General Function of the Planning Board
The Planning Board's chief responsibility is to plan for & coordinate the development of the City in accordance with the Master Plan.
The Board prepares, adopts & amends the Master Plan; adopts and amends Subdivision Regulations; reviews and acts upon subdivision applications; prepares Capital Budget and Capital Program; reviews and acts upon referrals from the Zoning Board & Zoning Board of Appeals; prepares and adopts neighborhood plans.
See more about the Planning Board in the City Charter.
The Master Plan is the general land use Plan for the physical development of the City. The Plan divides and categorizes the City into land use categories such as, but not limited to, the following:
- Residential--single family plots one acre or more.
- Residential--single family plots less than one acre
- Residential--multi-family-low density
- Residential--multi-family--medium density
- Commercial--local or neighborhood business.
- Commercial--general business.
The land use categories indicated on the Master Plan are defined by the Planning Board and are part of the Master Plan. The Plan shows the Board's recommendation for the following: streets, sewers, bridges, parkways, and other public ways; airports, parks, playgrounds and other public grounds; the general location, relocation and improvement of schools and other public buildings; the general location and extent of public utilities and terminals, whether publicly or privately-owned, for water, light, power, transit, and other purposes; the extent and location of public housing and neighborhood development projects. Other recommendations may be made by the Board and included in the Plan as will, in its judgment, be beneficial to the City. The Master Plan is based on studies of physical, social, economic, and governmental conditions and trends and is designed to promote with the greatest efficiency and economy, the coordinated development of the City and the general welfare, health and safety of its people.
The Master Plan is prepared by the Planning Board and adopted after at least one public hearing. When adopted, the new Plan completely supercedes any prior Master Plan in effect. An original copy of the Plan and any amendments is kept on file in the office of the Town and City Clerk of Stamford.
Amendments to the Master Plan
Any Stamford property owner or governmental agency, Department, Board or Official can file a written petition with the Planning Board for an amendment to the Master Plan. Any petition will be scheduled for at least one public hearing to be held within sixty (60) days from the date the petition was filed. Each petitioner, upon filing a petition must pay a filing fee in the amount set by the Board and record his or her name and address with the secretary of the Board. A copy of the decision of the Board, signed by the Secretary or Chairperson of the, will be sent to the petitioner by registered mail at the time of the official publication of such decision.
Notice of any public hearing held with respect to the adoption or amendment of the Master Plan will be published in an official newspaper stating the time, place and purpose of the hearing, together with a clear and accurate map showing the bounds of any area or areas affected. Said notice shall be published at least twice, the first not more than fifteen (15) nor less than ten days before such hearing, and the last not less than two (2) days before such hearing; and a copy of such proposed Plan or amendment shall be filed in the Office of the Town and City Clerk at least ten days before such hearing.
If more than one public hearing is considered by the Planning Board to be necessary or advisable, additional hearings may be held once advertised, provided no more than ninety days shall elapse between the first and last hearings on any one petition, unless the petitioner agrees in writing to an extension of such period.
The Planning Board must render a decision on all petitions for amendment to the Master Plan within sixty days after the last public hearing on it. No such decision shall become effective until at least ten days have elapsed following the official publication of such decision.
A copy of each such decision, signed by the Secretary or Chairperson of the Board, will be filed with the Town and City Clerk at the time of such official publication. If any decision of the Planning Board is not referred to the Board of Representatives within ten days of the official publication of such decision as herein above provided, such decision shall forthwith become effective and the Secretary or Chairperson of the Planning Board shall file a Certificate, attesting to such fact, with the Town and City Clerk. If any decision of the Planning Board is referred to the Board of Representatives as herein above provided, the President or Clerk of the Board of Representatives shall file a Certificate with the Town and City Clerk immediately following the decision of the Board of Representatives on such matter or, if such Board fails to act on the matter within the time herein above prescribed, said certificate shall be filed immediately following the expiration of such period, attesting to such decision or failure to decide.
Official notice of decisions made by the Planning Board with respect to proposed amendments adopted to the Master Plan shall be given by publishing each such decision, or a summary thereof, together with a clear and accurate map showing the bounds of the area or areas affected thereby, in an official newspaper within five days after such decision has been made. Official publication of each decision shall be deemed to have been made upon the date of the appearance of such official notice as provided above.
Role of Planning Board in Public Works Projects
No action may be taken by the City on any proposal involving the location, acceptance, widening, narrowing or extension of streets, bridges, parkways and other public ways; the location, relocation, acquisition of land for, abandonment, sale or lease of airports, parks, playgrounds and other municipally-owned properties, schools and other public buildings; the extent and location of public utilities and terminals, whether publicly or privately owned, for light, water, power, transit and other purposes; and the extent and location of public housing projects and the redevelopment, reconditioning or improvement of specific areas as defined herein above until it has been referred to the Planning Board. The failure of the Board to report within sixty days after the date of official submission to it shall be taken as approval of the proposal. In case of the disapproval of the proposal by the Board, the reasons for disapproval must be recorded and transmitted to the Board of Representatives. A proposal which has been disapproved by the Planning Board may only be adopted by a two-thirds vote of the Board of Representatives.
All plans of a subdivision of land shall be submitted to the Planning Board. Before exercising the powers granted in this Section said Board shall adopt regulations covering the subdivision of land and make them available to the public. Such regulations shall provide that the land to be subdivided shall be of such character that it can be used for building purposes without danger to health; that the streets shall be so arranged and of such width as to provide an adequate and convenient system for present and prospective traffic needs; that in places deemed proper by the Planning Board open spaces for parks or playgrounds shall be shown on the subdivision plan. Said Board may also prescribe the extent to which and the manner in which streets shall be graded and improved and public utilities and services provided and, in lieu of the completion of such work and installations previous to the final approval of a plat, said Board may accept a bond of an established surety company in an amount and with surety and conditions satisfactory to its securing to the City the actual construction and installation of such improvements and utilities within a period specified in the bond. The City may enforce such bonds by all appropriate legal and equitable remedies. Such regulations may provide, in lieu of the completion of the work and installations above referred to, previous to the final approval of a plat, for an assessment or other method whereby the City is put in an assured position to do said work and make said installations at the cost of the owners of the property within the subdivision. Said Board shall be guided, in its decisions on these and other matters to be included in such subdivision regulations, by the Master Plan and by the prospective character of the development of the land in the proposed subdivision, and such decisions shall conform to the zoning regulations concerning the area affected.
All plans of subdivisions submitted to the Planning Board shall contain the name and address of the person to whom notice of hearing may be sent, and no subdivision plan shall be acted upon by said Board without a public hearing, notice of which shall be published once in an official paper and shall be sent by registered mail to the address shown in the subdivision plan, except that in the case of a proposed subdivision of land into not more than two lots not involving a new street, a public hearing need not be held, but public notice shall be required and all other requirements shall be met as set forth in this Section. Both the publication and the mailing of notice shall be made no less than seven days before the date fixed for the hearing. The Planning Board shall approve, modify and approve, or disapprove a subdivision plan within sixty days after the submission thereof, otherwise such plan shall be considered approved and a Certificate to that effect shall be issued by said Board on demand, provided an extension of this period may be had with the consent of the applicant. The grounds for disapproval shall be stated in the records of the Planning Board. Notice of the decision of the Planning Board shall be published in an official newspaper within ten days after said decision has been rendered.
The Planning Board shall prepare, after its decision on any subdivision over which it has jurisdiction and upon which a hearing has been held, a Certificate signed by its Planning Director, setting forth the name or names of the property owner or owners, the names of the street or streets on which the property is located, the title of any map submitted with the application, the date of the hearing and statement of its findings and approval, which certificates shall be recorded in the Office of the Town and City Clerk, indexed under the name or names of such property owner or owners, and no action of the Planning Board shall be final until the filing of this public record in the Office of the Town and City Clerk.
Official decisions of the Planning Board may be appealed to the Superior Court, Judicial District of Stamford/Norwalk at Stamford within fifteen days of the official publication of a decision affecting the Master Plan; or, in the case of a decision affecting a subdivision, within fifteen days after official publication of said decision. Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Board of Representatives, or by a failure of said Board to decide a matter referred to it within the prescribed time, may appeal within fifteen days of such decision or such expiration of prescribed time, whichever first occurs, to the Superior Court, Judicial District of Stamford/Norwalk at Stamford.