Redevelopment is the future of Trumbull but not an architectural review board, according to some town officials.
After hearing from Planimetrics, the Planning and Zoning Commission discussed how to proceed based on an assessment of the town by Planimetrics, the firm hired to help review and revise the town Plan of Conservation and Development.
Board member Fred Garrity said the town needs to "attract more than what we already have."
"Our future is redevelopment," he said. The town, he later added, "We're a hybrid of a bedroom, community and development."
Membert Tony Silber said the zoning commission should lead in projects such as the Long Hill Green mixed use development approved about two years ago. The project has not begun construction because of the economy, but it includes a shopping center and apartments.
Garrity added, "We can't invent the wheel. We have to modify what it looks like."
Silber replied that he does not support an architectural review board because it will lead to a "slippery slope."
Planimetrics will also conduct and submit a visual survey as part of the planning process, said Heidi Samokar, Planimetrics senior planner. She added that she has spoken with First Selectman Tim Herbst regarding capitalizing on the town's greenways.
The Town Council recently allowed the first selectman to sign a lease of land off Quarry Road. One idea is to use the land, next to the Pequonnock River, for continuing the river walk.
According to Planimetrics and meeting minutes:
- The population has continued to increase to reach a little over 36,000, which was similar to the growth of the rest of Fairfield County. The largest part of Trumbull’s growth was the result of people moving into Town.
- The population is expected to stay stable over the next 10 years.
- Trumbull continues to draw families but the older population is increasing.
- Data also indicates that the school enrollment is expected to decline. "Samokar advised that these trends mirror those of neighboring towns," according to the meeting minutes.
- Housing trends indicated that single family dwellings are still the most significant majority. Trumbull’s affordable housing consists of 645 units. The Town still needs an additional 671 units to meet State affordable housing guidelines.
- Regarding economic trends, the majority of the Trumbull’s working residents are employed in town. The Town’s top five industries were retail, health care, finance, government and professional scientific services.
- Seventy-three percent of Trumbull’s expenditures were allocated for education with property taxes bringing in 87% of revenue. The Westfield Trumbull Mall is the biggest contributor to the Grand List.
Samokar also summarized the input gathered from the Commission and the public regarding the issues and topics the community considered most important. They were:
- The lack of a town center.
- Apply standards for establishing businesses in residential zones.
- Continue to encourage business development while still maintaining the Town’s residential character.
- Establish design guidelines for mixed-use areas.
Planimetrics will now prepare an outline of recommended updates to the current development plan, to be completed sometime in January. Then a meeting will be held with the Commission to review the recommendations and make any necessary adjustments.
A meeting will also be held with other Boards and Commissions to obtain their input, before Planimetrics creates the first full draft for the Commission’s review.
Two more hearings will also be held, prior to final acceptance, to allow for public feedback.
The next discussion of the plan is Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. in the Helen Plumb Building.