Sidebar Middletown's Plan of Development

CHAPTER 12

IMPLEMENTATION

This plan is a collection of goals, objectives and recommendations aimed at providing the highest possible quality of life to as many of the city’s residents as possible. Perhaps the most difficult portion of the Plan of Development process is the implementation phase. By state statute the next mandatory review and update of this plan will be in ten years. Ideally this plan will be reviewed and updated as frequently as the Planning and Zoning Commission and the professional city planning staff deem appropriate.

This plan should be an active one, it should be frequently referenced by the Planning and Zoning Commission and their staff as well as other city officials. It represents the official Plan for the future of the City of Middletown. This plan is not intended to be all encompassing, it should represent the skeletal framework upon which decisions are made and future studies and projects are initiated.

Considering that this is the official Plan of Development for the entire city and not just the Planning and Zoning Commission, it is essential that all actions and future studies and projects initiated be in general conformance with the goals, objectives and recommendations articulated in this plan.

However, this is primarily a Planning and Zoning Commission document and therefore its implementation is the primary responsibility of the Planning and Zoning Commission. In implementing this plan, the Planning and Zoning Commission has three primary tools at its disposal. These are the Zoning Code, the Subdivision Regulations and a Capital Improvements Planning Program.

ZONING

(Planning and Zoning Authority C.G.S. Title 8, Chapter 124)

The city’s Zoning Ordinance was adopted in 1927 and has been amended many times. To meet today’s needs there should be a major update of the existing Zoning Code. The Zoning Code update must be coordinated with the Plan of Development and designed to carry out its goals and objectives. Zoning in Middletown is very different from that in the average urban community. Middletown contains both a compact downtown area and all degrees of development from urban to rural. The Plan of Development provides for a continuation of the rural character in outlying sections of the city and the Zoning for these areas should be designed to carry out this objective. In other areas the Zoning should provide for and promote the varied kinds of development and re-development envisioned in this Plan of Development.

SUBDIVISION REGULATIONS

(Planning and Zoning Authority C.G.S. Title 8, Chapter 126)

The Subdivision Regulations are basically a technical guide which provide for the proper layout of lots, open spaces, sidewalks, drainage systems, water and sewer lines and streets in subdivisions. The existing City of Middletown Subdivision Regulations are also in need of major revisions. These regulations should be amended as soon as possible so as to conform to the goals and objectives of the Plan and to promote he orderly, efficient and the most aesthetically pleasing subdivision of land.

CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS PLANNING PROGRAM

(Planning and Zoning Authority C.G.S. Title 8, Chapter 126 and City Ordinance 26-2)

Community facilities and public services are an essential ingredient in the overall makeup of the community. These facilities contribute greatly to the overall quality of life for the residents of the City of Middletown. Community facilities can range from public schools to storm sewers to police stations. Nevertheless, whatever the facility may be, it is essential that the future policy and requirements for each type of facility are well understood and anticipated well in advance.

Capital Improvements Planning is the multi-year scheduling of public physical improvements. The scheduling is based on studies of fiscal resources available and the choice of specific improvements to be constructed for a period of five to six years into the future. A capital improvement is commonly defined as new or expanded physical facilities that are relatively large in size, expensive and permanent. Capital Improvements should include only those expenditures for physical facilities with relatively long term usefulness and permanence.

This type of capital improvements planning will highlights, well in advance, future expenditures so that they can be budgeted for to insure that the fiscal position of the community is sound and that public facilities are provided in an efficient manner which maximizes the quality of life for the residents of Middletown.

The benefits of an effective capital improvements planning program include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. A better scheduling of public improvements that require more than one year to construct.
  2. Ensures that plans for community facilities are carried out.
  3. Provides an opportunity, assuming funds are available, to purchase needed land before the cost goes up.
  4. Provides an opportunity for long range financial planning and management.
  5. Helps to stabilize tax rates through careful department management.
  6. Helps avoid such mismanagement as paving a street one year and tearing it up the next to install a sewer line.
  7. Offers an opportunity for citizens and public interest groups to participate in decision making.
  8. Contributes to better overall management of city affairs.
Unfortunately, this type of Capital Improvement Planning is greatly under-utilized in Middletown and for the most part, all of Connecticut. Very few communities have an active, healthy and well-financed capital improvement planning program in place.

(Planning and Zoning Commissions Authority to initiate a Capital Improvements Planning Program)

It is the opinion of the Planning and Zoning Commission as articulated in this Plan that there is a need for a resurgence of a Capital Improvements Planning Program in the City of Middletown. Presently there appears to be no truly organized mechanism for decision making. Every department and agency is on its own to achieve its interests without evaluation against any overall plan. The Planning and Zoning Commission is the Commission designated with the authority to plan for future needs. As mandated in the State Statutes, Section 8-23 the Plan of Development for the City of Middletown may include a schedule and budget for public capital projects. While the Capital Improvements Planning Program is not presently proposed as a part of this Plan of Development it is strongly recommended that such a program be initiated in the City of Middletown. The Planning and Zoning Commission has the authority to enforce such a Capital Improvements Planning Program in both the State Statutes and the City Ordinances. It is required in the City Ordinances, Section 26.2 and the State Statutes Section 8-24, that all proposals for capital improvements must be reviewed by the Planning and Zoning Commission for conformity with the Plan of Development and the proposals impact on the coordinated development of Middletown.

However, the focal point of the Capital Improvement Plan process is the Common Council. The Council has the ultimate decision on whether capital improvements are to be funded. In making these funding decisions, the Common Council should refer to the proposed Capital Improvements Plan as a management review system and rely heavily on the Planning and Zoning Commission’s recommendation.

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