MERIDEN — City officials are set for a public hearing Wednesday on a final draft of the Plan of Conservation and Development.
The public hearing will be at 6:30 p.m. on the third floor of the Board of Education building on Liberty Street.
The plan is a 10-year roadmap of goals and objectives. Every municipality is required by state law to adopt a new one every 10 years.
“The Plan of Conservation and Development is a ‘blueprint’ of the city,” Mayor Kevin Scarpati tweeted from the City of Meriden’s Twitter account. “It outlines Meriden’s vision for the future and provides guidance to elected officials and decision-makers when they make land use, zoning and capital investment decisions.”
City staff and POCD committee members have worked on the plan for nearly a year assisted by representatives from BFJ Planning, a New York-based company. The 155-page document covers zoning, economic development, housing, parks and recreation, schools, infrastructure, utilities, transportation and more. The city’s Department of Development and Enforcement took the lead in the process.
The report also provides a wealth of demographic information and addresses future challenges, including attracting investment downtown and declining occupancy at Westfield Meriden mall, the city’s largest single taxpayer.
“Commercial real property accounted for 17.6% of properties on the Grand List, while industrial real property only accounted for 1.7% of properties on the Grand List. In comparison, residential property makes up 56.8% of the city’s total assessed property value,” the draft says. “With such a high concentration of the city’s real property value tied into residential properties, any increase in municipal expenditures for general government services and education is felt by the average homeowner in the form of property taxes.”
The draft identified potential development opportunities, such as at South Mountain Road, Research Parkway, and Hall Farm. Residents were asked about priorities during the formulation of the draft.
The City Council must approve the plan draft before it’s submitted to the state.
City Planner Renata Bertotti identified areas for possible action – economic development, property maintenance and blight, safety, road maintenance, parks and trails.
City officials hope to recruit members of the public to serve on focus groups to help implement some of its recommendations.
Members of the POCD Steering Committee include Planning Commission members Enrico Buccilli, Lenny Rich, Laura Uhrig and David Cooley. It also includes members of the City Council’s Economic Development Housing and Zoning Committee – David Lowell, Michael Cardona, Sonya Jelks, Dan Brunet and Nicole Tomassetti.
In addition to Bertotti, city staff involved in the project were City Manager Tim Coon, Economic Development Director Joseph Feest and Assistant Planner Paul Dickson.