As the state releases its updated draft for the 2013-2018 Conservation Development Polices Plan for Connecticut, the Stonington Planning and Zoning Commission is getting its ducks in a row.
It doesn’t need to be completed until 2014, but the PZC is poised to create the a blueprint for future town growth. The commission has been discussing how to recruit volunteers and who determine just who they should be. Plans are required under state law.
The 2004 plan was completed with the help of a planning consulting firm, Planimetrics. But this time around there’s no funding for a consulting firm to assist with the plan development so it’s in house, volunteer community committee members and a bare bones budget for 2014. And that may not matter given what many feel: the existing plan is a comprehensive boilerplate for an updated POCD.
At Tuesday’s PZC meeting, commissioners heard from two former committee members, one of who would volunteer again and one that wouldn’t want to serve.
“Nope, no thanks,” said former PZC chair Lynn Young, who sat on the 2004 POCD committee.
Young described that committee as having too many members, being “grossly inefficient” with “too many [members] with vested interests” in local development.
“It’s not a question of who should but who shouldn’t,” she said when commissioners asked what type of person it should be recruiting for the committee.
Young suggested a group between six and 10 members from the community that were not developers, builders and the like.
“It would be handy to have people who have crossed-served [on otherr boards and commissions],” she said. Young said members should include representatives from commissions like planning and zoning, economic development and pollution control, for example.
Sarah Lathrop, who said she’d serve again, said her concern was that membership should be representative of the whole town: “A balanced representation,” she said.
Both women said the existing POCD is a framework and reference for the 2014 document.
“I don’t think [the POCD is] an active document…not much has changed,” Young said. The 2004 POCD could be “used as a guiding document for decisions,” she said.
The 2004 Plan, which took 18 months to complete, includes chapters and sections on community issues, resource protection, villages’ protection and enhancements, and future development and desired growth and land use.
For more information on applying for a seat on the PZC special committee for the 2014 Plan of Conservation Development, check the town’s website, www.stonington-ct.gov, for updates, or call the planning department at 860-535-5095.