Strategy to focus on community accessibility, traffic congestion
Published 12:00 am, Friday, June 16, 2017
WESTPORT — The 2017 installment of the town’s planning strategy recommends an emphasis on protecting community character, increased bicycle, bus and pedestrian accessibility as well as efforts to quell traffic congestion.
In his presentation, Glenn Chalder, of Planimetrics, who compiled the 2007 Plan of Conservation and Development, explained the plan is an advisory document used to guide the long-term physical, economic and social goals of the town.
Chalder gave his presentation at the June 8 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting where plenty of the public voiced their praise and concerns about the POCD and what they think needs to be changed.
Open space, including parks, was flagged as a something that needed to be protected along with coastal resources and dredging the Saugatuck River, which has not been done in 47 years.
The commitment to promote sustainability with initiatives like energy conservation, water conservation, and waste reduction encouraged members of the Green Task Force.
“We’re happy the town is weaving in sustainability,” said David Mann, chair of the Green Task Force.
Guiding residential development efforts includes continuing to address affordable housing, monitoring housing change needs and revisiting residential districts. Jeff Wieser — the CEO of Homes With Hope, who has been a champion for affordable housing in town — said he didn’t like the plan’s section on affordable housing because it didn’t call for a move to expand such options.
“I was very disappointed to see the section on affordable housing. There isn’t really a goal to expand housing as it did in the last one... There is no commitment to adding choice or increasing choice for housing,” Wieser said. Since 2010, he has worked to house 115 homeless people and provide long-term housing options in Westport and other area municipalities.
The infrastructure plan seeking to “implement a complete streets approach” and support rail and bus transit was addressed by Peter Gold, Representative Town Meeting 5, said “I would like to see the plan make specific plans about what to do about the traffic congestion.” He also said if parking is increased it would take away from bus transit.
The commission, along with Chalder, said they would take into account the public input. Westporters can email email@example.com by June 23 to voice their opinion on the direction of the POCD.