Environmental Planning in the Northwest Hills
The NHCOG conducts a variety of environmental planning efforts. While most projects involve environmental planning to some degree, this page will feature the significant projects undertaken by or via the NHCOG.
Western Water Utility Coordinating Committee
NHCOG participates in the state of Connecticut’s Western Water Utility Coordinating Committee (WUCC). This is one of three WUCCs in the state. Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of every month in the Brookfield Town Hall. Meeting minutes and other information is available on the Western WUCC website.
From the FAQs:
“What is a WUCC?
‘WUCC’ is an acronym for ‘Water Utility Coordinating Committee’. WUCCs were created by statute in 1985 (Public Act 85-535, “An Act Concerning a Connecticut Plan for Public Water Supply Coordination”). They are intended to “maximize efficient and effective development of the state’s public water supply systems and to promote public health, safety and welfare.” WUCC members are public water systems and Councils of Government…
What does a WUCC do?
WUCCs are initially charged with completing a planning document for public drinking water supply for their management area. The document development has several elements: a Water Supply Assessment, Exclusive Service Area Boundary delineations, an Integrated Report, and an Executive Summary. The three planning documents will also be compiled into a single, statewide water supply planning document.”
Low Impact Development Design Manual
From 2016 to 2017, the Northwest Conservation District, supported by the Northwest Hills Council of Governments staff, coordinated the creation of a Low impact Sustainable Development Design (LISD) Manual. The manual, designed for the Planning & Zoning Commission of the town of Morris and produced by Trinkaus Engineering, LLC, describes the need for the LID
approach, engineering specifications for successful systems, and sample enforcement tools. The manual would not have been possible without funding from the UConn Connecticut Institute for Resiliency and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA). The Municipal Resilience Grant Program provided $18,000 for the completion of the manual.
Low-impact development (LID), alternatively Low-impact Sustainable Development (LISD), is a development mind-set that prioritizes minimally invasive design, construction, and site operation. It especially focuses on on-site precipitation management by reducing runoff quantity, quality, and velocity with a goal of reducing negative impacts to receiving waters. On-site management strategies include reduction in impervious services, installation of infiltration systems, and zone-specific standards. This philosophy departs from long-standing traditions focused on maximum parking, box-building construction, and rapid water removal from a site.
By creating a municipal-scale manual, this project targets the scale at which parcel-by-parcel land use decisions are made. It can be tailored to each municipality’s unique water sources and historic development patterns. The municipal focus allows regulatory review to reduce decision-making conflicts and increase the chances of success. This project serves as a manual for municipal-wide implementation of LID.
Climate Resiliency Planning
NHCOG was recently awarded another Municipal Resilience Program from UConn CIRCA to create a “Rural Resiliency Vision and Toolkit”. More details forthcoming. Please contact Joanna Wozniak-Brown if you have any questions regarding this project.