A decision by the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) to reject the Town of North Branford’s land reclassification application was unanimously overturned Thursday, September 22nd by the continuing legislative committee on state Planning and Development. State Representative Vincent J. Candelora, who represents North Branford, spoke in favor of the Town of North Branford’s application to make three changes to the State’s Plan of Conservation and Development, a guide used by the state for land classification, along designated areas of Route 80 and Route 22.
“This approval is significant for North Branford. Not only does it remove an unnecessary encumbrance for reasonable economic development, but it also makes these areas eligible for state funding and aid- whether it be for a traffic light, sewers or public water- our community can work in partnership with the state,” said Candelora.
“I am grateful that the committee found our position persuasive. Much of the land the state classified as ‘conservation’ areas in our proposed changes were already developed areas and designated that way by town zoning. With two different zoning codes, the state could not partner with the town in its economic development efforts to revitalize the area and bring jobs to our local community. Now, with these changes, we can be partners in progress for these areas of the Town of North Branford,” said Town Manager Richard Branigan.
The first area for reclassification is the former Town Hall Site at the intersection of Routes 80 and 139, which was classified as a conservation area in the State Plan of Conservation and Development. The town has the area designated for commercial development. The second area in question was a section along the Route 80 corridor from Merrick Drive to the East Haven Town line. The town applied to have the land classification switched from a designated Conservation Area to a Neighborhood Conservation Area. The third segment was a change in the designation in the area north of Clintonville Road (Route 22) that, by town classification, is considered an existing industrial zone. The area has been designated by the town for industrial use since the 1960’s with existing development throughout the acreage. The state, however, has the area designated as a Conservation Area.
“The conflicting misclassification of land in North Branford between the town and state zoning areas has been an issue for over 20 years. The town has sought to work with the state to fix the zoning classification for years and finally our efforts have paid off,” said Candelora.
The town submitted its application for the classification changes on May 18, 2011 and on August 10, 2011, the state held a public hearing at which town officials, State Representative Candelora and South Central Regional Water Authority all testified in favor of the changes. Backed also by the support of State Senator Ed Meyer, after much debate the committee voted unanimously to overturn OPM’s decision.
“The town’s proposals focus in substantial part on the installation of sewers and storm-water management systems, and those features are supported by the South Central Regional Water Authority,” wrote State Senator Ed Meyer in a letter to the committee. “Essentially, North Branford’s proposals will improve responsible development opportunities in areas of the town that are already commercially developed.”
For more information on the state Planning and Development Committee vote, contact State Representative Vincent J. Candelora’s office at 1-800-842-1423 or via email at Vincent.Candelora@housegop.ct.gov.