NAUGATUCK — The borough should expand housing options, revitalize downtown, grow its skilled workforce, preserve open space and increase opportunities for modes of travel.
Those are some of the recommendations in the final draft of the 2013 Plan of Conservation and Development, a document updated about once every decade that provides a vision of the future for land use boards and commissions to work toward.
A hearing on the proposed plan will be held Thursday at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.
Fitzgerald & Halliday, a Hartford-based planning and environmental analysis firm, completed the plan for $40,000. Now the Planning Commission is seeking residents’ input.
“It’s a much more honest approach to the strengths and weaknesses of the future of Naugatuck,” Town Planner Keith Rosenfeld said.
A link to the proposed plan can be found on the borough’s website, www.naugatuck-ct.gov.
The last plan was completed in 2001, but municipalities were recently given extensions to complete their plans while the state finished its own.
The 2001 plan for the borough suggested development possibilities for vacant land but barely considered sites that could be redeveloped. The new plan suggests the redevelopment of many large former manufacturing sites, such as the former Peter Paul property on New Haven Road and the General DataComm site on Rubber Avenue, for nonindustrial uses.
The borough belongs to the Council of Governments of the Central Naugatuck Valley, which writes its own development plan, but it could end up joining a COG that contains towns in the lower valley and Bridgeport area.
Rosenfeld said he thinks the new plan would conform to the wishes of either COG. The state is discussing ways to connect Waterbury to New Britain and Berlin, while Route 8, the Metro-North railway and proximity to Interstate 84 tie the borough to both the central and southern portions of the state.
“This plan for Naugatuck recognizes the connectivity it has between its northern neighbors and its southern communities as well,” Rosenfeld said.
The 2001 plan for the borough was more traditional, but the updated one was completed using a process that analyzes the borough’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, Rosenfeld said. The new plan also includes a process for annual updates.
Residents have already weighed in through an online survey that was also distributed on paper during some borough events. About 70 percent of respondents said they would like to bring more businesses to the borough’s downtown. When asked what they valued most about the borough, many residents listed things found downtown, such as historic properties and the train station.
Rosenfeld said he would like to hold at least two hearings on the proposed plan, which will go into effect after approval by the Planning Commission and the Board of Mayor and Burgesses. Rosenfeld said he is hoping both boards approve a plan by the November elections, when their memberships could change.