EAST HAVEN — Changes are coming to the town’s planning and zoning regulations, possibly by the end of the year.

Town Planner Joseph Budrow spoke before the economic development commission Wednesday night to detail the upcoming changes, including decreasing the amount of uses that have to go before the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Budrow joined the town’s administration in March 2021 and said when he began working in East Haven, a new plan of conservation and development designed by two Wallingford-based planners had been approved. Work then began on modifying zoning regulations before the work came to a halt.

“Why it stopped, I have no idea,” Budrow said. “I have a draft book of regulations that the Planning and Zoning Commission have been idling with for the last two years.”

A draft zoning map has also been worked on by a Branford-based business until the funds dried up. Budrow said he will be resuming the work on the map.

Current plans are for an application for a text amendment to readdress the zoning book to be in front of the Planning and Zoning Commission in April. Public hearings will then be set for late spring and the summer, according to Budrow.

When a business comes to East Haven, it is either a change of use or a new use, which goes before the commission.

A new use is when a retail space is vacated and a new store, with new signage and different products opens in the space. The change of use is more complicated, according to the town planner, as every change of use needs to go before the commission, under East Haven’s zoning regulations.

“For smaller uses, and this is where we’re going to talk about this when we redo the zoning book, too many uses I think have to go to the Planning and Zoning Commission. I think we could deal with many at the zoning permit process,” Budrow said.

An example Budrow gave was if a tenant leaves a multi-tenant building with a number of small tenant spaces and another business wants to occupy that space, they should not have to wait for planning and zoning approval, which can take as long as three months.

“A lot of towns, what they do is they have this cap where any retail store or business office at say 1,500 square feet or less or 1,800 square feet or less, they just need a zoning permit and then they’re in,” Budrow said.

This cap will be proposed in the spring or summer, he said.

Four supplements will be added to the draft book Budrow inherited. He wants to change the use table in the existing zoning regulations, which details all of the land uses in East Haven.

Currently, the document is cumbersome and requires businesses to flip through the regulations repeatedly, he said.

The example given at the meeting was if someone had inquires on retail food service and a nail salon. That person would have to go to the use table, find the retail section, then find food service and then find a section applying to the nail salon.

Budrow’s proposed use table would go to the districts in town and list what uses are allowed in those locations.

“A lot of the uses are, if you were to say go to use 27, it actually might be three uses in one,” Budrow explained. “We’re going to break it out so that we actually read three uses without looking into a paragraph. I think it’s gonna be a big improvement on our zoning regulations.”

This change will be proposed in May.

A floating zone for a commercial district and a central business district in the area of Town Hall may also be proposed in the fall, Budrow said. Both are mentioned in the conservation and development plan, but Budrow said he does not think the town has the standards to go forward with the ideas yet.

christine.derosa@hearstmediact.com

Source Google News – Read the original article

East Haven town planner to propose zoning regulation changes – New Haven Register

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