“Looking Forward” – Plan of Conservation & Development Update/Phase 1 Town of Farmington, CT
GreenWoods Associates provided consultant services for Phase 1 of the Update of the 1995 POCD for the Town of Farmington, CT, a community of 24,000 residents approximately fifteen miles west of the City of Hartford. This role included analysis of the Town’s 1995 Plan and related documents, working closely with Town Staff, a knowledgeable and dedicated Steering Committee, and a larger Citizen Advisory Committee to design and lead citizen participation events focusing on the various elements of the Plan.
Prior to framing the Looking Forward public participation process, GWA analyzed the goals, objectives and policies of the 1995 Plan to determine which among these had been completed, were almost completed, or not implemented at all. Through this review process, it became clear that the Town had completed or initiated work on almost 90% of the goals expressed in the 1995 POCD. For example, work on the goal of extensive land acquisition for open space preservation had already begun. GWA’s analysis served as a starting point for developing group exercises for the various public meetings, especially focusing on whether to validate or to revise policies in the existing plan.
The development of the POCD Update began with identifying the overriding philosophy of the Town’s stakeholders toward development and conservation. These points of basic agreement, expressed as a set of “Guiding Principles,” were validated through the first public meeting. They were then used to develop goals, objectives, and specific policies of the Plan, which provides specifically for protection of the Town’s environmental resources.
On this basis, a “Planning Arch” was developed at bi-monthly meetings with the Citizen Advisory Committee, at three Public Workshops focusing on particular topical areas, and through a written comments from citizens and other stakeholders who could not participate in the public meetings.
GWA analyzed the recommendations these events and comments produced, and then prepared a draft and a final report for use by the Town’s Planning Department, the Planning and Zoning Commission, the Town Council, its citizens and other stakeholders. GWA’s locally tailored public participation approach led to identification of innovative, sustainable solutions to meet the Town’s future needs in the areas of land use, housing, community facilities, economic, offices and retail spaces, transportation, green space, environmental conservation, historic preservation, and neighborhood identity and revitalization.
Mr. Jeffrey Ollendorf, AICP, Planning Director (retired)
Town of Farmington, CT