“New Haven Vision 2025” moved one step closer to implementation Thursday night.
An aldermanic joint committee on legislation and community development voted Thursday evening to push the plan — a set of housing, transportation and economic goals for the city — out of committee to be considered by the Board of Alders. The plan, which establishes neighborhood zoning and development goals, will guide City Hall and developers as they change the Elm City’s urban landscape over the upcoming decade. “New Haven Vision 2025” will also help the city obtain grants and attract developers by showing them the ideal future landscape of each neighborhood, Susmitha Attota, assistant director of comprehensive planning, said.
“If you don’t have the plan in place, people can come in and change the character of the place and others will decide for you what your neighborhood will look like,” Attota said. “That’s why it shows the larger vision. I’m sure some of [the plan’s goals] will not be implemented in my lifetime too, but that’s how it is.”
If approved by the entire Board of Alders, the plan would establish several concrete goals, including increasing the growth rate of home ownership by 3 percent over the upcoming decade and combining the Yale and New Haven public transit systems. With the plan, the city will also commit to improving the accessibility of affordable homes in the city and ensuring that all city housing passes building codes.
Though the aldermanic joint committee passed the plan onto its next steps, it will likely pass through further revisions before it is approved by the entire Board of Alders. Several alders said that multiple proposals in the plan require more community input and debate before the Board of Alders can approve them.
For instance, Beverly Hills/Amity Alder Richard Furlow said the zoning decisions need more of his constituents’ input before approval.
“I feel whatever is going to be done as far as zoning changes should really have a community or public forum before these changes are implemented,” Furlow said. “It is crucial neighborhoods are told what is going to be the suggested zoning changes, and to let the community decide whether that fits, because after all, they live there.”
One of the plan’s proposals — to increase the number of two-way streets downtown — would also be up for further debate, Ward 1 Alder Sarah Eidelson ’12 said.
A Hurwitz, Sagarin, Slossberg & Knuff attorney also testified for a change to the plan because he represented a developer who would not be able to build a large retail chain location under the plan’s zoning proposals. His testimony prompted Furlow and Hill Alder Dolores Colon ’91 to state that community input would answer controversies over zoning plans.
Implementation of the plan will not be without its challenges, Westville Alder Adam Marchand and Attota said. Marchand — who urged alders to pass “New Haven Vision 2025” Thursday night — said although he supports the plan, its implementation would require significant funding.
“The vision and the pictures we see is of what could happen, but it takes people to invest to put in the money to build the things,” Marchand said. “It takes funding to build a trail that goes all the way from the Sound to Bethany on the West River. What are you going to need? You’re going to need resources.”
Thirty representatives sit on the New Haven Board of Alders.