P&Z commission to hold public POCD meetings
FAIRFIELD — The town planning and zoning commission will be holding three public meetings to collect ideas for the next plan of conservation and development.
James Wendt, the planning director of the planning and zoning commission, said a POCD is a goals and aspirations document.
“It sets the policy agenda for land use in town for about a 10-year period,” Wendt said. “It’s distinguished from the zoning rules and regulations because (they) are the rules of the road — what you can and cannot do. Ideally, the goals that are put forth in the plan of conservation and development are reflected in the regulations.”
Wendt said the meetings are a chance for Fairfield residents to offer their ideas for changes in land use policy.
The meetings are on Jan. 29 at Sacred Heart University, West Campus, West Building Cafeteria, 3135 Easton Turnpike; on Feb. 4 at the Dolan School of Business Event Hall, 1073 N. Benson Road, and on Feb. 6 at Penfield Pavilion, 323 Fairfield Beach Road.
Each workshop starts at 6:30 p.m. and is expected to end around 9 p.m. The meetings each have the same agenda. According to a press release from the department, attendees should be prepared for hands-on participation with conversation and creativity.
The release also said First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick is encouraging the public to attend.
“It’s important we welcome new development and businesses that fit into the character of our beautiful town,” Kupchick said in the release. “Planning ahead and seeking public input is an important component as we move Fairfield forward.”
Wendt said the POCD is also important because it can be harder to get state grant money for a project if it is not part of the plan.
The director said there is growing pressure from the community to increase the grand list by expanding the commercial tax base.
“People have a good sense of this community,” Wendt said. “We want to look for where there might be opportunities for economic development.”
Wendt said the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management requires municipalities to update their POCD every 10 years. The last plan the town was credited for was developed in 2016, so crafting an updated plan is not time-sensitive.
“The commission wanted to get ahead of it and do it because they felt the time was right based on other work that we’ve done,” Wendt said, adding that development plans had more recently been focused on the areas surrounding the Fairfield Metro and Fairfield Center railroad stations.
Wendt said the workshops will help the commission decide what areas it may need to take a deeper dive into.
Each of the venues have a capacity of approximately 100; Wendt said he is hoping for 80 to 100 participants at each session.
“One of the strengths of this community... is that there is a pretty robust public participation in the town’s affairs,” said Wendt.