Date: Fri 26-Feb-1999

Date: Fri 26-Feb-1999

Publication: Bee

Author: CURT

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ED INK: Attention Turns To Hawleyville

It used to be that you could look out on great sweeps of landscape in Newtown

and contemplate the timelessness of the local geography, the unchanging view,

the generations of families who would live and die in their season as the

outlook remained the same. Now we look out on the landscape and wonder when

and where the new houses are going to pop up.

Newtown is a growing town, and thanks to the hard work of local developers and

land use officials, most of that growth has been well-planned and reasonable,

given the extreme pressure on the real estate market in the region. For the

past couple of years, the development potential of Fairfield Hills has held

our attention, and through the cooperative work of local and state officials,

it is fairly certain that whatever does evolve at Fairfield Hills will not be

the result of happenstance, but of intention.

Though our focus has been on the center of town and Fairfield Hills, there are

other areas on the margins of town with development potential capable of

affecting the quality of life in Newtown for better or worse. Most notable

among them is Hawleyville.

Work begins this year on the planned 298-unit elderly housing complex off

Mount Pleasant Road known as "The Homesteads." In the coming year, a sewer

line from Danbury will be extended along Route 6 to accommodate this large

development, opening a new corridor susceptible to high-density development.

It is anticipated that the sewer line will be extended to Hawleyville Road and

I-84 Exit 9 at some point in the future. Next month the Conservation

Commission will conduct a hearing on a proposal for 26 new homes on 114 acres

off Farrell Road and Hawleyville Road in a subdivision to be known as "Newtown

Hunt," and open land on Barnabas Road in the Hawleyville Industrial Park is

attracting the attention of those interested in developing business and

commercial enterprises in the area.

Late last week, Elizabeth Stocker, community development director, sent a

memorandum to the Planning and Zoning Commission urging it to get started on

its plan to recast zoning regulations in Hawleyville in accordance with the

objectives outlined in an economic development plan endorsed by the commission

last year. Of particular importance at this point is the need to protect those

areas of Hawleyville that will remain residential from over-development. Mrs

Stocker's recommendation to "upzone" residential areas along Mt Pleasant to

establish lower densities in those areas is timely. The Planning and Zoning

Commission has been busy lately, but it is important that it make time in its

schedule to address zoning in Hawleyville so that it better reflects the

established plan for development in the area.

The great sweep of landscape in Hawleyville is in for some big changes --

there's no doubt about it. But with some foresight and planning, those changes

can be directed in a way that will provide economic opportunities for Newtown

without further stretching its resources.