Roles and Responsibilities of Local Commissions Fact Sheets

Fact Sheet collageDisclaimer: The materials contained in these fact sheets are a general, lay summary of the roles and responsibilities of local land use commissioners. They should not be relied on as a valid legal opinion or position. As such, these materials should not be used in place of consulting an attorney about the roles and responsibilities of a local land use commissioner.

Zoning | Planning | Zoning Board of Appeals | Inland Wetlands Conservation


The Land Use Academy has several webinars available for viewing. As a part of UConn CLEAR's (Center for Land Use Education and Research), the Land Use Academy contributes webinars on various topics, to the CLEAR collection. Visit CLEAR's Webinar Library for a complete list.


row of new affordable housing

The mere mention of affordable housing can be a lightning rod for the NIMBY ("not in my back yard") elements in any community. But what is affordable housing and who really lives in it? Access to decent, safe, sanitary and affordable housing has long been an issue of public importance in Connecticut. This webinar focuses on the challenges of providing affordable housing in our communities and why it’s important to create it to solve economic growth, municipal finance, educational, healthcare, environmental quality-of-life, transportation and other problems that our towns and state face. Methods of overcoming the barriers to affordable housing—erasing myths and misconceptions—and discussing why creating affordable housing is in the interest of municipalities will be discussed. The information provided will help foster an understanding of the relationship between housing costs and household incomes, development revenues versus municipal costs, and will include the role of planners in educating their towns’ residents on the benefits of affordable housing in their communities.

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A "buildout" analysis is a planning tool that can provide insight into the possible future impacts of a town's current land use regulations. But what does a buildout really tell you? In the first half of the webinar, we'll explain what a buildout is and isn't, go over common misconceptions about buildouts, and review several different types of buildouts and what type of data are needed for each. In the second half we'll illustrate some of these concepts with two case studies - one done in 2008 for the CT Office of Policy and Management and in partnership with the Central Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments, and a recently completed buildout done in partnership with the Town of Kent. And of course, we'll (attempt to) answer your questions. After spending this hour with us, you may not be able to do a buildout using your iPhone and a pocket calculator, but you will be able to ask good questions about the need for, uses, and types of buildouts that might apply to your community.

brownfield cleanup

Brownfields are underutilized properties, most often located in urban cores, the redevelopment of which is complicated by the potential presence of contamination. While Connecticut communities have made great strides in advancing brownfield revitalization, much work lies ahead and municipalities are often challenged by limited resources. In this webinar, Dr. Maria Chrysochoou Director of the Connecticut Brownfields Initiative (CBI) at the University of Connecticut and Ms. Binu Chandy, Deputy Director of the Office of Brownfield Remediation and Development at the Ct Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), will discuss opportunities for brownfield redevelopment support. Specifically, Ms. Chandy will present an overview of brownfield financial assistance programs, while Dr. Chrysochoou will present the technical Municipal Assistance Program that is launched this year through CBI

CLEAR Programs and Tools

CLEAR Programs: Education & Training

  • CT NEMO Program

    NEMO (Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials) provides information, education and assistance to local land use officials and other community groups on how they can accommodate growth while protecting their natural resources and community character.

  • Geospatial Training Program

    The program's goal is to help municipal land use officials, staff and commission members understand and apply geospatial information technologies to help solve local land use problems and to develop environmentally sensitive land use plans. The program focuses on the use of geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing (RS) and global positioning system (GPS) technology and online mapping and introduces new users to these technologies through hands-on training courses.

  • Forest Stewardship Planning

    Forest Stewardship Planning provides education for natural resource professionals, elected and appointed officials, volunteers and private woodland owners who care for this valued resource and landscape. Extension educators—in cooperation with many organizational partners—seek to improve the health, care, diversity, and management of Connecticut’s trees and forests.

CLEAR Planning Tools

  • CT Low Impact Development (LID) Atlas

    Low impact development (LID) is designed to reduce the negative impacts of traditional development on our water resources. The goal of LID is to preservation the predevelopment hydrology of a site. Site-level practices, such as rain gardens, swales, and pervious pavements, are some of the stormwater treatment practices that can be used to work towards this goal. This website allows you to retrieve LID sites from the inventory by clicking on the interactive map or selecting sites by the LID treatment practice. You can also find companies that design and install these LID practices.

  • Low Impact Development (LID) Regulations (The State of Low Impact Development in Connecticut: a Story Map)

    There are many ways to incorporate innovative stormwater management strategies and low impact development (LID) into local town regulations. This website allows you to explore some Connecticut town and city regulations that have introduced innovative solutions to stormwater management. The list of regulations is not meant to be exhaustive. Alternatively, it is meant to help stimulate ideas on how your town can adopt lower-impact practices that protect water resources.

CLEAR Mapping Tools and Interactive Mapping

  • Connecticut's Changing Landscape (CCL)

    Changing Landscape is a remote sensing-based land cover study that charts landscape changes in Connecticut and portions of New York. It covers the 25-year period from 1985 to 2010 (with in-between dates of 1990, 1995, 2002 and 2006). It includes information on basic land cover, as well as subsidiary analyses of riparian corridor land cover, impervious cover and agricultural field and soil analysis.

  • CT Environmental Conditions Online (CT ECO)

    Maps & Geospatial data for everyone.