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ABOUT TOWN: Plan ideas

About-Town-Margaret-WirtenbergAny new ideas lately?

As I recall, the town plan of 2010 had some. Some of these were fresh and eye-opening.

One that I was certainly delighted to see was the suggestion of temporary street closings. For the purpose of “community” building. Such as closing School Road to traffic, and the suggestion that other sections of town might want to have neighborhood activities of a similar nature.

Another idea was to continue the purchase of development rights. This was first accomplished by the administration of former First Selectman George Guidera.

Perhaps at this time transfers of development rights might be a more broadly applicable concept.

Leasing town-owned parcels was floated. This might make it possible to bring in income on previously tax exempt property. While, of course, not violating town plan or environmental concerns.

And the selectmen have picked up on this. Despite the rigors of the election campaign, the concept of the Lachat property actually becoming something prevailed, with the proviso that Mr. Lachat’s wishes for the property would be protected — no destroying the farm, the farmstead, or the gorgeous view.

At the same time, the town plan of 2010 questioned the continued viability of keeping Weston as “rural” as it has always been, in the face of a weakening of the grand list. Put simply, house values do not always just go up.

I am somewhat in disagreement with this, because land and the natural environment are things that are in limited supply. They are not being made any more.

The supply and demand relationship is what is most important in Weston’s case. Why move to Weston if some other Fairfield County community is less expensive?

Can we expand our thinking about land use planning? How about air rights swaps?

“Out of the box” thinking might also include a redefinition of exactly what constitutes “building coverage.”

Centrality

That recent town plan also recognized that the center of town needs strengthening. But how? And exactly where is the center of town?

The latter question is actually an easy one to answer. Consider what the visual cues are that tell people they have arrived in downtown Weston. Notable are the traffic light at Norfield and Weston roads, and from the other direction the “H” intersection where Newtown Turnpike and Georgetown Road join Weston Road.

This is our spine. The town’s neurological center. Extending from it is the superblock of School Road facilities, including their tertiary treatment plant. Also in this area are town hall, the Weston Public Library, and the main fire house.

Across the street is Weston Shopping Center. And although we may not have a doctor’s office in town anymore, we still have a veterinarian, right next door!

NOTE: “About Town” is also a television program. It appears on Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30 to 6 p.m. on Cablevision Channel 88 (Public Access). Or see it at aboutweston.com. This week’s guest is Amy Kalafa, award winning documentary filmmaker, author, and member of Weston’s Lachat Oversight Committee.

About author
Check out Margaret Wirtenberg's website: http://www.aboutweston.com/

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