NEWINGTON – The town is preparing its road map for the next decade and wants your opinion on the journey as planned.
The Newington Town Plan & Zoning Commission is seeking input from residents about its 2030 Plan of Conservation and Development, being finalized this summer.
With little public participation at recent hearings on the drafted plan, commissioners have extended the hearing period to their next regular meeting, Aug. 12 at 7 p.m. It will be held virtually on Zoom, so people can call in to share comments and concerns.
“This is the floor plan - the road map - for future growth in Newington for the next 10 years,” Town Planner Craig Minor said. “The commission has to be sure that anyone who wants to has an opportunity to provide their input.”
The state of Connecticut requires towns to update their Plan of Conservation and Development once every 10 years. Newington’s current POCD was adopted in 2010. Its recommendations have guided improvements in the town center and the preservation of land on Cedar Mountain, among other actions taken by elected officials.
Last summer about 50 people shared their preferences for growth and development in Newington during a workshop meeting open to the public, kicking off the commission’s work on the 2030 Plan. With the help of Glenn Chalder, an independent planning consultant from the firm Planimetrics and Minor, the TPZ drafted the 2030 Plan.
It was originally set to be approved this July but Gov. Ned Lamont allowed municipalities an extra 90 days to finalize documentation due to delays caused by the pandemic. Now TPZ has up until Sept. 8 to vote on the plan.
Newington’s new plan contains chapters on infrastructure, sustainability, development opportunities and conserving open space.
“The strategies in the POCD are intended to reflect a consensus of what is considered desirable for Newington and its residents in the future,” the introductory paragraph reads.
It includes recommendations for more affordable housing, to meet state requirements and the needs of residents, while preserving the town’s character. It encourages “pedestrian-friendly” street improvements and new economic development as well as reuse and redevelopment of existing infrastructure.
“The issues that were on peoples’ minds 10 years ago, including securing open space and improving the town center, aren’t really hot topics anymore,” Minor pointed out, also adding that there are “no dramatic changes” in the new plan.
To give an example, one recommendation is to reduce parking standards for businesses in order to maximize property use, increase efficiency and sustainability.
“Although most of Newington is pretty well laid out, it’s still important for folks in town to have a say on whether we should encourage new types of commercial development,” Minor said. “Brick and mortar retail is on the downward trend these days; that’s the kind of thing towns need to be aware of so they can position themselves for new types of opportunities.”
A full draft is available on NewingtonCT.gov.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Public hearing on the town’s 2030 Plan of Conservation and Development
WHEN: Wednesday, Aug. 12 at 7 p.m.
WHERE: Zoom webinar, register to participate at newingtonct.gov/virtualmeetingschedule