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Town Seeking Input On 2013 Plan Of Conservation And Development

Meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 7 at the Madison Senior Center on Bradley Road.

 

This information was provided by the Town of Madison: 

Plan of Conservation & Development

Public Meeting Scheduled 
For Town Plan

The Planning and Zoning Commission has scheduled a public meeting to get comments and feedback from Madison residents regarding the proposed 2013 Plan of Conservation and Development.  The workshop is scheduled for:

Thursday March 7, 2013
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Madison Senior Center – 29 Bradley Road

The meeting will include an overview of the Draft Plan and then provide an opportunity for Madison residents to provide comments and input. 

The Draft Plan was prepared over the last two years by a diverse committee of residents and groups from Madison.  That work was based on a number of community workshops and surveys which involved Madison residents.  Following the public meeting, the Planning and Zoning Commission will review and refine the Plan prior to scheduling a public hearing on adoption.

The strategies included in the Draft Plan are organized around the following main themes:

  • Preserving and enhancing community character and quality of life
  • Enhancing Madison Center
  • Guiding future development activities in Madison
  • Providing for conservation and sustainability

Madison residents are encouraged to come to the meeting to help ensure that the Plan of Conservation and Development reflects community goals. “This Plan is an important document which will be used to guide future conservation and development activity over the next decade and beyond”, said Christine Poutot, Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission. 

View Draft Plan

 

Gus R. Horvath February 25, 2013 at 04:37 PM
Have reviewed both the preliminary draft and this final draft. A lot of thought and work has been expended by the volunteer committee. Please review and comment. Madison is on the cusp of a demographic transition as school age population is projected to decline by some 40% while over 65 will double. New focus required on budgeting for senior citizens' needs and less on school needs. An interesting projection is that the Town's overall population is projected to decline as Madison recorded deaths are about 50% greater than births and in-migration does not compensate.
Austin February 26, 2013 at 02:24 AM
Perhaps a key goal could be to increase the commercial proportion of the municipal grand list to a more sustainable percentage higher than 5.4%, as of October 2000 that was Madison's percentage (the lowest of the region, this can be found on page 3 of Guilford's plan of conservation and development which can be found at http://www.ci.guilford.ct.us/pdf/Guilford%20Economic%20Development%20Plan%20-%20Consolidated%20TOC.pdf). Also read Guilford's and Branford's plans they are much more realistic than Madison's last plan.
BL Davis February 26, 2013 at 04:08 PM
Thanks, Gus, for raising the issue of demographic changes. The demographics chart on page 6 directs our attention to a single moment in time rather than recognizing the significant changes in Madison’s demographics from the 2000 Census to the 2010 Census. There appears to be an effort to pretend that Madison’s primary population focus should continue to be school age children and the growth rate thereof, when the 2010 Census shows a clear decline in that demographic and the forecast is for a continuing decline. Meanwhile the proportion of seniors is the fastest growing age group. When the needs of this demographic are not even mentioned until page 46, one has to wonder about the seriousness or will of Town officials to recognize the change, never mind opening their eyes to the economic opportunities of that growing demographic. Thanks, Austin, for guiding us to comparisons. As so often said, “Just because we live in Madison, doesn’t mean we have to keep our heads in the sand.”
Gus R. Horvath February 26, 2013 at 04:34 PM
Austin, There is almost no vacant land zoned "commercial" in Madison. When P&Z has broached this subject in the past the lynch mob was quick to form. Take the case of the Academy School building. The public consensus is to keep it off the tax rolls for some very costly municipal use. I also would not want the Boston Post Road to look like Guilford and Branford. The middle ground to be considered is the development of over 55 housing in a wide price range. The proposed development at the Airport property was estimated to produce $1 to 1.25M in tax revenue. Maybe the new plan of development should encourage this type of residential development?
Ann February 26, 2013 at 05:18 PM
Why is the school age demographic debreasing? is that a staewide thing or is there something about Madison that makes it less desirable for young families. I can't imagine it's a goood thing for us to be top-heavy on seniors. We've always claimed that our housing market was strong because there were so many young families willing to buy our three and four bedroom homes in neighborhoods because of our good school system. If that population decreases significantly, where will the tax money come from to fund more new development, especially if most house values decrease and therefore our tax base.
Fred February 26, 2013 at 06:06 PM
@Ann 1. I suspect that the reason that our school-age demographic has decreased is the result of increase in demand for homes in Madison, the resulting increase in home prices in Madison, and the fact that those increased prices put homes beyond the reach of most young families. This is conjecture on my part -- I can point to no data in support of my thesis. 2. People are always talking about "our good school system," but I am skeptical. Where is the supporting data? Why does our educational establishment resist measurement of their success? 3. Your apprehension about the effect of a decrease in the school-age population upon the Town's tax receipts is misplaced. There may or may not be ancillary benefits to having a substantial school-age population, but it is a money-loser from a revenue point of view. Nearly all families more than one child in our school system are revenue-negative.
Ann February 26, 2013 at 08:16 PM
Fred, I have to admit. I don't know anyone who ever thought of their kids as revenue-positive.
Fred February 26, 2013 at 08:28 PM
Every parent is aware that his/her minor children are revenue-negative. The fact is that residents with children in the public school system are revenue-negative for the Town in a big way.
Ann February 26, 2013 at 08:56 PM
I'm not sure where we're supposed to send them instead, or are you suggesting the town governors should limit future sales of houses to people who are not likely to produce these expensive little beings.
Fred February 26, 2013 at 09:28 PM
I'm suggesting that the fact that we have, or will have, less of them isn't a bad thing. I'm suggesting that your statement, "If that population decreases significantly, where will the tax money come from to fund more new development, especially if most house values decrease and therefore our tax base," evinces a misplaced apprehension. A substantial school-aged population in Town may bring many benefits, but it does not increase revenue in the Town's coffers. The opposite is true -- the Town loses money on nearly all of its citizens who have children in the public school system, i.e., the property and other taxes that they pay to the Town do not offset the amount spent on the education of their children.
Gus R. Horvath February 26, 2013 at 11:59 PM
Statistically approximately 70-80% of a kindergarten class is the number of births 5 years previous. The rest is the net result of in/out migration. In 2001 Madison recorded 187 births. In 2012 (based on 75 through Nov.) it will approximate 85. Nationwide the lowest birth rate is for white, non-Hispanic, college graduates.The US Census shows Madison to have a very small cohort of residents in the child bearing years of 20-35.
Janet February 27, 2013 at 03:24 AM
The Board of Education and our new Superintendant need to develop a 5 year plan to address the continually declining enrollment. We must plan ahead for thus inevitable consolidation, to be fair to tge tax payers. They tell us tgey are reducing staff, but the budget ask keeps going up... We should all find this to be unacceptable and send them back to the drawing board. The reason Madison and other towns like it are declining is that we do not have an ethnically diverse town. Towns like Stamford and Norwalk are growing in student population because of the large influx of Hispanic and Latino families.
John February 27, 2013 at 12:57 PM
I remember all the talk about the expected huge increase in student population years ago. Study after study by "experts" showed this. That was the big reason the new high school was built, remember? All of us who opposed the building (or just putting an addition on the existing school) were out of touch old fogeys. Now we have empty buildings. I am not sure what to do with the Academy Street school building, I never thought there was anything wrong with using it as a school! At this point the town should just sell it, it is just a big empty building that costs money for yearly maintenance. If we are going to spend more money on schools, how about something crazy like an auditorium for our high school? The "old" Daniel Hand had (now Polson has) a beautiful auditorium that could be used as a model. They don't have to have plays or concerts in the cafeteria. As to commercial development, I may be mistaken, but most of the surrounding towns with a lot of commercial development seem to have higher taxes than Madison. I don't see how commercial development would "lower" taxes. How about this for a crazy idea? Why don't we STOP building/adding/remodeling new things for a year or two? You don't have to have new projects constantly being started. We are in the middle of work for questionable projects, let's just finish those before starting something else.
Gus R. Horvath February 27, 2013 at 04:53 PM
John, The school population increased significantly from 2,681 in 1991 to 3,837 in 2006 and then has declined to 3,382 in 2012. The increase and the decline were both driven from the elementary grades to the high school grades. High school enrollment was 992 in 2002 and grew to 1,290 in 2010. The 2012 graduating class was 329 and the 2012 K class was 147. Thus the enrollment decline is driven by a significant fall off in K enrollment since 2009 with 270 to 2012 with 147. This valley is moving through the elementary schools and will, in two years, show up at Brown. The 2001 decision to build a new high school was made after two studies. The first proposal was rejected by the voters and the second one was passed. The original DHHS was built in 1950 and code compliance/renovation costs were near the price of a new building. The decision of the second study committee was to build a new high school and move up the lower grades in to the existing buildings. Again this was decided on the basis of then current data. The building opened in 2003 and the first significant fall off in K enrollment occurred in 2006. Also, Academy was closed for budgetary reasons not for enrollment decline. A major impediment to projections/forecasting. planning is the it is done by taking a snapshot of current data. When there is a significant deviation from the norm you have garbage in and garbage out (an old computer design cliche from the mid-1960s when I worked in computer systems design).
Austin February 28, 2013 at 02:36 AM
Gus, I agree that we should encourage that type of residential development in town, although we would still need commercial areas to serve them. I agree that it would be best if we do not commercialize all of route one, (preserve rte. 1 from neck road to lovers lane) but for a town of over 18,000 residents we need some of route one to be medium to heavily commercialized. (commercialize rte. 1 from the Hammonasset connecter to clinton and the area immediately around exit 62 with easy on easy off businesses such as gas stations, restaurants, and a few hotels)

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