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Mr. Brass Bonanza

Newington

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Here's an article from the Newinton Town Crier about reusing exisiting developements for new ones. A little bit is discussed about the New Britain-Hartford busway and the New Haven-Springfield rail line. The actual article can be found at: http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=...11410&rfi=6

Town planner looking to 'recycle' older sites

By: Linda Tishler Levinson, Special to the Crier

04/10/2009

You could say it is a town recycling project. Since the town is largely developed, Newington is focusing on ways to best reuse older sites as it works on its Plan of Conservation and Development.

According to Town Planner Ed Meehan, he is working with town staff and a consulting firm, Planimetrics, to create a draft plan, as required by state statutes. The town received a grant from the state Office of Policy and Management for the project.

"The themes we're looking at are additional transportation corridors ... the opportunities in the town center for development associated with the Hartford Hospital property," Meehan said.

The town also wants to be proactive in recycling older sites, especially around its rail corridors, the town planner said. Among those sites is the National Welding property at Cedar Street and Fenn Road, on which the town recently foreclosed.

According to the vision statement created for the plan of development, the plan is based on the facts that the town has a limited supply of vacant land that can be developed, the reuse of existing commercial and industrial properties is essential for grand list growth, the town is strategically located for bus and rail transit options, the majority of the town's housing stock is more than 40 years old and the town's median age by 2020 is projected to be 46 and a fourth of the population will be over 65 years old.

School enrollment has been flat for a number of years, Meehan added. As the town ages, Meehan said its needs will change. In creating the town plan, they are talking to the staffs of the Senior and Disabled Center, Parks and Recreation Department and the Lucy Robbins Welles Library to learn how to realign for the population's needs.

Meehan said the town is fairly affordable, although little of its housing stock is deed restricted, so Newington does not receive much credit for having affordable housing. He noted the south end of town has more of the town's newer homes, with most of those in the north end having been built in the 1940s and 1950s.

The town has achieved the open space goals it had set in the previous town plan, he said. The acquisition of the development rights for the Young and Eddy farms and the Interstate 291 land from the state helped accomplish those goals. The town planner said he is now looking at ways to create greenways to link brooks and waterways.

The town plan will include its goals for the transportation corridor, as Newington looks at which way the proposed Hartford to New Britain busway goes. In town, all the property needed for the busway has been acquired. It will follow the old freight line and run parallel to the current Amtrak train tracks that are planned for commuter rail service creating a Springfield to New Haven line. Negotiations with Amtrak, however, have been proceeding slowly.

Among the challenges of the busway plan is to run next to the Amtrak and commuter rail lines while keeping passengers safe, Meehan said.

"We're really in a good position if this transit line takes off," Meehan said, adding that two or three stops are planned in town, including one near Central Connecticut State University.

If the transportation plan is going to be completed, he added, the town will lean toward higher density housing near the bus and train stations, to allow for greater use of public transportation.

The Town Plan and Zoning Commission will have the final vote on the plan of development, but first it will be presented to the public at a hearing in the fall. The plan is expected to be available for viewing in July, since it must by law be posted 65 days prior to a public hearing. The Town Council also will weigh in on the proposed plan before any vote is taken.

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