Digital Tool Offers Public a Chance to Comment on Regional Development

RiverCOG has introduced a digital mapping tool that the public can use to provide input to the draft of the Regional Plan of Conservation and Development until Jan. 29. 

“This map is just a tool for you and [it will] help us consolidate your thoughts and orient them geographically,” explained Sam Gold, executive director of the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments, known as RiverCOG, to about 35 people who attended the “Regional Workshop: Future Land Use Map, part 2” virtual meeting Monday night. 

The interactive map, which includes a tutorial, allows the viewer to drop a pin in a location or draw lines or shapes around an area and provides a space for written comments. 

The map provides layers of information, including zoning, conservation areas, flood zones, utilities, sewer services areas, historic and village districts and train stations, among others. 

Megan Jouflas, senior planner at RiverCOG, told the participants they will be asked to envision where they would like to see various types of development and infrastructure. 

“We will ask you to draw on the map where you would like to see town centers, innovation development areas, utility expansion areas, housing opportunity areas, connections, and other areas that you may find important for our consideration,” she said. 

Gold said the purpose was to look at the region on a larger scale but not to replace or reinvent each town’s Plan of Conservation and Development. 

The digital tool is just one of the methods that RiverCOG is using to gather information for the first-ever regional plan. 

From July through September 2020, RiverCOG staff, members of the Regional Planning Committee, and consultants from Fitzgerald & Halliday, Inc., a community planning group, met virtually with all 17 municipalities in the council region and asked the same five questions about the future of the region. 

RiverCOG also held “thematic workshops” in December, including “Addressing the Region’s Changing Demographics” and “Visioning and Branding for the Region.” 

All of the meetings and other materials are available for viewing on the RiverCOG site.

 For more information, email MJouflas@RiverCOG.org, call (860) 581-8554, or visit  RiverCOG.org.

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