Climate change and open space, crosswalks and affordable housing — a lot goes into making the town work for the next 10 years, and now town boards and commissions will get a chance to weigh in directly. The Planning and Zoning Commission has scheduled three “listening sessions” to gather public input for the update to the town Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD).
The meetings are open to the general public, but will not have a time for public comment, said chairwoman Rebecca Mucchetti.
“It’s a way to bring the collective wisdom of everyone who serves on a board or commission about what Ridgefield should have in its next POCD,” said Glenn Chalder of Planimetrics, the firm hired by the commission to head up the update to the plan.
The first meeting will be held Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 7:30 p.m. in the lower level of the town hall annex. It will be held either in the Board of Education meeting room, or, if the school board needs the room, the Planning and Zoning room next door.
Assistant Planner Daniel Robinson said the meeting will focus on conservation and sustainability. “‘That includes sustainability, climate change, natural resources, open space, community character …. that sort of thing,” said Robinson.
“‘We’ve specifically invited commission members, board members, and outside groups — for instance, the Norwalk River Valley Trail,” said Robinson of the Jan. 29 meeting.
It will give them a chance to say “what they liked about the past POCD, what they think should be changed,” he added.
Mucchetti noted that the commission plans to hold public hearings for the public to give their input at a later date.
Future “listening sessions” are also planned for March 5 and April 2, which will also be held at 7:30 in the school board conference room in the town hall annex.
The meeting on March 5 will focus on questions on development, including plans to develop Branchville, housing development, affordable housing, and Ridgefield’s downtown, Robinson said.
The commission has invited the town health department, building department, the Economic and Community Development Commission (ECDC), and Chamber of Commerce to speak at that meeting.
The third meeting on April 2 will focus on town infrastructure.
That includes “community facilities,” such as Parks and Recreation, and the police and fire departments, Robinson explained.
There will also be discussion on transportation, pedestrian access and sidewalks, train service; as well as public utilities, like water, sewer, and access to wifi.
Robinson said the commission has invited First Selectman Rudy Marconi to attend each of the meetings, as well as state Sen. Will Haskell and state Rep. John Frey. Representatives from the Western Connecticut Council of Governments might also attend.
Under Connecticut state law, the commission has to update the town POCD every 10 years.
“It’s a fun meeting.” said Chalder. “I’m excited.”