What would you like to change in Branford? Do you have suggestions or questions? Now’s the time to speak up.
A public workshop for updating the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) will be held Wednesday, Nov. 29, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Walsh Intermediate School, 185 Damascus Road. The POCD is “a tool for guiding the future of Branford. It is intended to be both visionary and action-oriented,” the POCD said in introducing its 2008 report. The POCD is updated every 10 years, and this one is due for completion in November 2018.
Every decade, the state of Connecticut requires a town’s Planning and Zoning Commission to issue a POCD. Branford’s final report will reflect the sentiment of town residents, officials, environmental groups and a supplementary town committee.
Overall, this POCD is likely to handle issues concerning conservation, infrastructure, preservation and development, including the impact of an aging population, a topic discussed in the 2008 POCD.
Town Planner Harry Smith said the workshop will be an opportunity for residents to identify issues of concern and to suggest priorities and strategies.
Smith said the POCD is an advisory document for the Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission and other boards and commissions. The document gives strategies for protecting resources, guiding growth, and identifying facilities and services to support the community.
Glenn Chalder of Planimetrics, headquartered in Avon, will serve as the town’s consultant for the planning process. Chalder was also involved in the town’s 2008 POCD.
The POCD Update Committee held its initial meeting with the P&Z commission Oct. 19 at Fire Headquarters. Committee members are: Cathy Lezon, Peter Basserman, Phil Carloni, Bill Horne, Gavin Renz, John Lust, Joe Chadwick, Marci Palluzzi, Terry Elton, Barbara Ricozzi, Vinnie Hanchuruck and the town planner.
Committee members discussed some potential issues. Horne said sea level rise is one emerging issue that will have an impact on the public and on property. He gave statistics at the introductory meeting regarding expected sea rise by the year 2050.
Chalder said all materials will be available on the town’s web site. He hopes to have an initial draft complete by March.
In addition to the initial public workshop, surveys and discussions will be held with local boards and commissions, and random telephone surveys will be conducted. Another community meeting will be held in the spring to discuss a draft of the updates; and a public hearing will be held in the fall to discuss the proposed final version. The P&Z will then vote on the proposal.
A booklet about POCD planning says: “While its key purpose and function is to address the physical development of a community, it will often address issues related to the economic development and social development.”
One issue raised at a preliminary meeting last month centered on online growth and its impact on Branford retail stores, current and future.
One new committee member observed Branford’s demographic is getting older and will soon be the largest group in Branford.
“How do we brand ourselves?” he asked.
A copy of the 2008 POCD is on the town’s web site under the listing of reports and publications. It was also on the table as the first meeting got underway.