Planning document may be ready in Jan.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008 5:44 AM EST
By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff

NORTH BRANFORD — Following several months of public hearings and about a year of preparation, officials are continuing to revise the town’s main planning document.

The planning department is at work on a new version of the Plan of Conservation and Development, and the Planning and Zoning Commission held several months of public hearings for public input.

The plan was last updated in 1991. It includes priorities for development in North Branford as well as information on the town’s demographic makeup, economic structure, housing, land use and open space.

Following the close of the public hearing, Town Planner Carol Zebb and Town Manager Richard Branigan are now at work to revise the document and present a final draft to the Planning and Zoning Commission and town residents. The commission will most likely hold another public hearing on the new draft.

Commissioners are also scheduled to have a workshop meeting on the input from the previous public hearings following the Planning and Zoning Commission’s regular meeting Thursday night.

Zebb said that the new draft could be ready by January.

“We’ll take those decisions they make on changes and create a final draft, which will then be scheduled for another hearing for additional input,” Zebb said. “Maybe it won’t change too much from what it is presently. I don’t know — it depends on how extensively they want to take some of those public comments.”

She added that two main areas of residents’ input dealt with the town’s plan to redevelop the old Town Hall site at 1599 Foxon Road and the protection of ecologically sensitive areas, including the Farm River watershed.

Branigan said he does not expect major changes to the draft plan that was under discussion at the public hearings. The final draft will be available on the town’s Web site for review.

“I think the format has been tweaked a bit,” Branigan said. “Some of the text and the language is being looked at. In some cases, it was too specific (and) in other cases it tended to be more negative than it needed to be in description.”

The Town Council also discussed the Plan of Conservation and Development, although the body does not need to approve the document. Branigan said their comments focused on defining the areas in town appropriate for development or conservation.

Following the next public hearing, the plan will go before the Planning and Zoning Commission for approval.

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