Current & Recent Planning Initiatives

Many communities have difficulty answering the question, What will our future look like, and how will we get there? For West Haven, that question is further influenced by the community’s location on Long Island Sound and New Haven Harbor: Coastal communities enjoy the beauty of the waterfront but also have the responsibility of planning for extreme weather, such as hurricanes, floods and coastal storms.

The city has embarked on a number of planning initiatives in recent years. Below is a summary of current and recent planning initiatives that have all been geared toward making the city a more attractive place to live, work and play.

After adopting the city’s current Plan of Conservation and Development in 2017, the Planning and Zoning Commission formed a subcommittee that has spearheaded a multitude of planning efforts to help implement the POCD. The following planning projects are underway as of 2020 — with more expected. Watch for public engagement opportunities to participate in these efforts:

Current Planning Initiatives

West Haven Affordable Housing Plan

In 2017, the Connecticut General Statutes passed a law (Sec. 8-30j) requiring municipalities to adopt an Affordable Housing Plan by July 2022. To achieve this, the Southern Connecticut Regional Council of Governments has been working with all its municipalities to adopt the local plans and a regional plan. SCRCOG has worked with RKG Associates Inc., an economic planning consultant in Boston, to collect and analyze data demographics, household compositions, housing stock and values, vacancies and other data points to determine Housing Affordability Gaps. Our next steps are to develop Housing Goals and Strategies and draft and adopt an Affordable Housing Plan.

Updated Timeline: This document highlights key dates and goals for the adoption of the West Haven Affordable Housing Plan.

See the SCRCOG Regional Housing Plan-Updated Timeline of Activities (PDF).

SCRCOG Housing Plan Survey: This is a copy of the survey that was conducted by SCRCOG through Survey Monkey. The survey has closed, but those wishing to still give input can email a filled-out copy of the survey to csoto@westhaven-ct.gov, or they can drop off a completed copy of the survey in the Department of Planning and Development at City Hall, 355 Main St. Please note that since the survey has closed, any data collected will not be reflected in final data sets presented in the plan. However, it may provide useful in the development of Goals and Strategies of the West Haven Affordable Housing Plan.

See the SCRCOG Housing Plan Survey (PDF).

West Haven Affordable Housing Existing Conditions: This document provides a baseline analysis of data ranging from population and housing characteristics to general economic indicators and labor force statistics. It provides an opportunity to identify current local trends and/or quantify and detail, more specifically, known trends experienced by local stakeholders.

See the SCRCOG West Haven Affordable Housing Plan-Existing Conditions (PDF).

Group 2 — East Haven, New Haven and West Haven: This is a copy of the presentation done by RKG to staff members of the three municipalities. It identifies and provides some analysis of several demographic and housing trends and Housing Affordability Gaps.

See the SCRCOG Affordable Housing Plan for East Haven, New Haven and West Haven (PDF).

SCRCOG Regional Survey Analysis: This document presents the raw regional data collected from the survey conducted by SCRCOG.

See the SCRCOG Regional Survey Analysis (PDF).

Economic Impact of Housing: This one-page infographic highlights how money spent on affordable housing helps boost economic development growth.

See the PSC Economic Impact of Affordable Housing (PDF).

AHP Guidebook: This is a guide on how to draft an Affordable Housing Plan. The guide was published by the state Department of Housing and the Regional Plan Association, an independent, not-for-profit regional planning organization in Stamford.

See the DOH Affordable Housing Plan and Process Guidebook (PDF).

West Haven Goals Slideshow: This is a short presentation summarizing West Haven Demographic and Market Conditions. The PowerPoint presentation will be given at the Affordable Housing Workshop on Feb. 24, 2022, to help guide the discussion on developing goals for the West Haven Affordable Housing Plan.

See the West Haven Goals Slideshow (PDF).

Affordable Housing Plan Final Draft: The below document is the final draft for the West Haven Affordable Housing Plan. This draft document is being considered for adoption. Please send all comments or recommendations to csoto@westhaven-ct.gov with “WH Affordable Housing Plan Comments” in the subject line.

See the SCRCOG West Haven Affordable Housing Plan-Final Draft (PDF). (Revised May 4, 2022)

Allingtown Plan

Late in 2018, the Planning and Zoning Commission formed a neighborhood-based Steering Committee to help develop an Allingtown Plan as recommended in the Plan of Conservation and Development. Throughout 2019 and early 2020, the committee met to develop the plan and combined efforts with the commission to hold two workshops to obtain community input. The committee and the Allingtown community had a distinct interest in making the Allingtown Center a more walkable community, particularly close to the University of New Haven campus. A variety of recommendations were included in a draft plan that was presented to the committee and the commission for their consideration in June 2020.

Bicycle/Pedestrian Plan

In recent years, it had become increasingly clear to the Planning and Zoning Commission of the need to modify the city’s current roadways to better accommodate travel by those on foot and bike. The city approached the South Central Regional Council of Governments (SCRCOG) in 2019 to request funding for a citywide Bicycle/Pedestrian Plan. The SCRCOG moved quickly to secure the necessary money to include this plan in its 2020 Work Plan. The Beta Group Inc., an engineering firm based in Hartford, was selected to prepare a study of the Bicycle/Pedestrian Plan. The study has been delayed until the latter part of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Recent Planning Initiatives

Harbor Management Plan

Under the direction of the Harbor Management Commission, the city prepared a Harbor Management Plan in 2015-18 to guide the most desirable use of West Haven’s navigable waters and intertidal areas for recreational, commercial and conservation purposes. The plan was reviewed and approved by the state and was ultimately adopted by the City Council in September 2018. Through this plan, the city analyzed conditions within the West Haven Harbor Management Area and recommended a number of future goals and policies to guide the safe and beneficial use of this area and the conservation and enhancement of coastal resources, such as tidal wetlands, beaches and dunes, and shellfish beds. The Harbor Management Area encompasses the city’s municipal jurisdiction on the western half of New Haven Harbor, near the shore of Long Island Sound, and tidal portions of the West River, Oyster River, Cove River and Old Field Creek.

The Harbor Management Plan complements the Plan of Conservation and Development and the city’s waterfront zoning regulations by focusing on issues most pertinent to the safe, orderly and beneficial use of the waters of the Harbor Management Area and the protection and enhancement of the area’s natural coastal resources and water quality. Together, the two plans function as the city’s principal guides for the use and conservation of West Haven’s coastal waters and waterfront resources.

The plan was developed with the technical assistance of Westport coastal consultant Geoffrey Steadman. The preparation of the plan was influenced by an online community survey, to which more than 550 residents and interested individuals responded.

See the Harbor Management Plan (PDF).

Proposed Boat Launching Ramp: After the adoption of the Harbor Management Plan, the Harbor Management Commission turned its efforts to planning for a much-needed boat launching ramp (the existing boat launch on April Street is unfortunately more than a mile from the federal channel, and users are limited to narrow periods of high tide to ensure sufficient water depth for launching and RACE Coastal Engineering LLC of Stratford).