The mission of the Department of Planning and Zoning is to protect and improve Danbury’s neighborhoods, business centers, community resources and our natural environment while planning for sustainable development that will enhance the quality of life for all our residents. To that end, the department has been instrumental in the preparation of plans, projects and land use regulations for the city. City-wide plans have included the Plan of Conservation and Development and the city’s Transportation Plan. Major projects have included downtown redevelopment, the creation of the Ives Trail concept, restoration of Elmwood Park, and construction of the 9/11 Memorial.
Historic Main Street Danbury:
A primary task of the department is the enactment and enforcement of zoning and subdivision regulations designed to ensure that proposed developments are constructed in accordance with the Plan of Conservation and Development. The department reviews site plans and assists the Planning Commission in the review of special exception and subdivision applications. Our department also assists with referrals from City Council for requests for extensions of sewer and water service, dedication of roads, and offers to buy, sell or lease city land. The department also assists the Zoning Commission by reviewing all requests for zoning amendments and the rezoning of land.
The department prepares the annual Capital Improvement Program to schedule major capital expenditures over time, reviews all applications under the Deferral of Assessment Increases program, and updates and corrects street addresses in the City.
The Planning Director serves as Executive Director of the Danbury Redevelopment Agency. Departmental responsibilities for downtown redevelopment have included the recruitment of new business development, the coordination of streetscape improvements on Main and White Streets, construction of the Patriot Garage, creation of the Danbury Green, and preparation of the downtown revitalization plan, Downtown Danbury: Issues & Recommendations.
The Planning Director also serves as an alternate member of the Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials, as a member of the Danbury Housing Partnership, and as an ex-officio member of the CityCenter Danbury Board of Directors.
Professional and clerical staff provides support services to the Planning and Zoning Commissions, the Zoning Board of Appeals, and the Redevelopment Agency, while clerical support is provided to the Environmental Impact Commission.
The department oversaw the preparation and completion of public incentives to encourage new development downtown, including: zoning amendments; reductions in selected parking requirements; expansion in uses eligible for tax abatement; a reduction in permit fees; and, means of expediting permit reviews.
The department prepared a successful grant application to study needs to restore Hearthstone Castle and managed consultant activities to complete the Ives Trail.
Substantial amendments to the zoning and subdivision regulations were prepared and approved and a five-year capital improvement plan was prepared and submitted to the Planning Commission for approval and forwarding to City Council.
The department continues to review and prepare revisions to the city’s Zoning Regulations and other land use regulations to address changing conditions which threaten the city with undesirable development that may intrude upon residential neighborhoods, harm the environment, or create unacceptable traffic congestion. All current zoning and subdivision regulations are available to the public on the city’s website under the Planning and Zoning Department entry.
Despite the economic problems facing the country, we can anticipate new development to continue in Danbury. Recent approvals include, among others, redevelopment of the old police department site into housing, professional offices and a bank, a shopping center at Marcus Dairy, new offices for Belimo Air Controls, and expansion of DRS Consolidated Controls and the Danbury Hospital.