some time ago...
Environmental watchdog group says state needs better data

Christine Woodside
November 22, 2010

Connecticut's environmental watchdog panel says the state does not know how much open space or wildlife habitat it has and is relying on outdated data to make critical decisions about preservation or development.

The state Council on Environmental Quality, in a draft of its legislative proposals for next year, says the Department of Environmental Protection is off by tens of thousands of acres in estimates of open space totals and how far the state is toward its goal preservation goal.

The open space acreage figures are crucial to how the state distributes bonding funds to help municipalities buy land.

"The DEP's estimates of its own land are pretty accurate," said Karl Wagener, executive director of the CEQ, in an interview last week. "The DEP does have a good grip on what it owns.

But when it comes to municipal parks and preserves, non-profit-owned preserves, and land protected by land trusts and through easements, the estimates that the DEP puts out are off by tens of thousands of acres, he said.

At the hearing in Hartford on the draft proposals, several advocacy groups went on record backing the goal of creating a more complete databse. "Creating a volunteer recording system for land trusts is really vital," said Sandy Breslin, director of governmental affairs for Audubon Connecticut, the state office of National Audubon.

Breslin then asked the CEQ to add another database idea to its report: "We call for a statewide natural resources inventory." She said after the hearing that when it comes out during hearings for a developer's proposal that the land involved, for instance, is habitat for a rare bird, there is no time for officials to react.

There are state databases of habitats for endangered and "special concern" species, but not for a wide range of species and areas, Breslin said. That makes it very hard for officials in small towns to know what they are dealing with when a development proposal comes in.

The DEP established five years ago that Connecticut has 12 threatened wildlife habitats. More than half of those include wet areas like marshes and bogs. The DEP also made a list of 25 threats to the key habitats.

"If you're trying to build a highway site, or a wind project, how do you do it without destroying habitat?" Breslin  said. "It usually comes up at a time when the clock is ticking. We have pockets of that information, but we don't have the depth of information."

Similarly, the state doesn't have a good handle on preserved land, Wagener said. When Gov. M. Jodi Rell announced the release of $10.4 million in new state grants to help cities and towns buy open space, she put the amount preserved so far at 488,822 acres--well short of the goal of 673,210 acres be 2023.

Wagener said that figure, based on DEP data, probably underestimates the amount of preserved open space by a significant amount because it doesn't include some preserved acreage not owned by the state.

About a decade ago, the DEP started going to town halls, one by one, to improve the calculation of open space totals. That project, known as POSM for Protected Open Space Mapping, has included newer protected acreages from 148 out of 169 towns as of last summer.

CEQ reviewed some of that data last year and concluded it did not accurately reflect the total amount of preserved land, Wagener said.

"When it's done it will be out of date," he said. "We'll have better numbers than we have now, but what we need is some sort of simple system," which would allow continuous adding of land acquisition to a central list.

He added, "We used to use those figures in our own report on the state's environment, but if you go to our annual report for the past year you'll see we quit reporting on how much we have preserved."

The DEP acknowledged that habitat databases could improve and that accurate information is "critical to protecting natural resources today and in planning for the future," said Dennis Schain, the department's spokesman.

He added, "DEP has been working to improve our databases and the availability of information on both of these topics. We are also interested in ideas others may have on how to best capture and make available in the most useful form information on open space and listed species."

Despite the confusion about how much open space is actually preserved in the state, the CEQ said open space preservation efforts still are behind schedule. It recommends in the report that the state act more quickly to buy land. They suggest $20 million next year to help towns buy open space of about 11,000 per year.

The CEQ's draft proposals also include:

    * State bonding of $130 million to continue improving water quality in Long Island Sound, which has a large dead zone at its western end in the summer.
    * Farmland preservation funds of $10 million so that the state can help farmers keep their farms by paying them to declare the land farmland, never to be sold. The CEQ says the state should preserve 2,000 farm acres each year in this way. Last year the total was 1,400 acres, which was double the previous year.
    * A state clean up contaminated drinking water wells, consolidating drinking water programs in one agency and use federal Superfund dollars.
    * Allowing owners of smaller tracts of land (under 25 acres) to declare it wildlife habitat and get a lower tax rate.
    * Requiring drivers of all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes to register them with the state.
    * Amending a state statute to require that everyone who could see a proposed cell tower from their homes be given notice of the proposal.
    * A ban on outdoor wood furnaces.
    * Requiring better training for volunteer wetlands board members in towns.

Sliding toward third-tier
Manchester Journal-Inquirer
Published: Saturday, July 12, 2008 12:07 PM EDT

Hartford was never a Boston or San Francisco. But it was once a decent and livable small city — as Providence and St. Paul are now.

You could say that, among small cities, it was second-tier.

It is slipping rapidly toward third-tier now.

That means something more than that fewer people from the suburbs will go to the Hartford Stage or the Atheneum. It means that it will be harder to attract business to Greater Hartford and harder to sell homes here.

There are real consequences to being third-tier.

The trend must be slowed. Slipping to third-tier, combined with the impact of a Wall Street based recession on the western part of the state, will put Connecticut in dire straits.

Hartford has been in decline for 30 years, maybe 40. The changing economies of cities, bad public policy, and sheer delusion have badly wounded it.

But now the Hartford region is in danger of being written off and forgotten. The perception that Hartford is a deeply unsafe and uncivilized city, which has sharpened in the last five years, is turning it into a place that people do not want to live in if they can help it. Or even visit.

Another recent blow to the region makes it seem third-tier. It could be the death blow to Greater Hartford.

It has to do with the airport.

At the very time when Bradley International Airport is being rebuilt, and the airport brought up to 21st-century standards, the airlines are going into a tailspin.

Bradley has, in recent days, lost its direct flights to Amsterdam, Los Angeles, and Denver, all acquired after much work and with much fanfare.

This is a significant setback, not only to Bradley, but to the region, and the hopes for economic development in the region.

Think about fuel cells.

Greater Hartford could be one of the world leaders of this technology. (Arguably, we are already a leader in knowledge.) But people need to be able to get here.

The state of Connecticut is always acting and investing after the fact — after the damage is done.

For example, some want the state to save the Mark Twain House as it saved the Old State House or to bolster the Atheneum.

And those places are treasures.

But the state needs to attract industry.

New industry.

And not just the movie industry.

It needs to look toward the future, and not just its past.

State government should be asking:

— What can we do to help with fuel cell innovation and the marketing of the region’s scientific and technical community?

— How can we strengthen Bradley?

— Can the governor help to entice some airline to make Hartford a hub, or mini-hub?

Maybe none of that is possible.

But let’s ask the questions.

If we can spend hundreds of billions on hotels and museums on the Hartford riverfront, we can surely spend some time and thought on attracting commerce and industry.

And we have to stop fiddling while Hartford burns.

Hartford needs three things, short-term.

It needs an infusion of cops. The state will have to pay. But it is worth it, on economic and humanitarian grounds.

Hartford needs lower taxes.

It needs fewer but new and refurbished schools.

With the energy crisis, small cities have a chance to make a comeback.

But for that they must be livable.

That means basics, like safety, schools, and neighborhoods, not new superstructures.

Long term? Hartford should be annexed by West Hartford, which has really become the central city of the region.

The state will have to pay for that too, in large measure. But it will be  cheaper than the new science center, and the result may be a sustainable city.

The time for bold action is now.

Not in five years.

Vernon, Manchester, and East Hartford sink or swim with Hartford.

But at the current rate, Greater Hartford will be a dead region in five years — Scranton without the charm.

We want to be Providence or St. Paul.

Or Hartford as it once was.

Introduction and Overview:  approved CT Plan of C&D 2004-2009

In accordance with Sections 16a-24 through 16a-33 of the Connecticut General Statutes, the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) is required to prepare a State plan of conservation and development on a recurring five-year cycle.    The plan serves as a statement of the development, resource management and public investment policies for the State.  The Plan is used as a framework for evaluating plans and proposals submitted to OPM for review through mandated review processes.

Specific requirements set forth in Section 16a-31 of the Connecticut General Statutes include the following:

1.   State agencies are directed to consider the Plan when they prepare agency plans.  In addition, agency prepared plans, when required by state or federal law, are to be submitted to the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) for a review of conformity with the Plan.

2.   State agencies are required to be consistent with the Plan when undertaking the following actions:

    a)   The acquisition of real property when the acquisition costs are in excess of one hundred thousand dollars;

    b)   The development or improvement of real property when the development costs are in excess of one hundred thousand  dollars;

    c)   The acquisition of public transportation equipment or facilities when the acquisition costs are in excess of one hundred  thousand dollars; and

    d)   The authorization of any state grant for an amount in excess of one hundred thousand dollars for the acquisition,   development, or improvement of real property or for the acquisition of public transportation equipment or facilities.

 3.   The Secretary of OPM submits to the State Bond Commission, prior to the allocation of any bond funds for any of the above actions, an advisory statement commenting on the extent to which such action conforms to the Plan of Conservation and Development. 

The Conservation and Development Policies Plan for Connecticut, 2004-2009

The Conservation and Development Policies Plan for Connecticut, 2004-2009 (C&D Plan) is comprised of two separate, yet equally important, components – the Plan text and the Locational Guide Map (see links below).  Both components include policies that guide the planning and decision-making processes of state government relative to:  (1) addressing human resource needs and development; (2) balancing economic growth with environmental protection and resource conservation concerns; and (3) coordinating the functional planning activities of state agencies to accomplish long-term effectiveness and economies in the expenditure of public funds.

The policies contained in the C&D Plan text provide the context and direction for state agencies to implement their plans and actions in a manner consistent with the following six Growth Management Principles (GMPs):

1)      Redevelop and Revitalize Regional Centers and Areas with Existing or Currently Planned Physical Infrastructure

2)      Expand Housing Opportunities and Design Choices to Accommodate a Variety of Household Types and Needs

3)      Concentrate Development Around Transportation Nodes and Along Major Transportation Corridors to Support the Viability of Transportation Options

4)      Conserve and Restore the Natural Environment, Cultural and Historical Resources, and Traditional Rural Lands

5)      Protect and Ensure the Integrity of Environmental Assets Critical to Public Health and Safety

6)      Promote Integrated Planning Across all Levels of Government to Address Issues on a Statewide, Regional and Local Basis

Municipalities and Regional Planning Organizations are also encouraged to consider these Growth Management Principles and must note any inconsistencies with the Plan when developing their own plans of conservation and development.

 The Locational Guide Map plays an important role in coordinating relevant state actions by providing a geographical interpretation of the state’s conservation and development policies.  The Map comprises the best available digital, standardized, statewide data for each policy’s definitional criteria.

Development Area Policies (In order of priority)

1) Regional Centers – Redevelop and revitalize the economic, social, and physical environment of the state’s traditional centers of industry and commerce.

2) Neighborhood Conservations Areas – Promote infill development and redevelopment in areas that are at least 80% built up and have existing water, sewer, and transportation infrastructure to support such development.

3) Growth Areas – Support staged urban-scale expansion in areas suitable for long-term economic growth that are currently less than 80% built up, but have existing or planned infrastructure to support future growth in the region.

4) Rural Community Centers – Promote concentration of mixed-use development such as municipal facilities, employment, shopping, and residential uses within a village center setting.   

Conservation Area Policies (In order of priority)

1) Existing Preserved Open Space – Support the permanent protection of public and quasi-public land dedicated for open space purposes.

2) Preservation Areas – Protect significant resource, heritage, recreation, and hazard-prone areas by avoiding structural development, except as directly consistent with the preservation value.

3) Conservation Areas – Plan for the long-term management of lands that contribute to the state’s need for food, water and other resources and environmental quality by ensuring that any changes in use are compatible with the identified conservation value.

4) Rural Lands – Protect the rural character of these areas by avoiding development forms and intensities that exceed on-site carrying capacity for water supply and sewage disposal, except where necessary to resolve localized public health concerns.

For a more detailed description of Locational Guide Map, please wait until July 15, 2005 for a link!  Please see links below for other data:

Greenways Plan:

Definitional Criteria:

Adopted Plan of C&D 2004-2009:

Old news:  These are comments taken into consideration by the Legislature when they chose to "reconsider" and then "pass temporarily" 5044 in 2004:

Approved Conservation and Development Policies Plan for Connecticut, a.k.a.

Legend for the C&D PLAN land use map below: