A draft of the extensive revision of Hartford’s zoning regulations is now available to peruse. In the next few weeks, there will be several opportunities to weigh in on the changes.
The City of Hartford will be hosting two open houses. The first, on December 21, 2015 will take place from 4-6 p.m. on the fourth floor of 250 Constitution Plaza. The second, to be held in the Plaza Level Conference Room at 260 Constitution Plaza, will be on January 4, 2016 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
The Planning & Zoning Commission will be holding its public hearing at 6 p.m. on January 12, 2016 in its regular meeting place, 260 Constitution Plaza, Plaza Level Conference Room.
For those with questions or comments who are unable to attend those meetings, remarks can be passed along to Sara Bronin, Chair of the Planning & Zoning Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Part One: Frog Hollow to Firefly Hollow
A friend had suggested a Sunday morning meet-up at the downtown New Britain CTFastrak terminal for a leisurely bike ride to Bristol’s Firefly Hollow Brewing Company. I rode my bike to the Sigourney Street Fastrak station in Asylum Hill to catch a free ride to Hard Hittin’ New Britain. A woman in a bright vest offered a decal and advice about the best entrance to use when loading a bike on the bus. (Tip: there’s a bike pictogram by the rearmost door—go in that way) (more…)
Following hor d’oeuvres and open bar, a few dozen people who haven’t experienced fashion show fatigue yet took their seats along the 100 foot runway installed on Pratt Street Saturday for the Hartford Has Style event.
NIRO and That Flavour Boutique, both of Pratt Street, presented clothing and shoes. Other designers and stores represented included House of Ettienne, Tanijah Gamble, I’m Possible Club, Yanique Mattice, Carmen Veal Swimwear, Zubair, and the Hartford Denim Company. Minimal information was provided about these designers.
Garments were modeled by a mix of models and “role models.” Logan Byrnes, Yvonne Davis, Jennifer DiBella, Oz Griebel, Jerry Long, Hector Rivera, Donna Sodipo, Tara Spain, Sharon Dichand, and Michael Williams were listed as the role models.
There were multiple singing performances and an “Instagram Intermission” during the event; it seemed more chairs opened up after each pause, with spectators leaving as the temperatures dropped and Pratt Street became a wind tunnel — a condition not compatible with strapless gowns.
“This is about preparing an area for development,” said Thomas Deller, City of Hartford’s Director of Development Services. “Everything that’s here is being proposed as the maximum.”
The Downtown North Park Plan is funded, Deller said, by a sustainable community grant to “determine how we develop” the area “for growth and sustainability.”
As with the previous two public meetings, there were questions about who these proposed changes are for, even as the standing room only crowd was told that a steering committee included community members.
But all along, it has been evident that whole segments of the population have not been included in the planning process. At the previous meeting in October, very few residents not employed by the City were in attendance, and no regular users of New Ross, County Wexford Park were involved, even though this small park has its own Friends group. At that meeting, when I informed Tim Love, the Principal of Utile, Inc., that the park is currently used by skaters and others, and that a formal skate park was about the break ground, I was told that if this park was deemed not in the interest of economic development, the skate park could be moved.
I suggested that the parties involved in redevelopment reach out to the community.
That does not seem to have happened in the time since, but park users — including those who skate, do parkour, and use the space as a canvas for their art — caught wind of the plans to change a space without seeking their input. So, they showed up at last night’s final meeting, and they showed up in large numbers.
Predictably, information about the skate park was presented last, for mere minutes, and then followed by the rushed Q&A segment. (more…)