Town of Danbury to create long-range plan
by Meghann Evans
Danbury officials are beginning a process that will result in a long-range vision and strategic plan for the town.
Town Administrator Mike Barsness delivered a presentation to the Danbury Town Council on Jan. 9 about his plans for the process. Since he was hired last March, Barsness has been working on several administrative projects such as standardizing the town’s financial procedures and getting the ball rolling on the long-range plan. Barsness said he would do the background work if the council members would just bring their creative thinking to the table.
Through the planning process, the officials will look at aspects of the town such as housing, transportation, parks and open spaces, economic development, land use and zoning, facilities, utilities and emergency and health services. Taking into account stated community values, they will create a vision for how they would like to see the town progress and what it needs to get there, with input from the community.
At some point, a questionnaire will be sent out to the community. Danbury residents are encouraged to attend future council meetings to engage in the process.
“Everyone’s ideas are important,” Barsness told the council.
Council member Gary East noted that one of the stated benefits of the process is that it allows citizens to give input so the town moves toward the vision of what the residents want.
The process will take a while to complete, Barsness noted, but there is no immediate pressure to have a plan in place.
Barsness has begun doing background research on the town’s demographics, budget, inventory and other information, which he hopes to present to the council at an upcoming meeting. The town will then begin the visioning process. Once completed, the product will serve as a guidance document that will be the starting point for a strategic plan. It will also likely inspire the town to re-evaluate its zoning maps, ordinances and other documents.
Regular updates about the planning process will be posted on the town’s website: townofdanbury.org. The Danbury Town Council regularly meets the fourth Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. The next meeting will take place on Feb. 27 at the Danbury Library.
Also during the meeting, the council members discussed the changes proposed for the Danbury Post Office. The U.S. Postal Service has proposed reducing the post office’s window hours.
While the hours have been 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m., the proposal is to shift them to 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. daily. If implemented as planned, this change will go into effect on Feb. 9.
A post office spokesperson said cuts are being made at many post offices across the nation as part of the Post Plan. Reductions in hours were based on results of surveys sent out to all homes in the ZIP code, said Monica Robbs with the USPS.
A meeting was held in Danbury in early January to provide clarification to community members about proposed changes and to discuss results of the survey. Many people attended the meeting in Danbury, according to Mayor Janet Whitt. She expressed concerns about the reduction in hours.
More information about the Postal Service cuts can be found online at https://usps.com/ourfuturenetwork by clicking on “Preserving P.O.”
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