Borough seeking opinions

The Naugatuck Planning Commission is conducting a survey to help update the borough's Plan of Conservation and Development.

NAUGATUCK — Residents want to bring more businesses downtown but keep historic properties the same, and they are most concerned about the future of the borough’s schools.

The Planning Commission is asking anyone who lives, works or owns property in the borough to add their opinions on the borough’s future, using a survey that will be analyzed while updating the borough’s Plan of Conservation and Development.

“All of the input will be utilized in part of the final plan, so participation is key,” Town Planner Keith Rosenfeld said.

The Plan of Conservation and Development, updated every 10 years, outlines generally where and how the borough wants to develop housing, business and educational facilities while preserving natural resources and open space. Land use regulations are derived from the plan, and the Planning Commission analyzes it before recommending permits for large developments such as shopping centers and multi-family housing developments.

Public opinion is solicited every time the plan is updated, Rosenfeld said. Flyers and business cards have appeared throughout the borough directing people to take the survey at Rosenfeld distributed materials at the All Arts Festival earlier this month and plans to do so again at the high school football game against Holy Cross later this month. The survey closes Oct. 31.

Fitzgerald & Halliday Inc., a community planning firm out of Hartford, has been contracted for about $40,000 to help the borough update its plan. The company and borough officials plan to hold at least one public workshop before the holidays for citizens to identify the borough’s strengths and weaknesses, Rosenfeld said.

Some of the survey’s 11 questions ask people to name five things about the borough they would change, five things they would keep the same and five new things they would bring to the borough.

The results thus far do not specify how many have answered, but 83 percent said they wanted more downtown businesses, almost 60 percent wanted more jobs and 57 percent wanted more arts, theaters, cultural venues and events.

Most of the respondents thus far live in the borough, are homeowners, are between the ages of 50 and 59 and do not have children in borough schools.

Although the borough’s last Plan of Conservation and Development dates back to 2001, the state is changing its own plan and has given municipalities an extension until 2014 to ensure all the plans conform, Rosenfeld said. Nevertheless, the borough’s plan should be finished by late winter or early spring, Rosenfeld said.

People can also call the land use office at (203) 720-7042 to express their opinions.