Monday, October 09, 2006

Gravel Pit Is Completely at Odds with Town Plan of Conservation and Development

Hamden’s zoning regulations state that, “in deciding whether or not to grant a Special Permit for the gravel pit, the Planning & Zoning Commission shall give consideration to, but not be limited by,” eight “threshold” points. The second of these points is how the gravel pit application complies with Hamden’s Plan of Conservation and Development. (See 9/24 posting below under “What Can I Do to Help?” for all 8 points.) Al Gorman highlights many inconsistencies between the gravel pit application and the Town Plan in his September 6 letter (see 9/28 posting below). Here are additional extracts from the Plan that underscore the inappropriateness of a large-scale, multi-year mining operation in northern Hamden:

From the HAMDEN PLAN OF CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT (adopted 7/6/04; effective 9/1/04)

p. 6: VISION STATEMENT. From its humble beginning as part of the New Haven Colony in 1638 and later incorporation as a town in 1786 with a population of some 1,400 “souls,” Hamden has grown to become home to nearly 57,000 residents. Over this span of some 365 years, one characteristic has endured: its neighborhoods….These neighborhood communities still characterize the town and attract residents from the surrounding New Haven metropolitan area. They offer residents a mixture of housing types as well as shops, open spaces, schools and a sense of history. The preservation and enhancement of these neighborhoods is vital to preserving the quality of life in Hamden….

p. 25: ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS. The overall quality of life in a community is largely determined by the quality, quantity and distribution of its cultural and natural resources. The protection of Hamden’s natural resources is an important component to the Plan of Conservation and Development. This is because the protection of natural resources helps preserve the Town’s community character, preserves essential natural systems, and improves the quality of life for all of Hamden’s residents….

p. 124: AREA 6. North of the Mt. Carmel/West Woods/Whitney Avenue intersection becomes more rural with the eastern side of the corridor dominated by three major parcels – Sleeping Giant Park, Sleeping Giant Golf Course and the Regional Water Authority holdings around Clarke’s Pond….There are also several wetland areas as well as a west-to-east power line easement in the area. In general, this is a sensitive environmental area and should be treated as such.

p. 130: GOAL #6. From the West Woods Road/Whitney Avenue intersection to the Cheshire town line, protection of natural resources should be the paramount concern. OBJECTIVE: North of the West Woods Road/Whitney Avenue intersection, future land use should focus on low density development, NO EXTENSION OF NON-RESIDENTIAL USES (ed.'s emphasis), and natural resource protection.

p. 148: MAJOR PLAN GOALS. The overarching goals of this Plan of Conservation and Development are the preservation of the Town’s sound housing stock and stable neighborhoods; the regulation of in-fill development in keeping with the character and scale of surrounding neighborhoods and development; the preservation and enhancement of the Town’s open space and recreation areas,…and the support of quality of life improvements.

p. 150: Upper Whitney Conservation District. The policy for this area should be to prohibit non-residential development with a focus on continued natural resource protection as the northern gateway into Hamden.
• Land Uses should be compatible with the goal of beautifying Hamden and maintaining its natural beauty.
• Development proposals exceeding 100,000 square feet of commercial, industrial or retail use, should be subject to intensive analysis in terms of their economic, social, physical and environmental impact on the health, welfare and safety of the community.

p. 156: GOAL #1: Promote the conservation and preservation of natural resources as part of future development activity. Actions: Protect water quality through the protection of the Town’s watercourses wetlands and land within aquifer protection areas.

p. 159: GOAL #8: Provide a safe, attractive and well-maintained system of public roadways.

p. 160: GOAL #9: Support and foster programs that maintain the housing stock and enhance and preserve the fabric of existing neighborhoods.

p. 161: GOAL #10: Ensure that all residential areas and developments are attractive and well maintained places to live for Hamden’s residents.

p. 164: GOAL #19: … Highlight Hamden as a physically appealing place to do business.

p. 168: GOAL #25: From the West Woods Road/Whitney Avenue intersection to the Cheshire town line, protection of natural resources should be the paramount concern.


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