WOODBURY — Consultant Francisco Gomes updated members of the Planning Commission, meeting Wednesday, May 6, about proposed changes to zoning regulations, prompted in part by the town’s new Plan of Conservation and Development.
The commission, after learning of the proposed changes, agreed to hold off action and discuss it in depth at their next meeting.
The Planning Commission updated the POCD earlier this year. It included recommendations to revise zoning regulations to make them more conducive to affordable housing and to review the Garden Apartments zone.
Mr. Gomes explained to commissioners that the Zoning Commission had worked on updating several areas of the regulations, but that he would primarily focus on the changes to the Garden Apartments designation. He said the GA zone had been named an overlay district, but that it really functioned as a floating zone.
He explained the GA zone had a narrow range of uses and rather restrictive standards, and the Zoning Commission’s proposed regulation changes for a new Residential Community District would expand the uses, provide greater flexibility in density and area requirements, and would provide design standards.
It would also refocus the zone to include senior housing options, such as an assisted living facility, congregate housing for the elderly and continuing care or retirement community, in addition to multi-family housing.
The RCD zone would be a floating zone that required an additional request for a zone change, he said. Still to be decided was the minimum lot size requirement and the location, either the current Route 6 and Route 64, or a broader inclusion of all state highways.
Mr. Gomes said the next step in the process would be for the Planning Commission to decide whether or not to support the change to expand the area of use to include the other state highways.
He provided maps that showed the difference between the current area of use and the proposed area of use for commissioners to consider.
He noted that the senior housing district currently allows all of the senior housing uses on all state highways. The change would only expand the multi-family housing concept onto the other highways.
If commissioners felt the expansion was in keeping with the POCD recommendations, then the next step for them would be to conduct a Public Hearing to revise the Future Land Use map included in the POCD, then approve and adopt that change to the map.
It would then be up to the Zoning Commission to complete its work on its proposed regulations, including the new RCD district, and present those changes during a Public Hearing.
In calling for a month to have commissioners consider the changes, Planning Commission Chairman Joel Serota said that Zoning commissioners had done a “fine job” in moving forward and laying out the proposal.
He also asked if consideration had been made toward creating a design review commission, something else the POCD had recommended.
Mr. Gomes explained that such a move should come from the Board of Selectmen and that the Zoning Commission had chosen not to pursue the issue at the moment, concentrating instead on including basic design standards within the proposed zoning regulations.
In other action, the Planning Commission discussed a draft Purpose and Needs Statement, required for a possible application for a Route 6 Corridor Review Study, and sidewalk standards.
Member Katy Sherer had drafted the Purpose and Needs Statement and was asked to approach the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments to further assist with the document.
Mr. Serota presented a plan to develop a sidewalk “model” that would be placed in front of the Drakeley building on Main Street South. Other home and business owners could consider adding similar stretches of the selected pavers in front of their own properties.