The other day, “06880” highlighted an issue that frustrates many Westporters: the limited ways to find out things like proposals for new developments, zoning changes, and upcoming agendas for regulatory boards.
The P&Z is on it.
A new Planning and Zoning Commission communications subcommittee met last week. On the agenda: how to modernize and improve public notice of P&Z matters.
Several intriguing ideas were discussed in the areas of site plans, special permits, variances, subdivisions and map adjustments. Among them:
To address the complaint that residents don’t open mailed legal notices because they look like junk mail or solicitations:
- Notices will be delivered in a brightly colored envelope with a return address showing the Westport Planning & Zoning Department. A separate line on the bottom right of the envelope will note “This notice could impact your property rights or property values”
- The town will purchase envelopes. Applicants will purchase these from P&Z for a fee, to ensure consistency in delivery of all notices.
- The mailed notice radius will be expanded beyond the current 250- foot radius of the subject property.
To address the complaint that a single printed notice in the Norwalk Hour is insufficient, and a dated method for notice delivery:
- All legal notices to be posted on the Town of Westport’s website at the same time as printed in the Hour, preferably under the headline “Planning & Zoning Notices.” P&Z agendas will be posted 1 week prior to the scheduled meeting.
- A new “Westport Planning & Zoning Notices” Facebook page will be created, including links to the legal notices posted on the town website. No commenting or messaging will be permitted.
- A physical sign (similar to a demolition notice sign) will be posted on the subject property, as proposed by the Coalition for Westport.
NOTE: These proposals do not relate to text amendments, which will be discussed at the next meeting.
That meeting is next Wednesday (January 17, Town Hall, 7:30 p.m.). They’ll join the RTM’s Planning and Zoning subcommittee to review those ideas, discuss public feedback, and begin improving the process for public notice of text amendments.
And … before that meeting, the P&Z subcommittee is asking — very publicly — for feedback.
Comments posted to “06880” will be added to the public record. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org — and of course attend the meeting, and speak.
“We welcome any and all feedback,” the subcommittee says.
“Our goal is to ensure that all residents can easily inform themselves of P&Z matters affecting their neighborhood and community.”
(Click here to see the full minutes of the P&Z subcommittee meeting. How’s that for openness?!)