N. Branford’s revised town plan set for hearing

By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff
July 22, 2008

NORTH BRANFORD — Residents will have a chance this week to offer input on one of the town’s most important planning documents.

The Plan of Conservation and Development offers a guide for where and how the town will grow, Town Manager Richard Branigan said. Town officials have been working on updating it for months for the first revision in about a decade.

The Planning and Zoning Commission has scheduled the first public hearing on the revised plan for Thursday. The hearing will include a presentation on the plan as well as about two hours set aside for public input, according to Town Planner Carol Zebb.

Branigan said that the process could include several nights of public hearings.

“This is typically something that will take some time — it’s an important document,” he said.

The plan includes many features, such as the town’s demographic makeup, economic figures, housing information, land-use trends and existing open space. It is meant to serve as a guide for town officials, with a list of development priorities.

“It will talk about what the future’s going to look like, where community development might take place, what types of development the town might be looking at (and) what are some of the transitional challenges the town might face in the future,” Branigan said.

“It’s used as a tool to help the Planning and Zoning Commission and other town agencies make decisions on land use and development issues and such going forward.”

A Plan of Conservation and Development is required by state statute, and towns are supposed to update their plans every 10 years, Branigan said.

“I wouldn’t say it’s outdated, but there have been changes in state requirements that need to be reflected,” he said. “There have been issues that have come about that have become more important,” including open space and affordable housing, he said.

The town is now applying for a $20,000 state grant through the Office of Policy and Management that would help offset the cost in town employees’ time toward updating the plan.

Following the public hearings and any revisions, the Planning and Zoning Commission will vote on whether to accept the updated plan. The Town Council also held a workshop on the plan earlier this month.

A copy of the draft Plan of Conservation and Development is available on the town’s Web site at www.townofnorthbranfordct.com. Thursday’s public hearing will take place at 7 p.m. at North Branford Auditorium, on Route 80 between the intermediate school and high school.

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