Letter: Plan could change the face of Trumbull

To the Editor:

Today, Thursday, Sept. 12, is one of the most important dates for the town, and you, in a very long time.

That’s no exaggeration. The Planning and Zoning Commission, of which I'm a member, is conducting a public hearing on a plan that could change the face of Trumbull. It might dramatically impact your quality of life and your property values for the next 50 years.

We’re close to wrapping up our work on the Plan of Conservation and Development, and we are seeking your input. Come to the hearing at Frenchtown School.

The plan is an extremely influential roadmap to zoning decision-making for the next 10 years, at least. And it's not just zoning: It addresses conservation, recreation, transportation, commercial and industrial development, historical preservation and much more.

In short, this will be our roadmap to Trumbull's future. We have a chance to adapt for the next 50 years a framework that has created a wonderful town for the last 50 years. It's essential.

As a P&Z member, I urge you to attend Thursday’s meeting. It’s only fair that I tell you what I think. Here are some critical initiatives I believe we need to address.

• The town should build a cohesive approach for the northern sections of town, including Routes 25 and 111 north of the highway terminus. This might include mixed use, or it might include upscale shopping centers, or both. Much of the land is developed, but we're really looking at guiding those who will redevelop our town over the next 30 years.

• We should call for sidewalks and other pedestrian-friendly amenities, like bike paths, on key thoroughfares.

• The town should create a riverwalk through Trumbull Center. This initiative, which I have suggested for years, looks like it is going to happen. But we should stay focused.

• I think the town should call for mixed-use development in Trumbull Center. This would let us take advantage of the existing sidewalks, commercial businesses and parks. It will enhance the sense of a community center, and also contribute to traffic calming because it encourages people to walk.

• We need to define new ways to connect our corporate parks to other amenities, such as shopping centers, housing, transportation and lodging. For example, why not build a pedestrian walkway under the Merritt Parkway from the corporate park to the Hawley Lane shopping center, so that people can walk to lunch and shopping?

• Trumbull should adopt an overall approach to redevelopment of Lower Main Street, aimed at improving conditions for the residents of the side streets and reducing traffic in an emerging professional zone.

• We should maximize development opportunities by focusing on the right industries, in the right sections of town, with the right parameters. The tax base has to grow, and grow consistently, for us to ease the load on residential homeowners. This has to occur within a context that eases, rather than increases, congestion.

Tony Silber, Democratic member of the Planning and Zoning Commission