The master plan for the City of Danbury is updated every decade. During a zoom meeting this week, discussion about the Plan of Conservation and Development focused on zoning to encourage economic growth and to preserve the city’s open space.
Consultant Francisco Gomes suggested they look at rezoning the area around the mall and downtown to allow housing, noting a decent amount of surface parking.
Connecticut Post Mall in Milford has proposed a plan that includes 500 apartments and 450,000 square feet of commercial and office space. Some other malls across the country are beginning to redevelop to incorporate housing on the site and Gomes things this will be one of the big ideas Danbury is likely to address. He added that leaders needed to figure out if there is anything the city should be doing to support the future of this site. He notes that the mall may be able to continue as it is, but the trends nationally would suggest that they need to adapt in some way.
A few city elected officials questioned what, if anything, they could do to encourage a more uniform look in downtown. Planning Director Sharon Calitro says the balance between progress and conservation had to be struck in the city’s historic Main Street district, and they have been careful to craft regulations about a height restrictions. But she acknowledged the City might have to do something to incentivize people to density downtown.
Despite two parking garages downtown, more space may be needed. A transit-oriented development study highlighted the need and the City put out a request for proposals for a municipal parking lot on Liberty Street. That could lead to a multi-story building with shops on the ground floor.