Glastonbury considers the “village quarter” in the city center | Newsletters

GLASTONBURY – City council plans to create a downtown “village district”, a mechanism authorized by state law that cities can use to preserve historic buildings and control the design of new or renovated buildings in new locations. “Areas of distinctive character, landscape or historical value.

Last week, city council voted 7-2 to ask chief executive Richard J. Johnson to propose an amendment to the city’s zoning bylaws creating the downtown district.

Republican Council members Whit Osgood and Lillian Tanski voted against drafting the bylaw.

The city is looking for a consultant to study the building design guidelines. Osgood said a village district would essentially be a type of design guideline and wondered aloud why the council would pass such a bylaw before hiring the consultant.

Tanski wrote in an email after the meeting that the village area would be “a ban on positive redevelopment and economic development in our downtown area.”

But Councilor Kurt Cavanaugh, a Republican, and Chairman Thomas P. Gullotta, a Democrat, who have gathered to call for historic preservation measures in recent months, have expressed concern about the length of the process.

Cavanaugh has said he wants to put development on a section of Main Street on hold “to preserve what we have.

“Things could happen sooner than we think,” he said.

Likewise, Gullotta warned that the city could “see the horse out of the stable” before developing a settlement.

The section of Main Street that is being considered for inclusion in the Village District is between the Naubuc Avenue-New London Turnpike intersection, where Katz Hardware is located, and the School Street intersection.

The council had considered making the Rankin Road intersection the southern end of the district. But, at Cavanaugh’s request, the council agreed to extend the southern boundary a small block to School Street to include “the old town hall,” which is home to the Brown law firm, Paindiris and Scott.

Other areas considered for inclusion in the Village District include the section of Hebron Avenue between Main Street and Route 2 and the section of the New London Turnpike between Salmon Brook and Rankin Road.

Once the draft by-law was drafted, council would send it back to the Planning and Zoning Commission, which would have 35 days to make a recommendation on it. The council should also hold a public hearing before passing a by-law.

Mark K. Branse, a lawyer who has represented Glastonbury and other towns on land use issues, spoke in his personal capacity during the public comment section of the meeting.

He said that “the classic New England town we all love” would not comply with any zoning laws in Connecticut due to what is known as the “uniformity rule” in the Zoning Law. the state.

While historic districts are another way to gain public control over building design, he said, each of these districts requires a separate historic district commission, creating the risk from a “real point of view. parish”.

He said the village districts are helping to correct such problems. They create extensive architectural control, like historic districts, while allowing for the regulation of building-by-building uses and control of building demolition, he said.

Branse also said that the village districts are not limited to historic areas but can consist of areas with another common theme.

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