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Planners Want Some Breathing Room

Moratorium Proposed For Zone Changes, Larger Subdivisions

By GARY LIBOW
Courant Staff Writer

December 19 2005

CROMWELL -- The planning and zoning commission in early January will consider enacting a moratorium on applications for zone changes and subdivisions of more than 5 acres.

Town Planner Craig Minor said a moratorium would give the panel several months of breathing room while an advisory panel works to update Cromwell's plan of conservation and development.

The planning panel has scheduled a public hearing Jan. 3 in town hall for comment on the moratorium plan. The commission likely will vote the matter that evening, Minor said.

"For those who perceive that Cromwell is growing at a faster rate than it can absorb, this is a good way to put a stop to that while we can develop a town plan of development," Minor said Friday.

In recent weeks, Minor said, there has not been a flurry of zone change and subdivision applications filed by developers seeking to beat the moratorium.

Minor said one developer informed the town he will file a large-scale zone-change application to build residences for adults 55 and older. The planner expects another developer, eyeing a smaller-scale senior housing project, to file plans shortly.

First Selectman Paul Beaulieu said enacting a moratorium for several months makes sense.

"Land use is a huge issue in this town," he said. "We need to go slowly."

Beaulieu said the advisory panel's recommendations could significantly impact land values, and should be deliberated without stringent deadlines.

If the commission votes to enact the moratorium, it will be the second imposed in recent years, Beaulieu said.

The state requires municipalities to update their plan of conservation and development every 10 years.

For 10 months, the advisory panel has met regularly to tabulate survey results and research. The finished document will contain strategies and direction on how the town should evolve.

Copyright 2005, Hartford Courant