TOD and Center School Redevelopment Plan

What is it? How does it impact us?

What Is TOD and Do We Care?

Transit-oriented development (TOD) is a planning and design strategy that consists in promoting urban development that is compact, mixed-use, pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly, and closely integrated with mass transit by clustering jobs, housing, services, and amenities around public transport stations.

Do we care?  TOD guidelines (regulations) is driving the Center School Redevelopment Plan, both from the Town of Stratford and from the developers who applied to the Town’s Request for Proposal on the property.

Why? (aka Follow the Money)

Federal: The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formed a Partnership for Sustainable Communities in 2009.

The partnership has worked to coordinate investments and planning among the agencies to work toward their shared goals, which include increasing transportation choices, supporting existing communities, promoting equitable and affordable housing, and enhancing economic competiveness.

In 2009 The Town of Stratford was awarded a $50,000 grant to be used to create a community- and stakeholder-driven consensus around appropriate types of TOD in Stratford Center and build community awareness and support for transit-oriented development. This award was based on our then Mayor Jim Miron attending and participating in the 2007 Mayors’ Institute on City Design, a national program that works with local leaders to promote TCD and fine-tune their existing plan.

State: In 2014, LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation), the State of Connecticut Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD), and the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) launched a $15 million loan fund to encourage transit-oriented development (TOD) around station stops along CTfastrak and the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield rail corridor.

In April of 2016, the Connecticut TOD Fund was expanded to cover all bus rapid transit and commuter rail corridors statewide, Including: CTfastrak, the Hartford Line, Shoreline East, and MetroNorth – New Haven Main Line and the New Canaan, Danbury, and Waterbury Branch lines.

The fund includes $13 million from LISC, $1 million from the State of Connecticut DECD, and $1 million from CHFA. The fund is managed by LISC. It provides predevelopment and acquisition loans to eligible projects to promote a mix of transit-oriented uses including new housing, retail, and commercial space.

In 2012, the Town of Stratford was awarded a $225,000 grant through the State of Connecticut’s Office of Policy and Management to identify strategies supportive of Transit Oriented Development (TOD) in Stratford Center.

In 2015 Stratford received $200,000 to fund the development of a Complete Streets Improvement Plan for Stratford Center, within a half mile of the Stratford Train Station.  The Plan will identify the need for transportation-related improvements in the area, including bicycle/pedestrian mobility, urban design strategies, and green infrastructure, among others.

In 2017 the State of Connecticut awarded Stratford $450,000 in funding under a competitive grant program that supports transit-oriented development and responsible growth in the state and is targeted at boosting economic activity and creating jobs. The $450,000 was for complete street technical design project, and come under the state’s Responsible Growth and Transit-Oriented Development Grant Program, which is administered by the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) and relies on a combination of funding from the Responsible Growth Incentive Fund and the Transit-Oriented Development and Pre-development Fund.

In addition, the partnership has helped to streamline federal grants. One such example is a recent $96 million award in planning grants to help local communities align their housing, transportation and workforce investments to maximize benefits.

House Bill 5429

The Planning & Development Committee has scheduled a public hearing on HB 5429 for Monday March 14th at 10 a.m. HB 5429 is an Act Concerning Transit Oriented Development.

Think it’s smart to develop equitable housing options near transit? You’re right — especially with $1.3 billion projected to come Connecticut’s way for public transit in the infrastructure bill.

Desegregate CT supports this bill.  For more information on their point of view go to: www.desegregatect.org/toc

 

General Assembly

Raised Bill No. 5429
February Session, 2022 LCO No. 3038
Referred to Committee on PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT
Introduced by:
(PD)

AN ACT CONCERNING TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT.

 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

 

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2022) (a) As used in this section,

(1) “as of right” means able to be approved in accordance with the terms

of a zoning regulation and without requiring that a public hearing be

held, a variance, special permit or special exception be granted or some

other discretionary zoning action be taken, and (2) “dwelling unit”

means any house or building, or portion thereof, that is occupied,

designed to be occupied, or rented, leased or hired out to be occupied,

exclusively as a home or residence of one or more persons, without age

restrictions, and suitable for families with children.

 

(b) Any zoning regulations adopted pursuant to section 8-2 of the

general statutes, as amended by this act, shall allow, as of right, housing

developments with a minimum overall average gross density of fifteen

dwelling units per acre located within a half-mile radius of any

passenger rail or commuter rail station or any bus rapid transit station,

provided a municipality with multiple such stations may calculate

overall average allowable gross density across all such stations.

(c) Any zoning regulations adopted pursuant to section 8-2 of the

general statutes, as amended by this act, may impose parking

requirements not to exceed one parking spot for any studio or one-

bedroom dwelling unit, and two parking spots for each dwelling unit

that contains two or more bedrooms for any housing development with

a minimum overall average gross density of at least fifteen dwelling

units per acre located within a half-mile radius of any passenger rail or

commuter rail station or any bus rapid transit station.

 

(d) The following lands are exempt from the requirements of

subsection (b) of this section: Roadways, railways, regulated inland

wetlands and watercourses areas, steep slopes of fifteen per cent or

more in grade change within a single lot, ledges, special flood hazard

areas defined by   the   Federal   Emergency   Management   Agency,

wetlands defined in section 22a-29 of the general statutes, public

parkland, land subject to conservation or preservation restrictions as

defined in section 47-42a of the general statutes, coastal resources

protected by the Connecticut Coastal Management Act, areas necessary

for the protection of drinking water supplies, areas identified as likely

to be inundated during a thirty-year flood event by the Connecticut

Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation pursuant to the

institute’s responsibilities to   conduct   sea   level   change   scenarios

pursuant to subsection (b) of section 25-68o of the general statutes, and

areas that are not served by water and sewer infrastructure.

 

(e) Any development permitted pursuant to subsection (b) of this

section, which includes six or more dwelling units on one lot, shall set

aside not less than ten per cent of the dwelling units in a manner that

meets the requirements of (1) assisted housing as defined in section 8-

30g of the general statutes, or (2) affordable housing as defined in

section 8-30g of the general statutes. Any municipality may provide for

incentives, including, but not limited to, higher density development

standards, for developers that include assisted housing, as defined in

section 8-30g of the general statutes, in any such development.

 

(f) The as of right permit application and review process for approval

 

 

of housing described in this section shall require that a decision on any

such application be rendered not later than sixty-five days after receipt

of such application by the applicable zoning official, except that an

applicant may consent to one or more extensions of not more than an

additional sixty-five days for each such extension or may withdraw such

 

 

(g) If a municipality fails to adopt new regulations or amend existing

regulations to comply with the provisions of this section prior to

October 1, 2022, any such noncompliant existing regulation shall be void

and such municipality shall approve or deny applications in accordance

with the requirements of this section until such municipality adopts or

amends a regulation in compliance with the provisions of this section.

 

(h) No municipality shall (1) use or impose standards to discourage

through unreasonable costs or delays the development of housing

developments described in this section, or (2) condition the approval of

such housing developments on the correction of a nonconforming use,

structure or lot.

 

2. Subsection (d) of section 8-2 of the 2022 supplement to the

general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu

thereof (Effective October 1, 2022):

 

(d) Zoning regulations adopted pursuant to subsection (a) of this

section shall not:

 

(1) Prohibit the operation of any family child care home or group

child care home in a residential zone;

 

(2) (A) Prohibit the use of receptacles for the storage of items

designated for recycling in accordance with section 22a-241b or require

that such receptacles comply with provisions for bulk or lot area, or

similar provisions, except provisions for side yards, rear yards and front

yards; or (B) unreasonably restrict access to or the size of such

receptacles for businesses, given the nature of the business and the

volume of items designated for recycling in accordance with section 22a-

 

 

241b, that such business produces in its normal course of business,

provided nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit such

regulations from requiring the screening or buffering of such receptacles

for aesthetic reasons;

 

(3) Impose conditions and requirements on manufactured homes,

including mobile manufactured homes, having as their narrowest

dimension twenty-two feet or more and built in accordance with federal

manufactured home construction and safety standards or on lots

containing such manufactured homes, including mobile manufactured

home parks, if those conditions and requirements are substantially

different from conditions and requirements imposed on (A) single-

family dwellings; (B) lots containing single-family dwellings; or (C)

multifamily dwellings, lots containing multifamily dwellings, cluster

developments or planned unit developments;

 

(4) (A) Prohibit the continuance of any nonconforming use, building

or structure existing at the time of the adoption of such regulations; (B)

require a special permit or special exception for any such continuance;

(C) provide for the termination of any nonconforming use solely as a

result of nonuse for a specified period of time without regard to the

intent of the property owner to maintain that use; or (D) terminate or

deem abandoned a nonconforming use, building or structure unless the

property owner of   such   use,   building   or   structure   voluntarily

discontinues such use, building or structure and such discontinuance is

accompanied by an intent to not reestablish such use, building or

The demolition or deconstruction of a nonconforming use,

building or structure shall not by itself be evidence of such property

owner’s intent to not reestablish such use, building or structure;

 

(5) Prohibit the installation, in accordance with the provisions of

section 8-1bb, of temporary health care structures for use by mentally or

physically impaired persons if such structures comply with the

provisions of said section, unless the municipality opts out in

accordance with the provisions of subsection (j) of said section;

 

 

(6) Prohibit the operation in a residential zone of any cottage food

operation, as defined in section 21a-62b;

 

(7) Establish for any dwelling unit a minimum floor area that is

greater than the minimum floor area set forth in the applicable building,

housing or other code;

 

(8) Place a fixed numerical or percentage cap on the number of

dwelling units that constitute multifamily housing over four  units,

middle housing or mixed-use development that may be permitted in the

municipality;

 

(9) Require more than one parking space for each studio or one-

bedroom dwelling unit or more than two parking spaces for each

dwelling unit with two or more bedrooms, unless the municipality opts

out in accordance with the provisions of section 8-2p; [or]

 

(10) Be applied to deny any land use application, including for any

site plan approval, special permit, special exception or other zoning

approval, on the basis of (A) a district’s character, unless such character

is expressly articulated in such regulations by clear and explicit physical

standards for site   work   and   structures,   or   (B)   the   immutable

characteristics, source of income or income level of any applicant or end

user, other than age or disability whenever age-restricted or disability-

restricted housing may be permitted; [.] or

 

(11) Prohibit the as of right development of housing developments

with a minimum overall average gross density of fifteen dwelling units

per acre that are located within a half-mile radius of any passenger rail

or commuter rail station or any bus rapid transit station, in accordance

with the provisions of section 1 of this act.

 

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:
Section 1 October 1, 2022 New section
Sec. 2 October 1, 2022 8-2(d)

Statement of Purpose:

To allow for the as of right development of housing with a minimum overall gross density of fifteen dwelling units per acre located within a half-mile radius of any passenger rail or commuter rail station or any bus rapid transit station.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]

How to Participate in Public Hearing (Make Your Voice Heard)

STEP 1: Prepare & Submit Written Testimony

  • As an organization:
    • If you want to write it yourself: helpful talking points are here
    • If you want guidance from us: contact us here
  • As an individual:
    • We encourage you to write it yourself: helpful ideas are here
  • To submit written testimony:
    • 1) email it to P&D committee here or 2) email it to us and we will submit it on your behalf
  • IMPORTANT: Deadline to submit written testimony is Monday March 14th @ 10 am

STEP 2: Signup & Prepare to Testify at the Public Hearing

  • To sign up:
  • To prepare:
    • You will be given 3 minutes
    • Prepare in advance (read below for pointers)
    • Anticipate questions from committee members (talking points on TOCs here)
  • IMPORTANT: Deadline to register to testify at the hearing is Sunday March 13th @ 3 pm

 

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.