Friday, November 18, 2011

20/20 Vision Recap

On November 16, 2011 the Planning and Zoning Commission hosted an update presentation on the Manchester 2020 planning process. For the past few months the Planning staff and the Commission have been reviewing the results of the 2020 quadrant meetings, conducting additional research, and writing the draft of the planning document.

The focus of the November 16th session was to review and discuss the aspirations that seem to be representative of the vision for Manchester’s future as articulated by participants in the 2020 workshops. The session also reviewed the major trends, opportunities, and challenges that may either facilitate or impede the Town’s ability to achieve these aspirations.

Planning staff previewed the concept of using community character descriptions as a way to organize and connect the aspirations of the community with the growth management principles and, ultimately, the recommended policies and actions the plan will recommend to achieve the community’s vision. By using community character descriptions, we can look at the different types of places that make up the Town of Manchester, and be sure the tools and strategies applied to the different communities both strengthen those places and help to realize the larger aspiration and vision for the Town.

The slideshow which was used at the 20/20 vision session can be accessed HERE.

It is anticipated the next 2020 meetings will be held in the first quarter of 2012 and focus on goals, objectives, and recommended actions to be incorporated into the plan. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Help Create a Prosperous, Sustainable Region

Sustainability has been a major theme throughout the Manchester 2020 planning process and will be included in the Manchester 2020 Plan. While sustainability is important to many residents and community members, the issue reaches far outside the Town boundary.

Manchester is currently participating in the Sustainable Knowledge Corridor project an exciting three-year initiative that supports planning for transportation, community development, economic development and environmental improvement projects that will help the Hartford/Springfield region grow and prosper in a more sustainable manner. Manchester residents are invited to participate in setting the priorities for the Sustainable Knowledge Corridor project. To participate, click HERE. to complete a 5-10 minute survey on the region and its future. For more information, please visit the project website at

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

20/20 Vision- A Manchester 2020 Update- Nov 16

Manchester 2020 is back!

All members of the Manchester community are invited to attend 20/20 Vision: An Update on the Manchester 2020 Planning Process on Wednesday, November 16th at 7 PM in the Great Path Academy Community Commons, located on the campus of Manchester Community College.

This meeting is part of the ongoing Manchester 2020 Planning Process. Over the past several months, the Planning and Zoning Commission and Planning Department staff have been reviewing and organizing all comments, suggestions and ideas from the Quadrant Discovery Workshops, Quadrant Summit and thematic workshops; completing additional research, mapping and analysis; and drafting portions of what will ultimately become the Manchester 2020 Plan. This event will address:

* Major themes and community aspirations for Manchester’s future.

* Major opportunities and challenges in achieving those aspirations.

* Opportunities to protect and enhance Manchester’s community character.

* Next steps in completing the 2020 plan.

Registration for this event is not required but is appreciated. Please email the Planning Department at or call 860-647-3044 to RSVP.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Speaking of the Arts...

On Monday, June 6th, 40-or-so members of the Manchester community came together to discuss the present and future of the Arts in Manchester. Participants completed the following sentences individually and then discussed their answers in groups:
  • Arts and culture contribute to Manchester's quality of life by...
  • A vibrant arts community. . .
  • If Manchester wants to support and encourage a vibrant arts community we need to...
Of course, there is already lots of great artsy stuff happening in town. So, the entire group finished the evening by brainstorming what makes up the arts community and scene in Manchester today.

How about you? What are your favorite arts-related people, places and events in Manchester?

Planning Department staff is currently compiling and organizing all the comments, ideas and suggestions from the workshop and will be sharing the results with the Arts Commission. Some of the most popular ideas will be included in the 2020 plan. Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Future of the Housing Market

One of the Growth Management Principles on which the plan is being organized is Expansion of Housing Opportunities and Design Choices in a Variety of Housing Types.

Today's housing market is changing rapidly. Demographers and market analysts are saying an aging and diversifying population, fewer traditional family households, lower homeownership rates and increasing household size coupled with demands for smaller unit size, quality rental housing options and housing close to transit, shopping and services will drive the future market. Many 2020 participants have pointed to the diversity of housing in Manchester as one of the town's strengths. A common theme was the desire to revitalize commercial and transportation nodes and corridors with a mix of housing and other uses. Manchester 2020 will be asking: How can we take advantage of both our current assets and these future trends? See the links below for two recent reports on demographic and the coming housing market.

This article: Part 1, Part 2, slideshow summary highlights demographic and economic trends driving the housing market.

This report from the Urban Land Institute on multifamily housing highlights some of the community, economic and environmental benefits of quality multifamily housing.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Transportation Connections Workshop Presentations

When asked what they would like Manchester to be like in the year 2020, many participants at the Quadrant Discovery Workshops spoke about improving connectivity around town and making traveling by public transit, bicycle or foot easier, safer and more convenient. On April 6, members of the Manchester community participated in a workshop on Transportation Connections as part of the Manchester 2020 Planning Process. Participants at the workshop explored the topics of public transit and "complete streets" with representatives from the Capitol Region Council of Governments, CT Transit and the Town of Manchester. Slide presentations from this event are now available, below:

Discovery Workshop Results and Public Transit in Manchester
Gary Anderson, Senior Planner, Manchester Planning Department
Sandy Fry, Principal Planner, Capitol Region Council of Governments
David Lee, General Manager, CT Transit

Complete Streets and Current Town Policies and Practices
Sandy Fry, Principal Planner, Capitol Region Council of Governments
Mark Carlino, Director, Manchester Department of Public Works

Monday, April 4, 2011

Manchester's Agricultural Future Presentations

On March 22nd, over 40 members of the Manchester community participated in a community workshop on Manchester's Agricultural Future. The event focused on what types of agricultural activity currently exist in town and where they are located, community benefits of local agriculture and potential tools that could be used to protect and promote agricultural activities. Featured speakers included Matt Bordeaux, Environmental Planner with the Manchester Planning Department, Joan Nichols of the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association and members of the Manchester Agriculture Preservation Association (MAPA). For more information, click on the two slide show presentations below:

Manchester's Agricultural Future- Matt Bordeaux, Environmental Planner/Wetlands Agent
John Weedon, Manchester Agriculture Preservation Association

The Changing Face of Agriculture- Joan Nichols, Connecticut Farm Bureau Association

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Transportation Connections Workshop

Are there opportunities for increasing public transit options in Manchester?

How does Manchester fit into the regional public transit picture?

What are complete streets and how are they implemented?

How does the Town currently accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists?

These questions will be addressed at the next Manchester 2020 thematic workshop on April 6th at 7 PM in the Great Path Community Commons on the campus of Manchester Community College.

Increasing public transit options and improving bicycle and pedestrian connections were consistent themes brought up by residents at the 2020 Quadrant Discovery Workshops. Many community members expressed interest in learning about possibilities for increased transportation alternatives, including public transit and connections via safe pedestrian and bicycle travel. Representatives from the Capitol Region Council of Governments, CT Transit and the Town of Manchester will be at this workshop to present information and lead a discussion on these issues.

Registration for this event is not required but is appreciated. Please email or call 860-647-3044 to RSVP.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Economic Impacts of CT Agriculture

In anticipation of the March 22nd workshop on Manchester's Agricultural Future, check out this UConn study on the economic impacts of agriculture in Connecticut. The study found that:
  • The total impact of agriculture on the Connecticut economy is up to $3.5 billion, including $1.7 billion in value added.
  • Agriculture generates approximately 20,000 jobs statewide.
  • The Connecticut agriculture industry generates about $1,000 in sales per CT resident.
Click on the image below to access the report.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Manchester's Agricultural Future: March 22nd

Think agriculture in Manchester is a thing of the past? Think again.

All members of the Manchester community are invited to attend a workshop on the present and future of agriculture in Manchester on Tuesday, March 22nd at 7:00 p.m. in the Great Path Community Commons on the Manchester Community College campus.

Many participants at the 2020 quadrant discovery workshops suggested preserving and encouraging agricultural activities in town as important goals for the community. This workshop will provide a brief overview of Manchester's agricultural history, examples of the diverse agricultural activities that currently exist in town, and how these and similar activities can be protected and encouraged in the future. The benefits of and current trends in local food production will also be addressed.

Advance registration is not necessary but is appreciated. Please call the Planning Department at 860-647-3044 or email with any questions, or to RSVP.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Final Broad Street Visual Preference Survey Results

The final Broad Street visual preference survey results are in! This survey was part of the new Broad Street "form-based" zoning regulation currently being drafted. Participants were asked to look at a series of photographs and rate each photograph based on whether it would be something that is desirable or undesirable in the Broad Street redevelopment area. The survey results will help inform what types and styles of development and public spaces will be prescribed in the regulation. The future of Broad Street continues to be a popular topic of conversation around town and throughout the 2020 planning process.

The response to the survey was overwhelming. Over 600 people took part of the survey. Of those, over 400 completed it and over 100 took the time to make individual comments. The Survey results, which show the highest-rated image for each category, can be viewed HERE.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Manchester Wins a 2010 Smartie Award

Did you know the Town of Manchester won a 1000 Friends of Connecticut "Smartie" award for it's recent planning efforts- including the Manchester 2020 planning process? Check out the release below:

Manchester was the recipient of a Smartie Award presented by 1000 Friends of Connecticut at the 1000 Friends’ annual meeting on October 6th in New Haven Connecticut. The award recognizes Manchester for its “proactive pursuit of smart, sustainable growth, vibrant mixed use walkable neighborhoods, affordable housing, transit-oriented development and the planning and updated codes necessary to them.”

Dara Kovel, a member of 1000 Friends Board of Directors, presented the award. She noted Manchester’s various boards and commissions have been pursuing projects and plans consistent with smart growth principles. These principles include creating walkable neighborhoods, encouraging a mix of land uses and compact building and site design, creating a range of housing opportunities and choices, fostering attractive communities with a strong sense of place, and preserving open space and critical natural features.

Among the projects Ms. Kovel cited were the conversion of the vacant and deteriorating Dye House in the Cheney Historic Mill District into 57 affordable homes, and the approval of a mixed use and mixed income project on Center Street that will provide affordable housing in a location where there are existing public transit, utilities, and other services.

She noted that Manchester’s Broad Street Redevelopment Plan promotes compact, mixed use development that will include green building and green site development techniques. It will create a walkable and sustainable neighborhood and eliminate blighting property conditions while directing growth to undeveloped land with existing infrastructure in the center of the community. The Manchester Redevelopment Agency and the Planning and Zoning Commission are partnering to develop a form-based zoning code to ensure the type of development envisioned in the plan. That code will include green building and site development practices developed for a vacant shopping center in the Parkade site with funds from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Also significant to 1000 Friends is Manchester 2020, the collaborative community planning process that is re-examining Manchester’s future by looking at the extent to which the Town meets the smart growth principles in the State Plan of Conservation and Development. Manchester 2020 involves all of Manchester’s boards and commissions and residents in a series of interactive workshops to identify the issues and opportunities that face Manchester, and strategies to achieve a vision for Manchester’s future. By focusing on growth management principles and smart growth aspirations, the plan should result in a more integrated approach to community building and placemaking.

1000 Friends of Connecticut is a statewide organization whose mission is to promote and shape growth to ensure a prosperous economy, a healthy natural environment, and distinctive, integrated and attractive communities while promoting opportunities in education, housing, transportation, and employment for ourselves and future generations.