Town plan moves forward
Taking into consideration input from the public and town officials, Trumbull’s Planning and Zoning Commission is moving forward with a draft of an updated Plan of Conservation and Development.
The POCD is a long-range land use plan for the community and a tool to guide a community’s future. There are still several steps before a new plan is approved, but commissioners met Tuesday night to discuss input received from residents, First Selectman Timothy Herbst and other town groups, like the Conservation Commission and Historical Society. The town’s consultant will use that input to write a draft.
The meeting, while discussing several areas of town, alsow focused on the future of the eastern section of Main Street, south of the Merritt Parkway, Trumbull Center and lower Route 108, referred to as South Nichols.
The commission had discussed changing the South Nichols area from residential to commerical uses, but some disagreed with that plan.
“I think we should keep it residential,” Commissioner Tony Silber said. “You have Hawley Lane and the Route 8 area nearby, and I think we should keep that as a bulwark against encroaching development.”
Commissioner Arlyne Fox agreed she didn’t want to see further development there.
“The area is congested enough as is,” she said.
Commissioner Richard Deecken referenced the history of homes on South Nichols.
“It’s been residential for almost 350 years,” Deecken said.
Heidi Samokar, of Planimetrics, the town’s consultant on the project, suggested a few options in order to help preserve that area, including the town drafting a plan to offer tax breaks to those who live in historic homes.
“It says that if you live in a house of a certain age, the town recognizes you are paying extra to help maintain a community treasure,” Samokar said of tax breaks.
Commissioners liked the idea of keeping the area residential and offering that incentive.
Director of Planning Jamie Bratt said she liked the idea of offering tax breaks because it wasn’t specific to South Nichols, it could benefit other historic structures in town as well.
Lower Main Street
Several residents who live near lower Main Street, sometimes called “Frenchtown,” presented concerns recently to the commission. Residents asked that the POCD create a clear and well-thought-out plan for the future of the area that protects the hundreds of nearby residences. The area is currently zoned to allow professional use.
Commissioners discussed that feedback Tuesday night.
“I think we need to start with the goal of protecting those neighborhoods,” Silber said. “Not only protect them but improve the quality of life.”
Samokar said the feedback showed that the area doesn’t feel like a gateway into Trumbull and that cosmetic improvements like trees and sidewalks could help improve the look of the area.
The commission agreed on continuing to allow some professional development of the area but encouraging developers to work together to improve the overall look of the area.
In a letter to the commission, First Selectman Timothy Herbst gave his suggestions for Trumbull Center’s future, along with suggestions and comments on the rest of the town. See the full letter, here.
“Many residents feel that Trumbull Center on White Plains Road is the current epicenter of town in terms of access to amenities and interaction with neighbors,” Herbst wrote. “In order to ensure the future success of this long-standing investment we must entertain broadening the scope of business commercial activity in this area. By this I mean both a geographic expansion and a diversification of allowable uses. I feel the commercial area in this section of town should grow on White Plains Road towards Route 25, and should include the town-owned property on Berkshire Avenue.”
Commissioners had doubts about expanding Trumbull Center, when there are so many vacancies in the current space.
“I don’t think there is a demand right now,” commission alternate Steven Mahlstedt said.
Among the commission’s other discussion topics were creating a “town hall square,” improving pedestrian crossings in areas like White Plains Road and Spring Hill Road and Route 111, Long Hill Green and more.
Updates on the plan and more information may be found at plan-trumbull.com.