Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has established a group composed of local and private-sector leaders and state agency representatives to advance transit-oriented development within Fairfield County.
The mission of the group, the Governor’s Task Force on Transit-Oriented Development in Fairfield County, will be to advance a shared regional vision that drives economic vibrancy and growth in the region by providing residents with access to opportunities for employment, education, and housing in walkable communities co-located with transit.
“We’re building a Connecticut that supports continued growth through the next generation, leaning forward to meet the needs of our residents and businesses now and in the future,” Lamont said. “In tandem with our laser focus on improving transportation across the state, we also need to advance the development that our workforce, communities, and employers want to see – walkable communities with a range of housing options and services, co-located with transit hubs.
“We have an incredible opportunity to provide what our current residents are seeking,” the governor said, “from millennials to retirees, and draw new residents to Connecticut by providing the type of communities they want. This task force will bring together local stakeholders with state agencies to drive a regional vision, forge public-private cooperation, and move forward specific projects.”
The task force will be co-chaired by Norwalk Chief of Economic and Community Development Jessica Casey and Robert Wienner of JDA Development Company and Trout Brook Realty Advisers.
Lisa Tepper Bates, Lamont’s senior coordinator for housing and transit-oriented development, will coordinate the work of the task force. Christie Stewart, director of the Fairfield County Center for Housing Opportunity, will provide additional support.
Other members of the task force will include the leadership of state agencies that play significant roles with regard to transit-oriented development, as well as planning officials from Fairfield County, representatives of the Councils of Government, and senior leadership of a stakeholder organizations, including universities, philanthropy and business.
The group will be administered within the governor’s office.
“This effort represents an important opportunity to transform neighborhoods by establishing a mix of uses and housing options that will draw new residents to our communities, increasing economic activity, further enhancing diversity and expanding the tax base,” Casey said. “There are more than 2 million millennials in the Greater New York area and thousands of students graduating each year from Connecticut-based colleges. Through this task force, we can forge a regional response to provide the mix of housing, transportation options, and economic development opportunities they are seeking.”
“Through this work, we believe we can help Fairfield County communities to attract and retain younger workers and families to the region,” Stewart said.
The task force is holding its first meeting today at 10 a.m. at the Sacred Heart University Martire Center Forum at 5481 Park Ave. in Fairfield. Danbury Planning Director Sharon Calitro is among those scheduled to discuss how transit-oriented development plans can benefit communities from an economic perspective. She will also be providing progress updates from some of the initiatives in the Downtown Danbury TOD Study.