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The Planning Department and the Town Planning and Zoning Commission is in the process of updating the Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD).

The POCD outlines visions, goals, and strategies to guide conservation and development in Windsor over the next ten years and beyond. Topics include residential development, historic resources, economic development, transportation, natural resources, open space, agricultural resources, community facilities, enhancing the villages, utilities, and the Day Hill Corporate Area.

Several draft chapters are available for your review on the Planning Department website.

We want your input! How can we continue to make Windsor a desirable community to live, work, and play?

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Please answer yes or no. Should Windsor relax its Zoning Regulations to make it easier to update older houses to meet current housing preferences? For example, building coverage standards and setbacks could be relaxed to more easily allow first floor master suites and additional bathrooms.

Once you're through leaving your input, click here to choose a new topic.

8 Responses

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mark dressler over 2 years ago

Yes - It should be easier to update older houses to meet current housing preferences.

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Susan Haspeslagh over 2 years ago

Yes - If people can't update their existing homes they may choose to sell and move out of town. Also, updating would increase the value of the home and in turn the neighborhood increasing tax value and property values.

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Michele Rosario over 2 years ago

Yes

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Laura Cipriano over 2 years ago

No, Relax is too vague a term. Would you want the houses next door expanded up to your property line? It would change the character of the neighborhoods. However, I think there should be a process in place to make it easier to get a variance. Also, the regulations that are in place should be reviewed and possibly modified.

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Paul Cipriano over 2 years ago

If you have regulations enforce them if the regulations are flawed or outdated than they need to be changed or updated, I don;t want to see a town full of McMansions.

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Dave Mourad over 2 years ago

Both the term "older houses" and "relaxed" are both a bit vague, but I believe that the variance process is the way to go to resolve issues case by case - unless the volume of cases dictates a wholesale change needs to be made to address the developmental desires of home owners who wish to alter their houses in a way that would violate current zoning regs.

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Joseph Orabona over 2 years ago

I agree with the other comments about this being too vague. Are we talking about the historic district? So long as sensible changes are made, to don't see why the regulations shouldn't be updated.

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Eric Barz, Town Planner admin over 2 years ago

Thank you for all of the thoughtful input. The response so far has been great. Based on a few recurring themes I see here, I would like to clarify a few things.

I agree that some of the terms are vague, as we are trying to cover a broad range of possibilities, but we would not contemplate anything that would benefit one property owner at the expense of another. There would not be wholesale changes that would allow "teardowns" to build new "McMansions," or allowing building right up to a neighbor's property line. The intent is to allow modest changes in setbacks (the distance between buildings and property lines) and/or building coverage (the percentage of the lot covered by building(s)) for additions to existing houses; thus allowing additional bathrooms, first-floor master suites, front porches, etc.

We made a similar change years ago to reduce the number of variances, which allows a new building or addition in an older neighborhood to be built as close to the road as the average of the nearest four neighbors, rather than 30-40 feet back, which is the modern suburban standard.

On the issue of variances, it is not possible to make it easier in general to get variances, as there are statutory rules that must be followed. Each variance applicant must show a legal hardship to justify their variance, which means that their property has to have some natural, as opposed to man-made condition that prohibits them from developing their property in the same manner as others in their zoning district. Someone wanting to match the smaller front yard setback of their immediate neighbors is not a legal hardship since anyone else currently building in the zone is required to meet the setback, which is why we amended the regulations to avoid that specific variance request that is hard to justify in the absence of a hardship.

Since the plan is a policy document, not a regulatory one, and we have a lot of ground to cover in a short period of time, we can't be specific at this time on many strategies. We will take a look at the specific language behind these strategies to see if we can alleviate some of your concerns by clarifying our intent, similar to what I did above.

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