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Beacon Falls Town Plan Msparzo
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Beacon Falls Town Plan Msparzo

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A theoretical town plan for Beacon Falls, CT. My goal was to expand the town tax base through commercial or industrial development. I located potential sites for new development based on a set of …

A theoretical town plan for Beacon Falls, CT. My goal was to expand the town tax base through commercial or industrial development. I located potential sites for new development based on a set of criteria listed in the document.

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  • 1. Town Plan for Beacon Falls<br />By Matt Sparzo<br />Contents:<br />Wetland Soils, Hydrography, and potential sites…………………………………………………………………..3<br />Current Development and concentrated areas of Development for Potential sites……………..4<br />Protected Lands and other natural resources……………………………………………………………………….7<br />Acceptable Topography………………………………………………………………………………………………………..8<br />Lands with close proximity to existing transportation…………………………………………………………..9<br />Natural Resources and their criteria…………………………………………………………………………………….10<br />Potential opportunity for LID at construction site………………………………………………………………..11<br />Potential Sites for Development…………………………………………………………………………………………..12<br />The Board of Selectman in Beacon Falls have asked me, as a town planner, to grow the tax base in town through the expansion of commercial and industrial development. Because Beacon Falls is a relatively undeveloped town with lots of potential for growth, my goal as a planner is to determine what areas would be most appropriate for development based on a set of specific criteria including:<br />
    • Wetlands and associated areas
    • 2. No overlapping of preexisting developed lands
    • 3. Avoiding protected lands
    • 4. Site must have relatively light slope to support a structure
    • 5. Proximity of existing transportation lines for easy access
    • 6. No overlapping of natural diversity areas where species may be endangered
    • 7. Integrating LID for any potential site
    Beacon Falls is located in New Haven County, CT, approximately 30 miles from Hartford and 71 miles Southwest from Boston. It is 10 square miles and has an estimated population of 5,782 for 2008, leaving the town with an already small tax base to draw from. Developing a commercial area in town would not only bring revenue in to the town, but would also potentially draw new citizens looking to take advantage of new amenities, including its location, suburban appeal, and proximity to major cities.<br />Environmental Benefits of Wetlands include:<br />
    • slow floodwaters
    • 8. protect uplands from erosion
    • 9. increase water quality
    • 10. provide setting for recreation and study
    • 11. support a diversity of wildlife across the landscape
    • 12. moderate local climate
    • 13. recharge groundwater
    It is important to preserve wetlands when finding potential sites for development. The benefits of wetlands along for the environment along with the difficulty of laying foundations in wet soil should be taken into consideration when finding areas for development.<br />-334010-98425<br />Figure 2 shows the town of Beacon Falls and its 2006 Land Cover. This map shows developed areas in red, forested areas in green and other geographic features. They key information in this is the developed lands, which are mostly concentrated around the Naugatuck River and other surrounding roads and neighborhoods. Circled in blue are areas of dense development that could support new commercial development and most likely be within the proper zoning district. These circled areas also are located at major intersections in town and would allow for pedestrians as well as large shipment trucks to move easily from place to place Luckily, most of the town lends itself easily to development as most of it is undeveloped and relatively dry. Shown below are screenshots of these developed areas.<br />Figure 2 shows the town of Beacon Falls and its 2006 Land Cover. This map shows developed areas in red, forested areas in green and other geographic features. They key information in this is the developed lands, which are mostly concentrated around the Naugatuck River and other surrounding roads and neighborhoods. Circled in blue are areas of dense development that could support new commercial development and most likely be within the proper zoning district. These circled areas also are located at major intersections in town and would allow for pedestrians as well as large shipment trucks to move easily from place to place Luckily, most of the town lends itself easily to development as most of it is undeveloped and relatively dry. Shown below are screenshots of these developed areas.<br />534035236855Following 3 screenshots Courtesy of Microsoft Visual Earth<br />
    • The area captured above is labeled “1” on the map. This area is primed for commercial or industrial development because it is located at a major artery of town traffic. There is an entrance and exit ramp to the highway at the intersection in the bottom right hand corner of the picture. This area would allow for large trucks to easily enter and leave Beacon Falls and would allow for a large influx of goods and export of merchandise, all of which would boost the tax base and grow the town economy.
    534035143510<br />
    • The area captured above is labeled “2” on the map. This area, like area one, would support commercial development as well. On the far left of the screen there in a rail line with what seems to be an old unused or under-utilized storage depot. This area could be changed into an area of commercial of industrial growth that would allow for easy rail transport of goods.
    464185156210<br />
    • The above aerial screenshot is labeled “3” on Figure 1. This area would be ideal for development as well. There are no residential areas close to this area and there is already what appears to be warehousing next to the highway and the railroad runs adjacent to the street the warehouses are located on. There is also an exit and entrance ramp in this area that would allow easy access for trucks and other vehicles.
    -81280120650<br />-728980259715<br />Figure 3 Source: Center for land use and Education and Research<br />Protected/Private Lands in Beacon Falls, CT<br />Figure 3 shows Municipal Open space and Private Open Space as well as DEP Property within the Beacon Falls town boundaries. One of the constraints of potential commercial and industrial sites is that they cannot overlap with protected areas. These areas typically have strict regulations that prevent this type of development. Some of the private open spaces include the Naugatuck Valley Beagle Club, Pines Bridge Cemetery, Bethany Conservation Trust, Inc., and a number of recreation fields, parks, and schools. These areas have pre-existing development that would not allow for new structures and, therefore, new businesses. Some of the DEP properties include the Naugatuck State Forest and water access sites to the Naugatuck River. These areas are to be excluded in considering sites for development.<br />Figure 4MAGIC-Connecticut Statewide Topographic Map Mosaics<br />Figure 4 shows the topography of Beacon Falls. In general, this town is limited in its development because of the lack of flat open space Sloped lots often require more gravel backfill material at the foundation; they might need expensive retaining walls to create a flat area for a driveway and can often cost more money. Building in areas that are relatively flat will allow for larger developments. Also building a parking lot on a sloped surface increases the threat of contaminated runoff infiltrating the water table and other bodies. Flooding in the basement could also be a problem if the building is built on a slope. Seepage of water into the foundation of the structure would be an issue. The squared areas are areas that meet all previous constraints and also contain flat lands suitable for development.<br />2413036195<br />Figure 5Source: CLEAR<br />Areas with easy access to existing transportation links—Beacon Falls, CT<br />Another constraint to development is that it must be in the proximity of existing transportation routes in order to keep costs of connecting the development to the current network or roads. Also, by having businesses close to things such as exit and entrance ramps, railroads, major town roads, and residential streets, commercial businesses and industries can distribute goods to the town citizens, other parts of the state, and other parts of the county with very little difficulty. The best potential areas to place new development are circled in blue and are close to railroads, exit ramps to Route 8, and other existing town roads.<br />24130132080<br /> Natural Diversity Areas<br />Figure 6Source: CLEAR<br />Natural Diversity Areas in Beacon Falls, CT<br />The final constraint to development is that it must not overlap with areas that are classified as natural diversity. These areas are classified in the DEP database as a general area where there is either an organism that is threatened or in danger of becoming threatened. This area is buffered to make the exact locations more general, but to avoid any problems, they will not be considered when looking for an area to build new development. Thankfully, the majority of these lands are in the Northwest corner of town, and overlap with DEP lands that have already been excluded from a list of potential building sites.<br />Potential for Low Impact Development (LID) at construction site<br />Low Impact Development is defined as site design strategy intended to maintain or replicate predevelopment hydrology through the use of small scale controls integrated throughout the site to manage runoff as close to its source as possible. Potential LID techniques such as biogardens, swales, and alternate pavements coupled with other common-sense techniques can significantly reduce the environmental impacts of the development.<br />Bio-gardens: Bio-gardens are vegetated areas designed to infiltrate and process stormwater. By placing bio-gardens in between parking spaces in parking lots, water will be able to infiltrate areas it would not have been able to otherwise. Also by placing landscaping behind a structure or introducing bio-garden landscaping around walkways, infiltration on a sight will increase.<br />Swales: Swales promote infiltration and are often more cost-effective than pipe drainage. They are particularly effective in sediment removal. If a site were to be placed on a slope, this would be an important drainage practice because sediment would need to be accounted for when draining down a hill and onto an impermeable surface.<br /> Alternative Pavements: By using different, permeable pavements, runoff will be permitted to drain into the water table as opposed to becoming a hazardous point source for runoff that could end up in surrounding streams and water bodies. If the parking lot at a site uses permeable pavements, toxins from cars as gasoline would not leak directly into streams. Instead they would be filtered out through natural processes.<br />Green Roofs: These can reduce heating and cooling loads of a building, thereby reducing its energy use. It can also reduce stormwater runoff, reducing a sites potential to be a hazardous point source for pollution. They also filter pollutants such as carbon dioxide out of the air, making commercial areas or areas located near roads a breath of fresh air.<br />41275057785<br />The red outline is the area that I as town planner have chosen to be the sight of new development either commercial or industrial. This plot of land offers easy access to Route 8, in the western part of the screen capture. It also avoids land that is either protected by DEP or part of a natural diversity area. There also seems to be other commercial businesses in the area as evidenced by the warehouse on the property and will not cause conflict in the zoning process. <br />The upside to this site, other than meeting all of the necessary criteria, is that the plot of land is large enough for a variety of things. For example, it appears large enough to accommodate a shopping plaza or truck depot, both of which would offer unique opportunities to both the citizens of Beacon Falls and potential business owners seeking a place to start a business. One of the down sides of this site, and the town in general, is that it is mostly an undeveloped town. The citizens of the town, regardless of what type of economic benefits the addition of a business or industry could have, are unlikely to agree with any development. <br />Having met the necessary criteria laid out by the Beacon Falls Board of Selectman and myself from the onset of the project, I would recommend this area of town to build a commercial or industrial site in hopes of growing the tax base.<br />

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