POCD Nearing Completion

Branford’s 10-year plan is almost complete!

The draft of the Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) has been finalized and is being sent to the Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission for a public hearing and adoption.

The POCD’s Steering Committee, which has met monthly for the past year, held its last meeting Thursday. Committee members went through the draft document chapter by chapter, making sure all comments and questions were answered, and all typos were corrected.

Photo by Diana SrickerGlenn Chalder of Planimetrics, the consulting firm hired by P&Z to oversee the POCD updating process, thanked the committee for all their work.

About a dozen people attended the committee meeting Thursday, many of the same ones who have been attending throughout the year and offering suggestions.

“I feel like you guys really contributed a lot to this project,” said Phil Carloni, who chairs the committee.

Town Planner Harry Smith said some of the maps in the draft are still a work in progress, but will be finalized for the final document.

There was discussion Thursday about enhancing the four exits from I-95. “The impressions that people have coming into Branford are created by what they see when they first get off I-95. And I think we are missing the boat in a huge way in terms of what our exits look like, ” Carloni said. “If you picture in your mind what the exits look like, they’re not so pretty.”

Carloni suggested looking for ways to enhance the entryways, perhaps with a welcome sign and landscaping. “I don’t know what the answer is,” Carloni, said, but he suggested adding something to the POCD to start the process.

Calder suggested the revision should be “to establish and enhance coordinated community gateway features at major entry/arrival points to the community.”

There was also discussion of prospective development along Route 1 and at Exit 56. The committee agreed that the POCD could recommend that a study of traffic and sewer capacity be undertaken at the eastern end of town, since that is one of the major areas of undeveloped land.

The committee voted unanimously to endorse the draft and send it to the P&Z. The state requires communities to update the POCD every 10 years.

At the first public workshop last year, the main concerns were coastal issues, sea level rise, and climate change.

Other issues that were raised later include a town-wide shuttle, sidewalks, open space, and prospective development at the I-95 exits.

The revised draft can be found on the town’s website, under the section on the POCD. The revisions in red are changes that were made since the draft was introduced in May. Additional revisions will be added prior to the public hearing to reflect the changes made at the recent committee meeting.

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