Glastonbury is considering a ‘village quarter’ in the city center

ByShannon J. Cortes

Aug 2, 2021

August 2 – GLASTONBURY – City Council is in the early stages of considering creating 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 “areas of distinctive character, landscape or historic value.”

Last week, the city council voted, 7 to 2, to ask City Manager Richard J. Johnson to propose an amendment to the city’s zoning bylaws creating the Downtown Village neighborhood.

Republican board members Whit Osgood and Lillian Tanski voted against drafting the settlement.

The city is looking for a consultant to study 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 by-law before hiring the consultant.

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

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

Cavanaugh said he wanted to halt development on a section of Main Street “to preserve what we have.

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

VILLAGE DISTRICT

CONSIDERED BY: GLASTONBURY CITY COUNCIL.

AFFECTED AREAS: MAIN STREET FROM NAUBUC AVENUE TO THE INTERSECTION OF NEW LONDON TURNPIKE SOUTH TO SCHOOL STREET; HEBRON AVENUE FROM MAIN STREET EAST TO ROUTE 2; NEW LONDON TURNPIKE FROM SALMON BROOK SOUTH TO RANKIN ROAD

STATUS: MUNICIPAL ADMINISTRATORS WILL DRAFT A BY-LAW. THE PLANNING PLAN AND THE ZONING COMMISSION WILL CONSIDER THE DRAFT AND MAKE A RECOMMENDATION. CITY COUNCIL HOLDS A PUBLIC HEARING BEFORE VOTING ON THE PROPOSAL.

Similarly, Gullotta warned that the city could “see the horse come out of the stable” before drawing up a bylaw.

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

The council planned to make the Rankin Road intersection the southern end of the district. But, at Cavanaugh’s request, the council agreed to extend the southern boundary a short block to School Street to include “Old Town Hall”, which houses the Brown law firm, Paindiris and Scott.

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

Once the draft by-law has been drafted, council would refer it to the Planning and Zoning Commission, which would have 35 days to make a recommendation on it. 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 a personal capacity during the public comment section of the meeting.

He said “the classic New England town we all love” would not abide by any zoning laws in Connecticut because of what’s called the “uniformity rule” in the zoning law of Connecticut. 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 of a “perspective truly parochial”.

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

Branse also said Village Districts are not limited to historic areas, but can consist of areas with another common theme.

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