Granby’s Plan of Conservation and Development generates ideas from resident input
By Elaine Jones
The Planning and Zoning Commission subcommittee charged with updating Granby’s Plan of Conservation and Development held its second public information session on November 18. The goal was to receive thoughts, ideas and recommendations from residents as to what they perceive as good in town and what could be improved. The state requires each town to update these plans every ten years and 2015 is the date for Granby.
The topics which generated interest and discussion were commercial and industrial development, farming, open space and recreation, transportation and road congestion - intersection. Residents spoke about the town’s agricultural issues, specifically the increase in farm stores.
The suggestion was to encourage farming but regulate farm stores to protect the interests of residents living in the same neighborhood against noise, traffic and late night events. Discussion centered on a balance of promoting, preserving and encouraging small farms which are part of the town’s charm with activities that impact residential peace and quiet.
Traffic congestion and town road intersections were another issue that generated discussion. The bottleneck in the town center especially in the morning and afternoon commute was a definite negative to anyone wanting to live in town. Another problem with the center roadway is the large truck and trailer traffic that avoids the center and travels over narrow town roads, which is dangerous and has a negative effect on home values. The reconfiguration in the center is on the list of state projects, but the timing is elusive. One suggestion was to create a ‘roundabout’ similar to those in other countries. Another road problem that emerged was difficult and dangerous intersections on town roads. Examples included Simsbury Road, Barndoor Hills, East Street, Notch Road and Day Street. The need for a traffic light at the Rte. 10 and 202 entrance to Salmon Brook Park was also presented with the suggestion to create a second entrance from a different location; this could be a town project.
Recreation activities were deemed to be an important part of Granby that would be attractive to current families and new residents. Currently, the town has the park, the YMCA and town programs. Suggestions included bike trails, a small golf course, a winter ice skating pond, areas for cross country skiing, roller blading and ATV riding. Many of these projects could be developed with town funds.
On the subject of commercial growth, the consensus was to avoid “big box” development and encourage small retail stores and restaurants in the town center or south on Salmon Brook Street.
The two information meetings held so far presented a forward vision for Granby that has the following components: a primary rural residential community; a town center as a vital commercial and mixed use area; residential development that maintains a rural atmosphere by preserving existing neighborhoods while creating new ones with useable open space and pedestrian links; providing housing for a diverse population; encouraging small farms; town roads that are safe yet retain a rural feeling by preserving streetscapes, trees and stonewalls and allow for bike paths. Another vision creates a variety of commercial development in appropriate areas, avoids strip development, and provides employment opportunities. The preservation of open space and wildlife habitat is another goal as are greater recreational opportunities.