Town plan survey launching soon

A telephone survey pertaining to Wilton’s Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) should be launching in “a week or so,” Town Planner Bob Nerney told The Bulletin on Dec. 3.

The plan to launch the survey early this month is in line with the expressed desire of the Planning and Zoning Commission’s POCD consultant, Milone & MacBroom. Nerney said “most POCDs involve the employment of phone surveys.”

“It’s a controlled survey done by professional organizations used to gauge the pulse of a community to try and determine what issues are important to them,” he said.

The survey will focus on POCD-related issues, goals, objectives and strategies, including — but not limited to — conservation and preservation, business, special areas, transportation, zoning and development.

Nerney said the goal is to keep the survey around 10 minutes, and “the target is to keep it between 40 and 45 questions.”

The Planning and Zoning Commission held a special meeting on Nov. 29 to review a draft of the survey, during which commissioners agreed that a combination of multiple-choice and open-ended questions would be best for eliciting accurate and meaningful responses. Commissioners also eliminated some redundant questions and overlapping topics, and consolidated, expanded, and rewrote some of the questions.

The Center for Research and Public Policy (CRPP), a research and public policy consulting firm, has been subcontracted to do the survey.

Nerney said the center has “developed a list of pre-screened numbers” to call based on “a representative sample of the community,” and the sample size of the surveys is “usually around 400 people.”

The phone survey will “reflect the will of the public,” said Nerney, and “serve as a guide” for the Planning and Zoning Commission in developing the POCD.

Nerney said the POCD is “an important document” for communities because they represent “where they are and what they seek to be in the future.”

POCDs also contain “historical trends of what’s occurred in a community,” said Nerney, and they can provide “broad-based policy recommendations” for a town.

What’s next?

Nerney said the town is developing a rough draft of its POCD, which the Planning and Zoning Commission and POCD working group — comprised of representatives from various town boards and commissions — have both reviewed.

As the phone survey results are tabulated, Nerney said, they will be shared with the group, and the POCD will be further refined.

As part of the formal adoption of the POCD, Nerney said, “there will be public hearings,” as well as “sharing of documents with the State Office of Policy Management in Hartford, because the plan has to be concurrent with some state policies.”

Nerney said the target date of the Wilton POCD’s completion and adoption is April 2019.