Thursday, May 13, 2021

Local News

Chester Adopts Plan of Conservation and Development

After more than a year of preparation and review, the Town of Chester Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) 2019-’29 has been officially approved and will become effective as of April 1, 2019. The 53-page POCD is the town’s detailed plan that outlines how the town plans to strengthen its economy while protecting its character and is used as a guide for all land use and economic development efforts.

“It’s a good plan that gives us all a roadmap and guidelines to follow into the future,” said First Selectman Lauren Gister. “We gathered a lot of information from the town boards, commissions, and committees as well as the town residents and we have compiled a document we will be able to work from for the next decade.”

Some of what the plan identifies is Chester’s goals to increase pedestrian, bicycle, and transit connectivity, as well as diversifying Chester’s housing while protecting the existing neighborhoods. It also details a plan to preserve the rural character of Chester, as well as provide high quality services and facilities to support the high quality of life for the residents.

In addition, it includes information about maintaining the village district as the economic, social and cultural hub of the town and the community, and supporting the mixed-use development of appropriate design and commercial activity and civic use, as well as covering information pertaining to the support of water-based recreation and tourism uses along the riverfront, which would help support existing marinas and businesses while enhancing opportunities to connect the waterfront to the village. There are also portions of the plan that address reducing waste and increase the renewable energies in town.

A Planning Task Force that included representatives from the Board of Selectman, Board of Finance, Planning & Zoning Commission, Economic Development Commission,Board of Education, and the Park & and Recreation Commission was established to guide the process of the plan. Public engagement was enlisted, starting in fall 2017 via a town-wide survey, the results of which helped drive the completed document.

“This document was a wonderful collaboration between the selectmen the Board of Finance and all the boards and commission that serve the town as well as the residents,” said Planning & Zoning Commission Chairman Jon Lavy. “There were several workshops and surveys that collected information that brought the concerns of the town residents to light and helped us to determine what the citizens where looking for moving forward.

“Everyone did a great job collaborating,” Lavy added. “A special thanks goes out to secretary Bettie Perreault, who did a great job taking notes, editing the document several times, and keeping us all on task so we made the deadline to submit the plan to the state.”

The state requires all municipalities to update their POCD every 10 years; the due date for Chester’s plan was March 15.

“It is a wonderful guiding plan and document, if you will, to help maintain the future success of Chester,” said Lavy.

A full copy of the plan, complete with detailed maps, is available on the Town of Chester’s website and in the Town Clerk’s Office.

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