Town Plan: Listening sessions rescheduled, first meeting set for Tuesday

The Planning and Zoning Commission’s listening sessions — a chance for town agencies to weigh in on what should go in and what should be left out of the commission’s 10-year rewrite of the Plan of Conservation and Development — have been rescheduled for dates in March, April and May.
The listening sessions were originally set to begin with a meeting on Jan. 29. That meeting was canceled due to weather. 
The three Tuesday night sessions will begin at 7:30 p.m. The first will be held March 5, with the following two on April 2 and May 7. All three will be held in the lower level conference room in the town hall annex at 66 Prospect St. If that space is unavailable, the sessions will be held in the planning and zoning room next door.
The Board of Selectmen, state Sen. Will Haskell, the Western Connecticut Council of Governments, and state Reps. John Frey and Kenneth Gucker have been invited to all three of the meetings.
The March 5 listening session will focus on sustainability and conservation. That means topics like maintaining open space and scenic areas, pedestrian-friendly planning, and public art, according to a booklet from Planimetrics, the firm hired to rewrite the town plan. 
“The town’s doing a great job of preserving open space and natural resources,” said Glenn Chalder of Planimetrics.
He said discussions around home solar arrays could come up. In December, neighbors of a house being built off Canterbury Lane sparked a protest over the home’s ground-based solar array. The case has since made its way to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Groups invited to the March 5 meeting include the Conservation Commission; Historic District Commission; Sustainable CT; the Tree Committee and John Pinchbeck, the town tree warden; Architectural Advisory Committee; Parks and Recreation Commission; Land Conservancy of Ridgefield; Ridgefield Historical Society; Ridgefield Playhouse; Ridgefield Action Committee On The Environment (RACE); and the Norwalk River Valley Trail.
The April 2 listening session will focus on topics related to development, including plans to revitalize the area around the Branchville train station, business and economic development, planning for the future of the downtown village area, and housing.
Invited guests include the Economic & Community Development Commission, the Chamber of Commerce, the Housing Authority and Affordable Housing Committee, Downtown Ridgefield, the Housing Authority, the Affordable Housing Committee, the Parking Authority, the Health Department, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Building Department, and the Board of Realtors.
The listening session on May 7 will focus on infrastructure in town. 
“Infrastructure is a funky name,” said Chalder. The topic includes traditional infrastructure — things like water and sewer — but also community facilities, transportation, and pedestrian facilities.
Guests include the Board of Education and Superintendent William Collins; Parks and Recreation Commission; Water Pollution Control Authority; Board of Finance; Commission on Aging; Commission for Accessibility Youth Commission; Highway Department and the town engineer; Department of Social Services; Golf Committee; WestCOG; the Community Center; Dick Aarons, the director of emergency preparedness; Housatonic Area Regional Transit; Ridgefield Library; Fire Department; Police Department; Sustainable CT; and the town Information Technology Department.
While the sessions will be open to the public, there will not be a portion of time for public comments.
“It will be interesting to see what the conversation is — to see what the town of Ridgefield needs in the future,” said Chalder.