HVCEO - Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials
ADOPTED EFFECTIVE 7/1/2009
The regional plan shall be designed to promote with the greatest
efficiency and economy the coordinated development of its area of operation
and the general welfare and prosperity of its people - CT General Statutes 8-35a
CONTENTS AND POLICY SUMMARY
1-2 INTRODUCTION AND MAP OF THE FUTURE
1: INTRODUCTION TO PLAN AND REGION
CHAPTER 2: FUTURE GROWTH MAP
3-6 BUILD ADEQUATE INFRASTRUCTURE:
CHAPTER 3: WATER SUPPLIES AND WATER RESOURCES
4: WASTEWATER TREATMENT OPTIONS
CHAPTER 5: UPGRADE TRAFFIC CAPACITY AND TRANSIT
6: CURB GLOBAL WARMING
7-8 COORDINATE HOUSING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT:
7: MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING
8: SUSTAINING THE REGIONAL ECONOMY
9-12 PLAN FOR A HIGH QUALITY OF LIFE:
CHAPTER 9: OPEN SPACE AND RECREATION
10: MIX SOME LAND USES
11: TRANSIT ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT
12: PEDESTRIAN ACCESS
THE POLICY SUMMARY FROM
2 FUTURE GROWTH MAP GOALS:
3 WATER SUPPLY GOALS:
3. Include in the Plan potential water supply improvements proposed by municipalities, HVCEO or state agencies. This listing is to set the regional planning agenda for upcoming water supply studies and policy formulation.
4. Encourage clean water supplies in developing
areas through minimizing development impacts on groundwater
6. Municipalities in the Housatonic Valley Region should now plan for the fact that upcoming global warming will reduce the expected safe yield of surface reservoir and groundwater aquifer water supplies. Recalculate safe yields using more conservative factors.
CHAPTER 3 WATER RESOURCE GOALS:
3. Clean up and remove environmental limitations from all brownfield sites in the Region. These are defined as real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.
4. Plan and manage natural resources on the basis of watershed boundaries.
5. Coordinate state and local efforts to improve water quality in the region.
6. Consider downstream water quality impacts when making local land use decisions.
7. Municipal wetland agencies should develop an overall set of policy guidelines that provide performance standards and limitations for all properties in their jurisdictions and that identify the scope of work that is acceptable in and around wetland areas.
4 WASTEWATER TREATMENT GOALS:
1. Cite as a good example of internal municipal coordination the New Milford Water Pollution Control Authority, which uses as its expansion guide the future sewer area map adopted by the New Milford Planning Commission in the municipal Plan of Conservation and Development.
2. As HVCEO and state plans recommend areas for sewer expansion and avoidance, consider this input when setting municipal sewer expansion policies in the municipal plan.
While the HVCEO Future Growth Map for sewered areas is advisory, the state plan map is a very strong influence on CT OPM and CT DEP as their approval is sought for sewer service area expansions. Coordinate local and HVCEO future sewered area policy and then seek to amend the state plan map to conform.
3. Following the Newtown example, expand the use of community leaching fields to promote creative development and open space preservation.
4. Where planned density does not require sewers, subsurface septic systems are the remaining method for treating wastewater. Encourage conservative design of septic systems such that they function in perpetuity, permanently avoiding the unplanned spread of sewers for remediation of last resort.
5. Encourage periodic septic tank cleaning. Regular septic tank maintenance is the single most important step to extend the life of the system.
6. Continue to support efficient and cost-effective regional treatment of septic tank residue (septage). A regional septage disposal system planned by HVCEO has been operating at the City of Danbury's Water Pollution Control Facility since 1988 and serves Bethel, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, Newtown and Redding.
7. Encourage water conservation by businesses and households in order to reduce the amount of wastewater effluent to be treated. Promote the policy that water conservation extends the life of sewage treatment plants and septic systems and helps to protect water quality throughout the region.
5 TRANSPORTATION GOALS:
2. Promote a better balance between transportation modes, such that the share for automobile travel of total travel can decline in the future. Facilitate convenient pedestrian movements, mixed use and transit oriented developments.
3. Consider downstream transportation impacts when making local land use decisions.
4. Use transportation investments to support the economic vitality of the region, especially by enabling business competitiveness, productivity and efficiency. Coordinate the transportation system with local and state goals for enhancing economic vitality.
5. For the Region’s transportation
system as a whole enhance physical and modal integration and
connectivity, increase safety and security, and promote efficient
system management and operation.
7. Increase accessibility and mobility options for people and freight. Promote a shift away from the one person per car situation and toward increased vehicle occupancy via continuous advocacy of public transit, car and van pooling.
6 GOALS FOR CURBING GLOBAL WARMING:
1. Consider the planning, zoning and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) strategies recommended in this Plan chapter.
2. The Housatonic Valley Region leads Connecticut in the production of “green” hydropower. It is also a leader in fuel cell technology. The Region can build upon this distinction to become a leader in other alternative energy strategies.
7 AFFORDABLE HOUSING GOALS:
1. Municipal planning should strive to balance economic growth
with appropriate housing choices for the work force that is
part of the local economic base in the municipality.
3. Connecticut’s affordable housing land use appeals statute, Chapter 126a, Section 8-30g forcefully overrides local zoning. Yet this law has turned out to be a sprawl inducer, and thus has a significant negative impact upon municipalities. HVCEO will continue to lobby for specific changes to this law.
4. See the text for details on recommended Housatonic Valley Region initiatives.
5. See the text for details on recommended Local Government initiatives.
8 GOALS FOR SUSTAINING THE REGIONAL ECONOMY:
1. The Housatonic Region's most important economic resource is its highly skilled workforce. The greatest risks to the regional economy are loss of current skilled employees or an inability to attract more.
2. Congestion on I-84 will reach a critical point where the productivity of this interstate, a pillar of the locational advantage of the Housatonic Valley Region, is damaged. The private sector productivity gains of recent decades due to "just in time delivery" and digital inventory control will be dissipated due to traffic congestion. To prevent these problems develop I-84 traffic management and I-84 traffic capacity expansion strategies.
3. Encourage plans for affordable housing to match the housing
needs of planned economic growth. It is clear that communities
must retain a workforce to support the local economy as well
as to have households at different points in the life cycle
to support overall quality of life. Development decisions
cannot be based solely on a “debits and credits”
financial ledger approach.
4. HVCEO will use its federal transportation funding programming powers to assist with economic development, and will continually update traffic improvement planning reports for each community.
5. Encourage further investment in established commercial centers at a degree of intensity appropriate to the character of each individual community. Maximize local control of aesthetic design, consider mixed use projects, and facilitate pedestrian links within these centers.
6. Market the Region’s locational advantages, such as its proximity to both national/international markets (New York City) and important regional markets (Hartford, Hudson Valley, Stamford-Norwalk-Bridgeport).
7. Improved rail connections to Stamford and New York City should be vigorously pursued, coupled with restoration of passenger rail service north to New Milford and the placement of transit oriented development at some rail stations.
8. Foster connectivity between key employment sectors in the Region, such as healthcare and precision manufacturing, with secondary and post-secondary educational institutions to provide a continuous stream of skilled workers for critical industries in the Region.
9. The impacts of federal regulation of the large hydropower industry in the Region remains a significant special issue requiring attention from elected leaders. Seek ways to make hydropower a building block of future economic development.
10. Recognize the region's remaining agricultural areas as viable economic assets.
11. Work with state and federal agencies having authority over the siting of telecommunications, energy facilities and air service routes to achieve a balance between the need for expanded services and preservation of the natural environment and community character.
12. To assist with effective marketing of the region, HVCEO will:
C. Keep current a list of major employers by municipality to showcase the quality and variety of the regional economy.
9 OPEN SPACE AND RECREATION GOALS:
1. The Housatonic Council's top regional open space preservation priority is the state purchase of a conservation restriction from Northeast Utilities for Vaughn's Neck in Candlewood Lake.
The Vaughn’s Neck and adjacent Candlewood Mountain area comprises 710 acres in New Fairfield and New Milford and is the largest contiguous track of Northeast Utilities property on Candlewood Lake, itself the largest lake in Connecticut.
If the property were to be developed, then the recreational and aesthetic quality of Candlewood Lake would be greatly reduced, affecting property values as well as the enjoyment of thousands throughout the Region and beyond.
Also, water quality of one of Connecticut’s premier inland water resources could be impaired. Important wildlife habit would be threatened, as well as one of Connecticut’s important fisheries.
Additional regional open space preservation priorities include:
PRESERVE TERRE HAUTE. Complete the process of protecting this attractive wild and scenic area along the Danbury and Bethel border.
COMPLETE THE RIDGEFIELD - DANBURY - BETHEL IVES TRAIL. Proceed with the purchase of privately owned properties (or purchase of conservation / public access agreements) that will link the public open space properties along the Ives Trail.
of Ives Trail in Danbury
COMPLETE THE DANBURY - BROOKFIELD - NEW MILFORD STILL RIVER GREENWAY AND HOUSATONIC VALLEY RIVER TRAIL. This priority is for the purchase of privately owned properties (or purchase of conservation / public access agreements) that will link public open space properties in Danbury, Brookfield and New Milford to create the regional Still River Greenway.
2. Provide adequate open space in built up areas by providing for small public greens and pocket parks, enhancing existing public greens, and promoting street tree programs.
3. All municipalities should make available the option
of cash payment in lieu of open space in traditional residential
subdivisions, as authorized by State Statute Chapter 126 Section
4. Support the use of open space conservation subdivision regulations, which allow a greater percentage of land to be preserved for open space. In doing so use make use of Newtown's leading research on this technique.
5. Include farmland preservation in open space planning
efforts, to retain the region's history of agriculture as
well as to provide local produce and educational opportunities.
7. HVCEO will maintain a web based inventory of open space and conservation organizations in the region to promote them and to facilitate their interaction.
8. Promote the acquisition of open space land through the DEP Open Space Grant Program. HVCEO staff will provide an individualized letter of support to each applicant.
9. Promote temporary open land protection through tax assessment abatement programs (Public Act 490).
10. Consider viewshed protection, based on examples such as the zoning methodology for protecting viewsheds in Kent, CT or as found in the Woodbury, CT subdivision regulations.
11. Encourage municipalities to create an inventory of conservation easements already exiting in their municipality and then map them, thereby enhancing coordinated open space and greenway planning.
12. HVCEO's GIS mapping services will be made available for a) local land preservation efforts, and b) CT DEP's emerging Statewide Trails Database by providing digital input of this area's trails.
13. As noted above, grant applicants to DEP are advised to remind
that agency of the way in which statewide open space acquisition
policy was organized on a regional basis some years ago:
10 MIXED LAND USE GOAL:
11 TRANSIT ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT GOAL:
12 PEDESTRIAN ACCESS GOAL:
1. HVCEO should continue to develop pedestrian plans for municipalities.