Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Woodstock Plan of Conservation & Development (POCD)

Sponsored by the Planning & Zoning Commission

We need your input on the future of Woodstock! 
Everyone is welcome to discuss general land use topics in addition to the special topics.

More meetings will be planned for 2014, please stay tuned!

Everyone is invited and welcome to participate. If you cannot attend a meeting, please consider submitting written input to Delia Fey regarding community character and regulating land use and development. 

  • Post-mail them in / drop them off (415 Route 169, Woodstock, CT 06281, Attn. Delia Fey)
  • Fax them over (fax # 860-963-7557, Attn. Delia Fey)
  • Email your responses back to Delia P. Fey.

Woodstock's Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD)

  • What is the POCD?
  • Why does Woodstock need one?
  • How is it related to A Plan of Open Space and Conservation (APOSC)?
  • How is the POCD created?
  • How can I get involved?
  • Where can I learn more (links)?

What is the Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD)?

The Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD), as it is called in Connecticut, is similar to what is called the 'Master Plan' or the 'Comprehensive Plan' in other states and prior to 1995, it was called the ‘Plan of Development’ in Connecticut.  The POCD is a visionary document created by the Planning Commission with the input of the community (residents, property owners, business owners, Town Boards and Commissions, etc.) that serves to guide future development of the Town.

The POCD has broader significance than Zoning within the Town and is not interchangeable with the Zoning or Zoning Regulations.  Instead, it serves as a guide for when amendments are proposed for the Subdivision or Zoning Regulations or for the Zoning Map.

The Connecticut General Statutes, Ch. 126 Municipal Planning Commissions, Section 8-23 details the requirements for how to create a POCD.  POCDs are required to be updated at a minimum of every ten years.

Why does Woodstock need one?

There are at least two big reasons why Woodstock needs a POCD.

  1. To meet requirements of the Connecticut General Statutes (Sec. 8-23).  The penalty for not having a plan or for not updating the plan by the ten-year deadline includes that the Town “shall not be eligible for discretionary state funding unless such prohibition is expressly waived by the Secretary of OPM.”
  2. A POCD is an important tool for the Town to use when determining the desires of the community at large for how growth and development should occur.  The POCD is an advisory document that guides important decisions in the Town such as the desired density, which in general terms is about how many households are appropriate for a given part of Town.  The Town should determine what the appropriate density should be, based on such factors as soil type, water quality, and other important natural and cultural resources, etc.

If there are no clear goals and objectives guiding the development of the community, the future of the community may depend on factors out of the community’s control such as what the regional, state-wide or even larger-scale market demands.  Leaving the evolution of the Town to the whims of the market could lead to great difficulty in meeting the needs of the Town’s residents for the desired quality of life.

The current Woodstock POCD was updated in 2002, therefore, the next update deadline was in 2012.  However, the state legislature has granted a few extensions for towns to complete their update.  The new deadline is July 1, 2015.

How is it related to A Plan of Open Space and Conservation (APOSC)?

A Plan of Open Space and Conservation (APOSC) was prepared by the Woodstock Conservation Commission and last revised on December 3, 2003. The APOSC is an advisory document that is used by the Conservation Commission when reviewing proposed development applications that go before the Planning and Zoning Commission (PZC). The document is also a guide for the PZC when considering community planning projects regarding land use such as regulation amendments.

How is the POCD created?

The Planning Commission works together and may create advisory committees to aid in facilitating participation of the community in drafting the update to the POCD.  Some Planning Commissions hire consultants to aid them in this lengthy project, while others do the job with the assistance of their Town Planner.  It is often a joint venture with many volunteers.  There are many steps to writing the update, including information gathering and meetings where the public is invited to provide input on important aspects of the Plan such as how municipal developments occur, the general welfare and prosperity of the community, recommendations for the most desirable use of land throughout town, whether zone changes would be appropriate in addition to current traffic flow / road layout, etc. The input guides decision makers when they consider regulations and policy changes that will affect future Town growth.

The PZC or POCD Update Committee will also review how the Town population has changed since the last update.  They will evaluate how the needs of the community have changed and in what ways they may change in the future, specifically in the way that these needs relate to or affect land use.

The current and past economic development of the Town is one of many areas of concern especially in light of the challenging economic climate we are facing now and possibly in the coming years.  Another area of concern is the level of environmental or natural resource protection and how that is an important element in planning for a community that maintains a high quality of life for all current and future Woodstock residents.

The strategies used to manage the change in land uses and resource protection shapes the community character and can greatly affect the lives of residents and property owners long into the future.

How can I get involved?

Come to meetings and get involved!  We want your input.

Everyone will be given numerous chances to be part of the process.  To be assured of not missing the meeting dates you can sign up for the Public Notice Registry via the Building Office.  The Town Planner will either email or post-mail you notices of when the meetings will occur so that you won’t miss a chance to get involved.

In order to make the process organized and manageable, we will have many meetings, each with a specific topic(s) to focus the discussion.

If you want to provide input on a certain topic but cannot determine when that topic will come up for discussion, please call Delia Fey, Town Planner, at (860) 963-2128 x332 or stop by her office in the Town Hall so she can help you determine a good time to provide that input.

A great Community Vision is the foundation for a good POCD! To create that community vision, we need your input!  The POCD Update process will be conducted in a manner where all are welcome, respected, and encouraged to share opinions.

Where can I learn more (links)?

 

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