Groton Planning Commission Draft Plan of Conservation & Development Public Hearing – 6/29/16

October 8, 2019

First action item is a public hearing 2016 trap land conservation and
development is to start will have a presentation and then we’ll open it up
to the public for any comments we’ll get started I’m Mike Zuba the
director of planning with, in the room with me is Carly Myers she was the
key planner is putting the pier city together on we’ll just touch on an
overview of what some of the highlights of the POCD it’s been a long process
of updating this POCD it’s it’s still frame the same way as the last POCD
but a lot has changed in not only the not only in Groton but the state in the
nation as a whole sense that the POCD of 2002 was adopted in the recommendations
and those best guiding policy decisions were put forth and followed up on over
the last 14 or so years , POCD is really just a policy document for the town that
allows the town to be able to have the framework to begin shaping the
directions they want to go in various areas this this POCD is wrapped
around conservation and development as well as infrastructure and we have the
green or the energy efficiency and sustainability I’m woven throughout this POCD this
POCD set forth the idea is the best thinking that was put together at a
point in time in a spring board for the town to be able to tackle things like
changing demographics changing the housing needs on where we’re at with the
state of the local regional and state economy on seed a seed larger plans and
and begin to tackle issues such as zoning infrastructure studying looking
at areas in ways to be able to be more efficient be able to provide what assets
are that new residents and longtime residents of the community are looking
for so it’s a guidance document that really
everybody in the community has their hand in crafting it’s fully vetted
amongst many groups in town we had a stakeholder group of law of
many different participants from varying different committees and commissions that fed into
the POCD we had several workshops throughout the
POCD process and it’s also been vetted in draft form to various agencies are
not only with the local and regional cog but you know at the state level as well
to ensure that everything is consistent with all the other plans that are in
place and that Groton’s plan is congruent with the state plan the
regional plan and that it’s a sound plan to be able to move on forward and we’ve
broken the presentation for tonight up into just a couple key areas and we’re
not going to touch on every single recommendation that was provided in this
part of the POCD but a couple of the key highlight recommendations on what fit
into this POCD was all of the other planning and and design and study
efforts that have been going on for the town over the last several years on the
POCD is intended to capture every single one of those of nuance very specific
recommendations but its intended to throw a wide net over those plans and
over those other initiatives to be able to get what the key driving factors are
behind recognize those and look at the inter-relationships between on the
various areas on its presented in these three different things but they are all
truly interrelated when you begin looking at them recommendations for a
conservation theme Um definitely have an impact on
development definitely have an impact on infrastructure and vice versa they’re
just presented in the report format in these various buckets just for the ease
and usability of the document I’ll pass it off to Carly and she’ll
walk us through some of the key highlights for conservation under a conservation we’re just like
Mike said, just kind of going over some of the key goals and recommendations first we have to protect natural
resources, Groton is a beautiful place I’m sure all of you know that you live
here you love you know the the open space and going to Bluff Point so protecting these natural resources was really wanted that to be front and center some of the key recommendations in this
section are to review and possibly update the water resource protection
district this is an overlay zone that covers much
of the northern part of Groton it has more more restrictions on development in
order to protect the reservoir water resources so just to make sure that that is
because it’s such a large area that is reviewed and updated to make sure that
its current with the current best management practices condition we have a recommendation to develop a lie deregulations low impact development so a good example is this pretty no rain
garden it’s a kind of it did the design that
helps keep storm water on the site so that it doesn’t contribute to stormwater
runoff over overloading the storm sewer system
and helps you know protect the water quality and the sound as well we also have preserved and strategically
expand recreation areas and open space a few of the key recommendations under
this section are to develop open space direct and Recreation District and
regulations this would be a new zone in the zoning
code to specifically set aside open space also to develop an open space
management plan to provide standards for open space throughout the town
increasing open space and Recreation requirements and allowing additionally
accessory uses for farms such as allowing more events and festivals these
kinds of accessory uses are very important nowadays for small family
farms to stay afloat and having those extra income streams through like
wedding venues or festivals on site this is a picture of Haven
Farms in Groton have a lovely facebook page with lots of hay rides and for the
kids and because of Groton’s position he protect coastal resources was also
very important in addition to the plan of conservation
development there’s also a beautiful coastal program that was a separate
document but connected to the POCD and that has a lot more detailed
recommendations but as part of the POCD we’ve no by reference included the
recommendations of the NCP as well some of the key recommendations and the
POCD to create a coastal overlay district this would be a zoning district to
manage development along the coast mostly for safety terms of rising sea levels making sure
that the coastal development kind of stays in the character of Groton and
also connecting and expanding a coastal public access points and potentially
adding parking so that those more people can enjoy those public access points as
well we also have protect cultural and
historic resources some of the key recommendations under
here are to require darkly archaeological historic surveys for
development applications this would be a zoning amendment
allowing creative reuse of historic structures this is another kind of connection to
economic development and that allowing the structures to be used again in
different ways allows them to be economically viable also includes
historic assets and historic districts to be considered well planning in considering disaster
mitigation plants i mentor especially with regards to
flooding storm surge sea level rise and coastal erosion and just recently in the
last few months the State Historic Preservation Office has started to
develop coastal resiliency initiatives for the four coastal counties and during
a review of each participating towns POCD Groton’s draft POCD was the only one
that address the hazards of sea level rise and historic resources so we are
currently number one in the state for that and we’re ahead of the game for
that statewide initiative also to promote community character when
the key recommendations was to revise reckon regulations and older
neighborhoods to allow the established development patterns to apply to new
uses and structures so in terms of bulk and setback standards
and possibly developing a pattern book for new development to be sympathetic to
the design of you know what we know and love and what’s present already and then
they’re just a snippet there from page 2 – 49 about the special focus areas and
how they have extra provisions to encourage that sense of place through
that kind of development intensity protecting historic development patterns
and retaining mixed uses in a pedestrian friendly environment and that also ties
into sustainability goals of having denser development and walkability as
well I’m shifting gears over into our development theme and working on the
encourage sustainable development some of the key recommendations are really
revolving around being able to get Groton a little greater resiliency to changes
in the economy for years and years we relied on the big three it’s starting to
take a step back from that began looking at what other assets are there to be
able to either build upon what are some obsolete uses what are some areas that
would warrant some extra attention some redevelopment from various standpoints
to either help growing the grand list providing greater amenities for
residents being able to make a much more attractive area for for potential people
looking to move into Groton I’m really being able to help strengthen
the core of what you are you have here so when we look at that we’re talking
about encouraging development and redevelopment in the downtown of Groton I
think that’s one of the key ones we know that you know there’s a long time
property owners there there’s various strategies to be able to help guide that
entice development there and work with work with the landholders there to be
able to help see what true help realize what the true potential the land could be and with that comes
hand in hand we began looking at design guidelines you know how do we want this
to look it’s not only to be able to get the return on the investment of having a
better able there are you building the tax base but also measuring that we’re
getting into the place making that you know this meets all of the criteria
checks all the boxes of what Groton desires in any given area it has to fit within
the villages hit would fit within these historic places Groton is unique in that
it does have many other distinct places that have some have very
clear boundary somebody they become a little fuzzy but when you’re there you
can definitely have a much different feel a different sense of place and you
want to respect that when you talk about any changing of development patterns
or looking at shifting abuses and being able to help capitalize on what’s
already there on infrastructure is that long been talked about one of the key
recommendations is discouraged development from areas that aren’t
served or may never be served by potential connections to infrastructure
guiding that investment to areas that already have transit where you may have
critical mass to get into the whole theme of looking at the special focus
areas these nodes of the special districts to be able to um guide the
development to where you wanted to capitalize on all the key assets are
already there rather than going with the urban sprawl I’m really more actually putting smart
growth into practice I’m looking at the MX regulations which
you know we’re looking at mixed-use development historically in Connecticut over the
last few years um developers are very challenged by doing mixed use
development it’s challenging from a bite of bank financing reason capital
standpoint on there also be able to lay out regulations that are very simple a
process that is streamlined for developers to come in and say yes I want
to do mixed use on it deserves to take a look at those MX regulations and see
if there’s a way to be able to still get what the town desires from an end
product while being able to streamline the process so that you’re not losing
potential candidates that are looking to bring investment into the community of
hand in hand with the streamlining of the permitting process of everybody in
the state of Connecticut is now realizing it’s a new dawn it’s the dawn
of a new day were seeing some economic recovery jobs are coming back in off we want to
make each community as readily accessible as possible we want to put
the flag up and saying we’re welcoming to this type of development this style
development on come talk with us we’re going to be as accommodating as we
can we’re going to work with you to ensure that these to go forward I’m so that would be a big push as part
of this process on as well as realizing that the demographics have changed in
Connecticut from when the last POCD was done there’s different needs out there for
those that desire to age in place on young individuals who are coming out of
school and may be burdened by student loans on parents are trying to then get
those young individuals out of the basement and out on their own also having some greater flexibility
there is also very important from a housing standpoint because ultimately
people who then move into your community or those men are going to be those
individuals who are going to be able to spend money in the community embrace the
community at to that character is a community eventually become those who
sit on the committees and commissions later on I’m looking at walkability
being able to promote a greater walkable development patterns looking at areas of
connectivity ground has a great network of of sidewalks trails bikeways on its
building upon that we’re seeing across the state is very desirable now I’m from
are young and I won’t say millennial some get offended by that but
looking at younger individuals that come into the community they don’t always
that are desirous of vehicles they would prefer to be able to you know do some of
their daily activities via walking or biking so being able to be cognizant of that and be a little more forward thinking
and accommodating those are those different lifestyle choices I’m looking at the small medium-sized
business that’s kind of where I left off and realizing that you know they just
don’t come in and happen by themselves some effort needs to be putting their
I’m you have to have areas readily available for them you have to be willing to work with them
because a lot of times those smaller business owners um don’t have the wherewithal of the
capital to be able to work their way through a cumbersome process to be able
to get their business off the ground and they may go elsewhere so you know that
takes a certain tax strategy and staffing level to be able to move that
forward looking at key ways to incentivize developers you don’t want to
be able to turn your back but now in this day and age we realize that you
know we need to be able to work with them there has to be a little give and
take it really becomes a public-private partnership to be able to have some
successful development development that the town wants and development that
meets what the developers are driving numbers are what is his vision is for
individual project on with that said we get back to some of those key focus
areas looking at the looking at the Nautilus design district and realizing
that you know that was intended to be able to specify certain development
within this area not much has been done there I’m really
looking at it through a new lens of the modern economy and say boy does this
make sense what we were asking is this makes sense with what we have here today
I’m looking at the the waterfront design district and seeing some expansion there
on something that’s already successful for us being able to add into that to be
able to grow an area for various purposes of it needs to be cognizant of
the historic nature needs to be cognizant of the residents of the
neighborhood but this is a good opportunity if done
if done in a proper manner where there can be growth in the town um exploring
TOD whether it’s an opportunity to be able to land a station along the rail
work where passes by being able to work with all those parties then have those
discussions in order to see whether it’s even a possibility from the ridership
standpoint an engineering standpoint but looking at various scales of that and
looking at being able to save multimodal hubs where you know people are able to
bend you know mom get off the bus be able to have different opportunities
other than the automobile centric of which you know so much of Groton and much of Connecticut itself was developed around so really expanding transportation
options in a smart way to better position Groton for the for the next 10
years and beyond moving on to infrastructure and kind of
going off of Mike’s last point on enhancing transportation options in town some of the key recommendations that are
included in the plan are revising construction standards to limit
impervious surface area this helps with drinking water into the
ground instead of having creating more storm runoff using low impact
development and complete streets Complete Streets refers to letting
people drive but also having space for people to walk or bike with appropriate
in your sidewalks or bike lanes and allowing more people to use the street
in a variety of ways also addressing the impact of climate change on roads and
rail underpasses this is mostly related to flood proofing also working to extend
shoreline east and creating rail station downtown also very important economic
development and transportation looking at possibly some revised parking
standards again with the kind of new economy and
how people would like to use municipalities now and being able to
walk and bike may be looking at parking standards and seeing if the minimums
might be too high or if there are opportunities for people for adjacent
developments to share parking using using that parking space for other
uses might be a good way to move forward with kind of having a more multimodal
transportation system and then just adding more multi used multi-use path
bike paths and sidewalks during without road needs to be rebuilt anyway kind of
including it that into the design process also Groton’s to enhance and maintain
key community facilities something that came up a lot there was a previous report of the
Norris report for the Town of Groton that looked at the current inventory of parks
and open space and kind of looked at where we’re more could go or what needs
were in town so one of the recommendations going off
of that report is to develop a plan for community center and athletic fields
that was a big need that was found in that report addressing the needs of school age
populations and aging school facilities the Town of Groton is currently looking
at a school construction plan in order to address aging facilities in town and
also possibly new construction and that is I was just approved to go to referendum
in November so in there the POCD currently you know recommends
looking supporting that plan and addressing those school needs and also
extending utilities to identify growth areas such as the the identified nodes
and commercial and industrial areas and also as my way to spur economic
development and also as my talked about the beginning kind of weaving that
environmental and sustainability thread throughout it’s also very important infrastructure
to enhance and promote sustainable energy so some key recommendations are
to develop regulations to directly address alternative energy use such as solar
panels or then also to implement the energy action plan that the town
previously did and that was a plan that had a lot of recommendations for
facility upgrades in order to be able to conserve energy upgrading light bulbs upgrading no the seals around your doors some some
things are very low hanging fruit but have a big impact in terms of your
energy bill so the for the POCD recommends following
through with that plan in order to kind of make a big impact for you know low
low input costs um on one of the ones to Panama City’s it’s
not only the key recommendations that we talked about as part of the action
agenda but the future land use plan which is really on the location specific
guidance of where desired uses would land in the next 10 years and beyond and with this future land use plan on
we’ve identified several areas several key nodes on several special focus areas
that fallout of sort of those traditional categories that you would
have just rather than seeing what we want to guide industrial we want to
guide open space we’re calling these areas out saying
well they’re going to require some special attention special planning to be
able to help move them forward in the right direction and make the
determination of of where best to sort of put the efforts of the town to be
able to not only plan and bring forward with development but also for for
conservation and we just touched on a couple of those in the different design
districts which we talked about as part of them and not us memorial design
district taking a look at you know what are the pressing needs there to ensure
that is this design district appropriate are the regulations and are the vision
for this area appropriate on that have been drafted 10 plus years ago do we
want to rethink that so some effort will need to be wrapped
around each of these specific areas to ensure that the modern market the modern
economy in the modern modern day needs are being met and that Groton has its best
foot forward in each of these very unique areas so that is a one of the key
parts of the plant but ultimately what you’re going to use the future land use
plan for is as you begin to see activity in town whether it’s looking at open
space does it fit within the POCD on making an investment in in arm acquiring the property for so uh
whether it’s passive open space or active on there is one of these areas
identified as strategic areas within the POCD or is it not and also if a developer
comes in with a proposal is that proposal congruent not only with the
vision of the POCD but also with the land use pattern that is preferred for the
next decade and beyond on the next steps for the POCD and we’re
here tonight with the public hearing on it and I guess it’s time to open it / –
that’s what back to Commission and be able to feel some additional public
comment for their consideration prior to what fire – maybe making an action for
adoption staff any comments you want actually you personally thank commission
for hanging here with this marathon for years miners as you know there are a number of
stories that have to be on the final confirmation in town council to shop for
the next council of governments and the office of Long Island Sound program
because we’re total the town council endorsed a plan I found that one solution and the awesome modern and sound program
balance consistent with the coastal management act in the months leading up
to this hearing planning staff help the opportunity to meet with a number of
admissions committees little rooms interested parties and were able to
solicit comments for a move to consider before we actually talked to anyone can
learn to deal with those last night sorting through them to determine ones
are taken hold any kind of college what happens you really rare ones you
want to include in the plant conservation and development of that
before you a memo that outlines your discussion from last night and there are
additional copies in the back anybody’s interested we met with folks
from the Connecticut airport authority we’ve got comments from individual
commissioners in here that we discussed members of the energy efficiency and
conservation committee a couple of individuals from the ground and open
space Association who submitted a number of comments to you on the public works
department the Zoning Commission and then the town
manager’s office went through the document and did some really fine editing to get consistency grammar right the things of that nature since last night we’ve actually received
a couple more comments and those are also in front of you and Mr. Pritchard
submitted some technical comments you’ve got that not a grid grid form we received an email from Jim Furlong
regarding the water resource protection district section he’s interested in making the point that
the reservoir is not just an environmental assets also an economic
asset and he’d like to have that brought out in the plan to sutherland
who is the chairman of the zoning commission also submitted some possible
greenway locations for the town she’s interested in having a map included
within the POCD as you know from last night and we’ve also gotten a certified
copy of the council resolution for the POCD it’s all we got re opened up for discussion quite a
business like I got to doing a lot of the point Hank is acting secretary so we will open
up the meeting for any comments from the public we don’t have a sign-up sheet so if you
can just raise your hands if you want to make any statements to us if you already
submitted something in writing we already had that in you then want to
make a statement just state your name and address for the record is any one
want us to speak to us yes and you want it’s best to come up to so we have a record of it to the podium
chairman of the years local Groton Shellfish Commission and one concern we
have is the purity of the water and tributaries that with the clams and
oysters grow and we had some preliminary data quite a while back when we actually
took samples of the tributary an essay for ecoli bacteria that the state will
allow 14 and under is acceptable anything over 14 at the closed Shelby
Beds down and we took we got the area of
impervious surfaces feeding each tributary whether it be Bebe Cove or
Poquonock River or Mumford Cove, Esker Point and rough correlation showed that if there
was more than fifteen percent impervious surface in the drainage area you’d never
be able to have sufficient to go out in the waters so that that’s one concern we
have that it doesn’t exceed that it’s my comment thank you thank you it was an interesting observation anyone else want to make his statement
tonight yes im Sue Sutherland 132 Neptune Drive in Groton and I’m speaking as an individual tonight not representing the Zoning
Commission hurt anyone else other than myself first congratulations on the heroic job
it is enjoyed reading the final product this involves a simple how change that i
would just like to suggest for your consideration and as you can see in one
of the maps that they sent the greenway map Connecticut there’s no officially
designated greenways in this area this is despite the fact that Groton
probably has some of the finest coastal parks and open space of any town so we
have a good place in the south to start a green way from as you can see two in
order ticket and officially designated by the Connecticut DEEP Greenway it really
should be in the planet conservation development that there is a plan for a
greenway and what I’m proposing I think you can see him when the attached maps
is doing similar to what letter did and that would be to use a map is possible
to use the same map there’s already a trail suggested up for example in the
Gungywamp area and just drop a green arrow there to indicate this is really a
green way area it doesn’t mean the property owners
of course have to do anything different but it’s a it’s a tool and it could be
also a way to publicize with the town has and also perhaps to help connect
some of the terrific trail system we already have the other one that I think
would be a really nice proposed greenway would be the one right up the center of
town pretty much east of the reservoir do have some
significant changes in land that’s open space since the last POCD it’s now possible and I often do this to
ride your bike really from Bluff Point to Haley Farm all the way up into Ledyard
basically going up the Flanders Road Candlewood Road until you get up into
Ledyard what’s nice about that it also includes a section once you get
to Ledyard which is very easy for anyone that has mobility challenges to use it’s
very scenic traffic is not allowed and that’s like a one of the jewels of
potential Greenway and then lastly I know Ray Rafferty has
always been a very strong proponent in the conservation commission of the
Eastern greenway and even just look at the hash marks that are already on your
map that Eastern green break or green way would be another possibility for
your consideration I think this is important to consider
and I would appreciate your considering dropping these arrows and because the
more we can publicize that we have these designated greenways we will be
publicized in the town and statewide I think it encourages people to enjoy
the beauty of the area and to really increasingly have a more healthy
lifestyle here walking or biking or even driving on places anyway thank you very much for
your time thank you for your input anyone else want to address us tonight one else does and i moved to close the
public hearing is there a second second this motion seconded any discussion so all in favor of a closing the public
hearing say I I any opposed any abstentions was
unanimous and it’s carried we think everyone for showing up tonight when we take a five-minute break and
then we can go over there comments we have received today to
determine what to do with like the reason result are planning commission
meeting tue / items at least we see tonight everybody should have received a copy of
something we outcome from last night discussion I would cause or minutes from from last
night and we have two written items to review one is from so saw the one over
there greenways and did everybody get a copy of the proposed
motion Oh maybe we should well but what we were going to put in
there is a statement that that we do include the proposed green waste map in
as a common emotion which I think covers the input that that we have received so all right we did talk about the green
wave’s suggested last night so I think she’s giving us more specifics that’s
more specific details that we can and then we have the comment Mr. Furlong
regarding the economic impact from the drinking water reservoirs know what your
thoughts are not sure this really i mean nothing but C work with section can be
upgraded to be to know the economic or just says it’s simply value yes rehabs you think that can be handled as a
technical I think technological update i updated the description of the water
resource protection district and then we had the Shellfish Commission
common over the impervious surface and that somehow should probably the address
whether it’s a technical item i think last night we talked about that has a
technical someone else , the importance of paying attention to
improve services for the watershed in fact and we should could identify the
impact all I think specific in that direction just as a small and that if no one has
any other concerns with a resolution of what we did last night i would think
would wrap things up unless somebody has any other concerns yeah you know the one thing I’d like bring up this Mr. Chairman is in in the
particularly the downtown No makes use of that area I really don’t see anything in the way
of open space or parks and I think that’s rather important if we’re going
to go in that direction that I have no within that area I’m saying this because there already is
a large amount apartments is probably excess of 600 apartments between two
large development plus a number of others roughly between
we roll development and maximum brokers roughly 25 single-family home in there
and you really have nothing in that area I know last planet development it was
talked about the mixed-use and all but really never evolved into doing some
studies of a possibility for a park in that area I’m talking about not an active part
necessarily but something just up a park work will have some green space now
think i think if you look on page 5 24 says the developer part to serve the
downtown area front but with an action item ok could be that it can be as an action
item but I think we need to look at where that could possibly wall from and
that is recommended sensor it’s already ok instead , which i think is a pretty
pretty valid concern really especially if you want to develop that you have to
gonna have to have something that’s right all right I in fact a whole new order part of our
talent is really lacking in any appreciable parks Navy has developed
some will learn their housing but good there’s an awful lot of people live up
in that area and the nearest facility is really flying planes part of the master
plan identified as well lack of service area yeah anyone on
anybody else have any promise any problems with this proposed motion no
one has any problems on I’ll make a motion to adopt the draft 2016 plan of
conservation and development subject to the following modifications one chapter
1 introduction show included description of climate change and sea level rise and
their anticipated impacts to Groton to the recommendation regarding the
development of open space management plans for existing open space shall also
include developing an inventory and monitoring plan for town held
conservation easements three a new recommendation shall be included in the
continue to fund an approval and space section that reads quote develop
criteria which with which to evaluate proposed open space parcels and develop
a map of the desirable open space land and a quote for the proposed greenways
map shows and actions north to Ledyard in east west across crime shall be included
in chapter 2 conservation five all technical changes as identified by the
planning commission shall be address these changes include corrected and
updated information in editorial and grammatical changes in adopting this
plan the Commission finds at the 2016 plan of conservation and development is
consistent with the provisions of Connecticut General statues a – 23 and
is in conformance with the regional plan of conservation and development 2007 in
the state conservation and development policies plan 2013 through 2018 the commission also find that the plan
is consistent with the municipal coastal programs requirements of Connecticut
General statues 2221 through – 10 12 22 a – 10 4 has made has been made with
greasable consideration for restoration and protection of the ecosystems and
habit of Long Island Sound and it’s been designed to read do psych oxia pathogens
toxic contaminants and floatable debris in long island sound condition here by
sets an effective date of october first 2016 for the plant is in a second second is there any discussion on the
motion hearing not vote on the motion all those in favor say aye aye aye any opposed any abstentions motion is
carried with my results in animals that many actually have anything else to
discuss then although for Chariman Michael entertain
a motion to adjourn is there a second second. motion everybody say I

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