The quarterly “Municipal Land Use Best Practice” spotlight, curated by the NVCOG Community Planning staff, is dedicated to showcasing municipal best practices. Designed to serve as a valuable resource for Town Planners, Commissioners, and land use staff, each edition features an exemplary initiative from a municipality in the Naugatuck Valley region.

Written by Emely Ricci, Community Planner

William Agresta, AICP, MLA, the Town Planner in Woodbury, CT, shared how Woodbury’s Land Use Department facilitates education and informed decision making for variance applications. Will created a comprehensive document outlining the variance process: what is and what isn’t a hardship, the threshold a variance must meet, and the elements a Zoning Board of Appeals considers when making their decision.  

The purpose for creating the guide centered around two focal reasons. One, for applicants to have a foundational understanding of what a variance is to be able to participate in the process; and two, for commission members to continue making informed decisions in alignment with the community’s regulatory policies. The guide is provided and discussed with all applicants before an application for a variance is submitted. 

Woodbury Town Hall (Source: Town of Woodbury)

Will works to connect with and educate his community members when it comes to variances. In doing so, he helps an applicant to look at alternatives that are in harmony with a municipality’s regulations avoiding a variance, while still meeting the needs of the applicant, saving them both time and cost. 

The guide is attached to each staff report for a variance application.  The intention is to remind Commissioners of their purview when deliberating an application. The guide is also readily available on the Town’s website for residents to access as applicants or informed community members. 

Will’s approach towards the variance process is an example of how municipalities can facilitate consistent and accessible dissemination of information for members of the community.  

Stay Connected

Contact the Woodbury Land Use Department located at 281 Main St South Woodbury, CT. 06798. Telephone: 203-263-3467

William Agresta, AICP, MLA, Town Planner

Learn more about Woodbury on the town’s official website.

Explore a range of valuable resources and NVCOG projects on the Woodbury NVCOG web page.