The 2018-2023 CT State Plan to Transform Connecticut

The State of Connecticut’s Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) and Smartgrowth Principles are transforming Connecticut cities.  Although municipalities are not forced to comply, those that seek to grow without consideration of the state’s goals are unlikely to see discretionary funding flow to their city.  Among other documents that illustrate this is the 2018-2023 State PoCD, which is still in draft form.


2018-2023 Connecticut Conservation and Development Policies Plan 

Capture“Sections 16a-25 through 16a-30 of the Connecticut General Statutes establish a process by which the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) shall revise the State C&D Plan once every five years. Each 5-year revision to the State C&D Plan is prepared with consultation from regional councils of governments, municipalities, state agencies, and the public. In summer 2016, OPM began the State C&D Plan revision process for the 2018-2023 State C&D Plan, which must be submitted to the General Assembly by December 31, 2017. Check this web page periodically for information and updates concerning the 2018-2023 State C&D Plan revision.”

” Effective July 1, 2016, any municipality that does not adopt a POCD at least once every ten years shall be ineligible for discretionary state funding unless such prohibition is expressly waived by the OPM Secretary. The 10-year clock for discretionary state funding eligibility re-sets whenever the municipal POCD is prepared or amended and adopted in accordance with CGS Section 8-23.”
Although Connecticut’s planning framework does not require municipal, regional and state plans to be consistent with one another, CGS Section 16a-31 requires state agencies to be consistent with the State C&D Plan whenever they undertake any of the following actions with state or federal funds:
(1) The acquisition of real property when the acquisition costs are in excess of two hundred thousand dollars;
(2) The development or improvement of real property when the development costs are in excess of two hundred thousand dollars;
(3) The acquisition of public transportation equipment or facilities when the acquisition costs are in excess of two hundred thousand dollars; and
(4) The authorization of each state grant, any application for which is not pending on July 1, 1991, for an amount in excess of two hundred thousand dollars, for the acquisition or development orimprovement of real property or for the acquisition of public transportation equipment or facilities.
CGS Section 16a-31 also requires OPM to:
 provide an advisory statement, upon request by another state agency, on the extent to which a proposed action is consistent with the State C&D Plan;
 review each Bond Commission agenda and issue an advisory statement on the extent to which the items on the agenda are consistent with the State C&D Plan; and
 review certain draft plans prepared by state agencies under state or federal law, and provide the submitting agency with an advisory report commenting on the extent to which the proposed plan conforms to the State C&D Plan.
When considering any grant application submitted in connection with a proposed development, rehabilitation or other construction project, a state agency shall consider whether such proposal complies with some or all of the principles of smart growth provided in Section 1 of Public Act 09-230*.”
The text of the draft State C&D Plan is presented in a condensed format that is built around six Growth Management Principles.
1) Redevelop and Revitalize Regional Centers and Areas with Existing or Currently Planned Physical Infrastructure;
Examples of Performance Indicators for Measuring Progress:
 Percentage of State capital investments in priority funding areas
 Number of new businesses registered in priority funding areas compared to total statewide new business registrations
 Percent increase in development in priority funding areas
 Number of businesses started or expanded in priority funding areas
 Number of brownfield sites/acres redeveloped
 Percent of state highways and bridges in fair or better condition
 Number of historic facilities preserved in priority funding areas
 Number of registered farmers markets in priority funding areas
2) Expand Housing Opportunities and Design Choices to Accommodate a Variety of Household Types and Needs;
Examples of Performance Indicators for Measuring Progress:
 Number of new affordable housing units created
 Number of towns with 10% of their housing stock designated affordable
 Number of towns with approved Incentive Housing Zone overlays
 Percentage of population in high density areas (1,000 per sq mi) Percentage of renters paying more than 30% of income on rent
3) Concentrate Development Around Transportation Nodes and Along Major Transportation Corridors to Support the Viability of Transportation Options;

Examples of Performance Indicators for Measuring Progress:

 Number of passengers using public transportation
 Number of locally-designated transitoriented development zones
 Percent of Surface Transportation Program funds used for bicycle/pedestrian access
 Percent of state capital investments made within ½ mile of a rail station or a bus rapid transit (BRT) station
 Number of housing units/amount of commercial building space built or renovated within ½ mile of a rail station or a bus rapid transit (BRT) station Number of Bradley International Airport passengers Volume of goods transported by mode within and through Connecticut
 Average per rider subsidy by mode/service
4) Conserve and Restore the Natural Environment, Cultural and Historical Resources, and Traditional Rural Lands;
Examples of Performance Indicators for Measuring Progress:
 Acreage of preserved/protected open space
 Acreage of land being farmed in Connecticut
 Acreage of preserved farmland
 Percentage of Connecticut consumer dollars spent on locally produced farm products
 Total value of Connecticut’s agricultural industry
 Acres of Inland Wetlands affected by activities subject to local or state permits
 Tons of Nitrogen delivered to Long Island Sound from Connecticut
 Oxygen depletion in Long Island Sound
 Miles of stream supporting wild brook trout
 Number of lakes meeting water quality assessment goals in Connecticut’s Integrated Water Quality Report
5) Protect and Ensure the Integrity of Environmental Assets Critical to Public Health and Safety; and
Examples of Performance Indicators for Measuring Progress:
 Percent of public water systems meeting drinking water quality standards
 Number of “Good Air Days”
 Number of beach closings
 Pollution Index Values (average of all measured air pollutants)
 Amount of municipal solid waste sent to landfills
 Number of school systems, restaurants and state institutions contracting with Connecticut farms
6) Promote Integrated Planning Across all Levels of Government to Address Issues on a Statewide, Regional and Local Basis.
Examples of Performance Indicators for Measuring Progress:
 Number of municipalities and COGs in compliance with the 10-year requirement for updating their plans of conservation and development;
 Number of municipalities that have adopted the state parcel standard;
 Number of applications received by OPM for interim changes to the State C&D Plan;
 Number of new cooperative ventures (inter-municipal and regional) for sharing regional services or equipment; and
 Estimated annual cost savings from cooperative ventures begun under the Regional Performance Incentive Program and the Inter-town Capital Equipment Sharing Program.”
Not only do the Growth Management Principles serve as the chapters of the draft State C&D Plan, but municipalities and COGs must also note any inconsistencies with these principles when they update their respective plans of conservation and development (CGS Sections 8-23 and 8-35a).
Priority Funding Areas are classified by Census Blocks that include:
Designation as an Urban Area or Urban Cluster in the 2010 Census Boundaries that intersect a ½ mile buffer surrounding existing or planned mass-transit stations Existing or planned sewer service from an adopted Wastewater Facility Plan Existing or planned water service from an adopted Public Drinking Water Supply Plan Local bus service provided 7 days a week.”
Related Information:
““Principles of Smart Growth” as defined by Public Act 09-230*
“Principles of smart growth” means standards and objectives that support and encourage smart growth when used to guide actions and decisions, including, but not limited to, standards and criteria for:
(A) integrated planning or investment that coordinates tax, transportation, housing, environmental and economic development policies at the state, regional and local level,
(B) the reduction of reliance on the property tax by municipalities by creating efficiencies and coordination of services on the regional level while reducing interlocal competition for grand list growth,
(C) the redevelopment of existing infrastructure and resources, including, but not limited to brownfields and historic places,
(D) transportation choices that provide alternatives to automobiles, including rail, public transit, bikeways and walking, while reducing energy consumption,
(E) the development or preservation of housing affordable to households of varying income in locations proximate to transportation or employment centers or locations compatible with smart growth,
(F) concentrated, mixed-use, mixed income development proximate to transit nodes and civic, employment or cultural centers, and
(G) the conservation and protection of natural resources by (i) preserving open space, water resources, farmland, environmentally sensitive areas and historic properties, and (ii) furthering energy efficiency
Regional Center – Municipalities identified as such on the 2013-2018 State C&D Plan’s Locational Guide Map

Transit-Oriented Development – “the development of residential, commercial and employment centers within one-half mile or walking distance of public transportation facilities, including rail and bus rapid transit and services, that meet transit supportive standards for land uses, built environment densities and walkable environments, in order to facilitate and encourage the use of those services” (CGS Sec. 13b-79o)”
Related Plans Prepared by State Agencies under State or Federal Law:
Economic Strategic Plan (DECD)
Comprehensive Energy Strategy for Connecticut (DEEP)
State Long-Range Housing Plan (DECD)
Annual Action Plan for Housing and Community Development
Strategic Long-Range Transportation Plan, 2009-2035
Connecticut Statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian
Transportation Plan (DOT)
Connecticut State Rail Plan (DOT)
Connecticut Statewide Airport System Plan (DOT)
State Historic Preservation Plan (DECD)
The Green Plan: Guiding Land Acquisition and Protection in Connecticut (DEEP)
Connecticut Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (DEEP)
Connecticut Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy
Connecticut Wildlife Action Plan (DEEP)
Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan (DEEP)
Long Island Sound Blue Plan (DEEP)
Comprehensive Materials Management Strategy (DEEP)
Connecticut Drought Preparedness and Response Plan (WPC)
Connecticut Climate Change Preparedness Plan (DEEP)
State Natural Disaster Plan (DESPP)
Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) Intended Use Plan (Section 1452(b) of the Safe Drinking Water Act (DPH)
State Water Plan (WPC)
State Facility Plan

Central CT MPO Long-Range Transportation Plan 2015-2040

Capture1fThe State of Connecticut recently has consolidated it’s regional planning agencies.  As a result of not meeting the required deadlines for MPO reorganization to the corresponding newly formed Councils of Governments, the Central Connecticut Metropolitan Planning Organization is now tasked with providing the necessary planning functions associated with transportation projects for the region involving a number of cities including Plymouth and Bristol.  As quoted from the document:

In July, 2015, Connecticut’ MPOs will complete a full update of their LRTPs. At this time, if the MPO redesignation process is complete, each of the MPOs receiving municipalities from the Central Connecticut MPO will include these municipalities in  2015 Minor Update 6 of 212 their respective updates. Each region’s revised plans will include a full update that will incorporate the needs, priorities, and projects from the all of the MPO’s member municipalities. In the meantime, this document will serve as the long-range transportation plan for the seven municipalities of the Central Connecticut Region.”

The report prepared by the CCMPO in conjunction with the US Department of Transportation discloses that some of the information contained is still in the concept stage and there are no guarantees of federal funding.  The plan is also stated as not necessarily reflective of the State of Connecticut’s policies, that the plan is flexible and open to public opinion.  It also declares that the projects contianed are expected to be completed in the next 25 years.  I have excerpted some of the hilights in the screenshots below.
















Capture1iAlthough a timeline for the planned projects is not represented in the list of improvements, the timeline for progress for the Waterbury line expansion is represented in this image.Capture1b










In the document, “automobile dependency” is described as one of society’s ills.Capture1j Capture1cTitle VI requirements mandate that all social classes are to benefit from large scale transportation projects.  As current policy is implemented along the CTFastrak you can easily find that the demographic regions it services are strategically targeted to specific demographics.

UntitledYou can view the rest of the 2015 updated plan at the following link.

CTFastrak Part of International Greenhouse Gas Reduction Initiative

The State of Connecticut’s Climate Action Plan began with the passage of Public Act 08-98 AN ACT CONCERNING CONNECTICUT GLOBAL WARMING SOLUTIONS.  The bill brought forth the regulations of direct emissions of carbon dioxide as follows:

(a) The state shall reduce the level of emissions of greenhouse gas:

(1) Not later than January 1, 2020, to a level at least ten per cent below the level emitted in 1990; and

(2) Not later than January 1, 2050, to a level at least eighty per cent below the level emitted in 2001.

According to DEEP documents, the State of Connecticut joined into an international and multi-jurisdictional climate action plan agreement back in 2001.  The state is rapidly increasing it’s spending to reach it’s targets according to the 2014 State of Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection report.  The initiatives greatly affect the way the State of Connecticut approaches it’s management of the state’s energy and transportation sectors.  The associated costs are then passed onto residents in the form of taxes and other associated fees caused by the mandates.








According to the document, the CTFastrak Bust Rapid Transit project is one of the initiatives the state is using to curb greenhouse gas emissions and prevent climate change.   The document states that the DEEP has prioritized inter-agency coordination in the state to build “walkable” sustainable communities within the transit corridors.  The state is also “encouraging”  people to consider alternative modes of transportation such as walking and bicycling.




The document is revealing of how intensive the programs are:










Exactly WHAT the state intends to do to step up the progress by 2050 remains unseen but the rising costs of automobile ownership combined with the progressive deficit spending and increasing taxes in Connecticut is surely pushing many residents out of the state.

Supporting documents:


Does Regional Planning Usurp Local Control?

In 2007, the State of Connecticut Legislative Program Review & Investigations Committee produced a report of  Findings and Recommendations .  Some of the conclusions in the report are quite brow raising.  Among the statements:rpos

“The other side of the issue of costs concerns the willingness of the citizens of a town to pay higher taxes in order to receive more benefits. Theoretically, all towns want to save money, if they can. Sometimes though, the cost of a particular structure or service is not high enough for town residents to be willing to make a change in the frequency or the scope of that project, even if it would save money…….

…..In those types of situations, the property tax burden on the individuals in the town that goes it alone can become very heavy. However, until the town reaches a financial tipping point where efforts to balance the provision of services with the cost of those services cannot be maintained, there may be little desire to seek out a regional solution. Only then will the town and its citizens be ready to give up some independence and join together with other towns for the provision of goods and services in order to stabilize or reduce local property taxes.

In the case of towns that are reluctant to readily participate in regional endeavors, the state can take action in three ways. It can offer incentives, which would be primarily financial, but could include technical assistance. At the same time, or as an alternative, the state could impose sanctions in the form of disqualification for a wide range of state grants or the impositionof a fee for acting alone. (These choices are sometimes referred to as the “carrot or stick” approach.) The most drastic state approach would be to mandate certain activities or functions that are currently performed on a town-by-town basis be regionalized.”

It would appear that the state is now intent on using these fiscal pressures on towns as a tool to leverage big government policies onto towns who wish to keep their tax rates low and their communities rural.  The categorization of the Connecticut  New Urbanism agenda as “bottom up” is bunk.  You can read the rest of the report here:

Green Mandates Driving Up CT Electric Bills

Renewables Mandate: 27% of Energy Produced by 2020

Most Connecticut residents are unaware that a radical transformation to renewable energy sources is driving their electric rates through the roof. Part of the reason is due to the passage of  Public Act 08-98 AN ACT CONCERNING CONNECTICUT GLOBAL WARMING SOLUTIONS and the adoption of the State of Connecticut’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).  The states’s RPS mandate requires that electricity providers provide a portion of their energy originating from renewable energy sources and the increased costs of accommodating those mandates are being passed on to consumers.

According to ACORE.ORG, Conecticut’s energy providers must meet the following requirements:


Class I (20% by 2020): Solar, wind, fuel cells, geothermal, biogas, ocean, certain biomass, certain hydro, low-emission renewable energy conversion devices

Class II (3% by 2010, Class I may also be used to meet requirement): Trash-toenergy, certain biomass, older run-of-river hydro

Class III (4% by 2010): Certain combined heat and power (CHP), energy efficiency, waste heat

 All electric suppliers and electric distribution company wholesale suppliers
 Renewables in some neighboring states are also eligible
 The Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority must develop a residential solar incentive program
that will result in at least 30 MW before 2023
 Utilities must enter into long-term contracts for renewable energy credits (RECs) from zero-emission Class I facilities up to 1 MW and low-emission Class I facilities up to 2 MW

Market regulations never have a favorable effect on consumer prices and The Manhattan Institute For Policy Research’s study shows the substantial effect these particular mandates have across the United States.  Connecticut ranks #2 on the list of  highest energy rates in the nation. They share that top bracket with states that have also adopted the Renewable Portfolio Standard .     Some have declared the adoption of an RPS effectually amounts to a carbon tax and in many regards they are correct.  You didn’t think your neighbor’s “free solar roof” was REALLY free and not subsidized in up to $7,500 in “incentives”-  Did you?energy


Supporting Links:

Transit Oriented Development and Global Warming

record lows

Record lows challenged November 18th, 2014

Connecticut residents have experienced the coldest winter on record this year.  Record low temperatures ran deep through the East Coast and Midwest in in February 2015 and November 2014 while the State of Connecticut went further into debt to fight “Global Warming”.    The State Bonding Commission has been increasing the state debt by a BILLION dollars a year on average under the Malloy Administration while implementing these projects to make temperatures cooler.  This week the state also bonded TENS of MILLIONS for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) projects for infrastructure, housing and rail-related planning projects.  New Haven has more than $30Million allocated for infrastructure improvements for it’s downtown regional project while the City of Hamden has more than $3o MILLION dollars allocated.  The state currently has billions of future revenues allocated for bonding for TOD related regional projects with more than ONE BILLION DOLLARS earmarked for the creation of a new transit hub in Windham.



























Is Transit Oriented Development a “Global Warming” green program?
Excerpted from a press release:
“Make no mistake about it, Connecticut is doing its part to slow global warming. In fact, we are a national leader in efforts to reduce the amount of carbon emissions being put into the atmosphere.

…substantial emissions reductions documented in the report include:
Transportation sector, where emissions are dominated by tailpipe emissions from personal vehicles, Connecticut has seen an impressive 17% decrease in emissions from 2004. Additional work is needed, however, to meet the state’s 2020 and 2050 emission reduction mandates.

Connecticut is working diligently to reduce transportation emissions by enacting stringent tailpipe emissions limits for cars and trucks sold in the state, building “range confidence” in order to facilitate adoption of electric and fuel cell vehicles that don’t have any tailpipe emissions, increasing mass transit opportunities, and supporting transit oriented urban/suburban planning.

One Region, One Future, Our Common Future










Planning collaboratively across regional levels is erasing borders across Connecticut by circumventing the normal decision making process that  is traditionally more inclusive of public view and interaction.  Many feel that the voices of individuals in municipalities have been largely ignored for what officials have perceived as the collective good of a larger area with largely different priorities.  chamber


As once said by Milton Friedman, “Consolidated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.”    Regionalism is largely incompatible with our form of representative government and those who are watching their town’s urban renewal develop with dismay agree.  Those who forfeit local control will find their centrally planned communities planned from as far as they allow.  Investigative readers will find some striking similarities across the following documents as the top-down becomes the new standard.

The Sustainable Development Knowledge Corridor

Your town’s downtown redevelopment is probably being planned by a regional agency if it happens to be located along a transit corridor.  Would you like a glimpse at what planners have in store for you?  You can view the “Final Plan” for the Sustainable Development Knowledge Corridor, which is a planning collaborative from the Capitol Region Council of Governments in conjunction with the Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency by clicking here.  Chances are likely that your community has been shut out of much of the decision making due to state policy.


knowledge corridor

The projects along the CTFastrak and other transit corridors in central and shoreline Connecticut are part of a larger regional  initiative called the New England Sustainable Knowledge Corridor.  You can view the housing aspect of the project by clicking here.

Excerpted from the site is the following:
Issues and Trends, Wealth Imbalances
“Regional imbalances of areas of concentrated poverty and areas of concentrated wealth lead to widening housing inequities. Housing policies in wealthier towns tend to favor single-family home development, and fear of families with children (because taxpayer dollars fund education) upholds rationale for large-lot single-family home zoning. This can result in keeping out people with lower income-levels, even when they’d bring many assets to these areas.”


“Home Rule Mentality :  The “home rule” system of government allows for each community to make decisions that it finds best for the residents who live there, yet it makes it difficult to work regionally to affect change.” 


click image to view site

Private Automobiles Prohibited On New CT Thru-way


The CTFastrak is part of the Bristol to Hartford corridor of the state’s adopted  Transit Oriented Development strategy.   This New Urbanism style of development is part of the state’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. The segment from New Britain to Hartford has been mostly constructed and has signage and some signaling up at the East Main Street stop, which has been mostly completed. I find it ironic that the state’s planners’ purported goal is to expand transportation options, yet the two lane road that they built is closed to privately owned motor vehicles.

As you can plainly see, what some planners, powerful special interest groups and politicians have considered reasonable “for the greater good” is something that most would consider completely unreasonable.

Fairview Cemetery is now an oxymoron because there is nothing fair about what I see here. I suppose it is easier for some to justify such action without a personal attachment to the deceased in such a situation.

That’s what I would classify as encroaching of the rights of the deceased. One has to ask themselves, “Where is the shame of these individuals?”. How could someone try to justify such action? Would planning a few signs displaying the Fastrak design with a few plugs for the new services in the middle of the cemetery help public perception or would it be adding more insult to injury?


Adjacent St. Mary’s Cemetery has concrete barrier walls from the CTFastrak only a few feet away from headstones.   I can only imagine what it must be like kneeling in somber reflection of loved ones and have your hair whipped across your face by a passing public transit vehicle speeding through.  Most cemeteries have strict speed limits enforced not only for safety but in respect for the deceased.  How fast will the Express Bus be flying through?


Of course, the deceased cannot defend themselves from a progressive project invading their grave sites any more than the average citizen who stands alone. The use of eminent domain in Connecticut has recently risen in use when it comes to transportation. One can only hope for their constitutionally protected rights of just compensation to be upheld. Unfortunately, in the real world those rights have been trampled upon over and over. Connecticut is ripe with several pending legal battles because the Fifth Amendment to the Bill of Rights is commonly ignored by oathbreakers in black robes. Bristol is no stranger to these circumstances and as top-down comprehensive land planning comes to the forefront of Connecticut’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy through the power of the purse, one can only expect abuses to become more rampant.

In addition to cutting through and confiscating private property without fair compensation, properties are now in constant need of continual maintenance as a result of the busway.  Property owners face stiff fines as many municipalities impose blight threats on those who do not keep up with the continual graffiti and gang tags increased by the new construction.


Even the new Fastrak construction has seen more than it’s fair share of “blight” before even opening.

Such is the story of the Association of Blight, Rail and Mass Transit!

Most business owners are unwilling to speak out against city government for fear of retribution.  Frank conversations are however very revealing of their sentiments. Most municipalities find it just as difficult to practice what they preach.

As it would appear, the State of Connecticut and a public-private partnership is looking to establish a critical mass of transit ridership in addition to building a base of captive customers in along these newly created transit corridors.  Presumably, these density downtown dwellers will be without automobiles and will remain within the transit corridor and walking distance from it and their disposable income will be primarily spent within that region.  The targets for carbon emission reduction is precisely why the Environmental Protection Agency provides federal grant monies to Transit Oriented Development projects.

Approx. 950 sq. ft units  incl. 2 baths at approx. $1,200/month

At any rate, the plan to build a habitat for a walking populace remains at large. I expect something more reflective of what is being built all along the CTFastrak transit corridor to be in Bristol’s West End.   One can only imagine what a “best case scenario” would look like moving forward in this direction.  Either representation follows rooftops or $6 million is “only the beginning”. What does your instincts tell you?

Visit the CT Fast Track webpage by clicking (here)