Planning and Zoning Department
The purpose of the Planning and Zoning Department is to guide appropriate land use patterns in ways that will:
- Preserve the sense of community fostered by cohesive neighborhoods, conveniently located, healthy and attractive business centers and exemplary public facilities;
- Protect and enhance the diversity evident in the Town’s wide spectrum of housing stock and broad economic base;
- Encourage efficiency, cost effectiveness, safety and conservation of energy in private development as well as public investment; and
- Support the preservation of the Town’s historic and natural resources and improve the public access to, use and enjoyment of these resources.
To advance these goals, the Planning and Zoning Department:
- Supports the Planning and Zoning Commission (PZC), Town Center Revitalization Review Board (TCRR), and the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA);
- Administers community development grants such as the Small Cities program; and
- Conducts a variety of land use planning studies
Our staff is available Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Feel free to contact or visit us for information or aid with your local planning or zoning-related concerns. We ask that you call ahead to make an appointment so we can set aside time to give you the attention you deserve.
Planning and Zoning Commission
The Planning and Zoning Commission, appointed by the Board of Selectmen, meets at 7:00 p.m. on the first and third Thursday of each month, at the Canoe Brook Senior Center, 11 Cherry Hill Road.
In its planning capacity, the Commission is responsible for developing the “Plan of Conservation and Development” (POCD). The POCD establishes land use goals and action steps for the community’s future. The Commission adopted the most recent POCD in 2008.
Another planning function of the Commission is to develop and administer the Subdivision Regulations, which regulate the division of property into legal building lots and the construction of public infrastructure (such as roads and sewers) necessary to support such development.
In its zoning capacity, the Commission adopts and implements Zoning Regulations, which regulate various aspects of construction such as size, location, and use of structures as well as site development features such as parking, grading, landscaping, and outdoor lighting.
Note that the Short Beach Civic Association (SBCA) and the Pine Orchard Association have zoning jurisdiction within their respective association boundaries. However, the Branford Planning and Zoning Commission, having planning jurisdiction for the entire town, handles all subdivision and Coastal Site Plan review applications, including those for properties within Short Beach and Pine Orchard.
Zoning Board of Appeals
In accordance with Section 8-6 of the Connecticut General Statutes, the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) has the following powers and duties: (1) To hear and decide appeals where it is alleged that there is an error in any order, requirement or decision made by the Zoning Enforcement Officer, and (2) To determine and vary the application of the zoning regulations in harmony with their general purpose and intent and with due consideration for conserving the public health, safety, convenience, welfare and property values solely with respect to a parcel of land where, owing to conditions especially affecting such parcel but not affecting generally the district in which it is situated, a literal enforcement of such regulations would result in exceptional difficulty or unusual hardship so that substantial justice will be done and the public safety and welfare secured.
The ZBA is not required to hear any application for the same variance or substantially the same variance for a period of six months after a decision by the board or by a court on an earlier such application.
The ZBA meets at 7:00 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month, at the Canoe BrookSenior Center, 11 Cherry Hill Road.
Town Center Revitalization Review Board
The Town Center Revitalization Review Board (TCRRB) meets monthly to review zoning applications for proposed commercial uses, structures and signage within the designated Town Center Village District. Created by the Branford Representative Town Meeting in 1986 to advise the Board of Selectmen on the implementation of the Town Center Revitalization construction project, the TCRRB was later designated by the Planning and Zoning Commission as the design review board for the Town Center. In this role, the Review Board advises the Planning and Zoning Commission on applications for signs, facades, parking, streetscape, landscaping, and other activities subject to zoning review. Section 5.2 of the Branford Zoning Regulations describes the purpose, activities covered, procedures, application requirements, and standards for the Town Center Village District.
The Town Center Revitalization Review Board meets on the second Wednesday of the month, at 8:30 a.m., in the Town Hall basement conference room.
Public Notice Registry
In accordance with the provisions of Section 8-7d of the Connecticut General Statutes, the Branford Planning and Zoning Commission has established a “public notice registry” to inform interested property owners, electors, and non-profit organizations of certain applications initiated by the Commission.
Individuals and organizations who ask to be placed on the registry will be notified of the commencement of public hearings on Planning and Zoning Commission initiated amendments to the Branford Zoning Regulations, changes to the Branford Zoning Map, amendments to the Branford Subdivision Regulations, and adoption of or amendments to the Branford Plan of Conservation and Development. Notifications will be sent by e-mail unless delivery by U.S. Postal Service is specifically requested. Notices will be sent at least seven days prior to the beginning of the public hearing.
The notices cover only those applications initiated by the Planning and Zoning Commission; notices will notbe sent regarding applications submitted by applicants other than the Commission themselves (e.g., individuals or corporations).
To download the registration form, click here. Printed copies are also available during normal business hours in the Planning & Zoning Office.
To sign up to receive automatic notification of all meeting agendas, click here.
Small Cities Program
The “Small Cities” program supports a wide variety of projects to improve neighborhoods, housing, and employment opportunities. Any municipality with a population of less than 50,000 is eligible to compete for funding for projects that benefit low and moderate income households. Funded by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Small Cities program is administered in Connecticut by the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD).
In 1993, DECD awarded Branford its first Small Cities grant, to establish a revolving loan fund for housing rehabilitation. Since that time, the Town has made more than 50 loans to low and moderate income households for essential improvements such as roofing, plumbing, heating, and electrical work. To find out more about the program, see the Town of Branford Housing Rehabilitation Loan Program Information guidelines (link opens in new window). If you wish to apply for a grant as an owner, applications may be obtained at the Planning and Zoning Office in Town Hall.
In a highly competitive round of funding this year, the Town secured a $500,000 grant for energy efficiency improvements at Orchard House Adult Daycare. Since 1993, the Town has received four and a half million dollars in Small Cities grant money. Projects funded by those grants include:
- Blackstone Library installation of elevator
- Parkside Village replacement of doors and windows
- Volunteer Services Center conversion from old police station
- Adult Daycare addition to existing building
- Parkside Village installation of elevators
- Rosenthal Manor conversion of existing building to elderly apartment units
Harbor Health Services fire safety and sewer improvements