Resident Wayne Addessi wrote a blog on Newtown Patch this week calling for more sidewalks and bike lanes in town. His idea was to call upon developers to install sidewalks as part of their “in Lieu of” agreement.
In many cases, developers will either donate a percentage of the land they intend to develop, or, they will donate an amount of money in lieu of land, in order to purchase other land.
In Addessi’s blog, he wrote,
However, George Benson, Director of Planning and Land Use, responded to Addessi’s suggestions, and said, “The Land Use Agency and P&Z have been very active in promoting sidewalks. Two years ago, the Land Use Agency developed a Town Wide Sidewalk Plan that connects Wasserman Way, South Main Street, Queen Street, Church Hill Road and Route 34. Along these routes we have applied for grants to install sidewalks and were successful with a grant from the CTDOT for South Main Street.”
Benson further explained that according to state statutes, the in lieu system only refers to subdivisions, not commercial projects, and that land must be purchased in the in lieu circumstances.
“In commercial developments we are now requiring sidewalks,” Benson said. “However the developer can only be required to install sidewalks in front of their property, such as we did with the sidewalk at Walgreens. In the case of Toll Brothers, the original application was granted several years ago before sidewalks were an issue.”
According to Benson, the town does not possess the statutory power to require payments for off site improvements, beyond roads that are adjacent to the lot. He also noted that when large developments are built on State roads, the improvements are mandated by the State.
First Selectman Patricia Llodra was in agreement that sidewalks and bike paths are good ideas for the town. “We are very interested in creating a network of sidewalks throughout our commercial and town center areas. We are promoting inclusion of sidewalks in our town plan of conservation and development, and we are applying for grants whenever the opportunity arises.”
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