About Town

If you haven’t done so lately, take a look around when you are outdoors. Nature makes Weston gorgeous!

This is one reason to live in Weston. But are we ready, as a town, for whatever may affect that in the future?

That is a multi-faceted question, of course. And at least two of the facets have to do with sustainability. Sustainability in terms of updating and improving our knowledge of how to live in harmony with the natural environment. As well as in regard to sustaining municipal services and protecting the standard of living we presently enjoy here.

Economics is a science, albeit not the most exacting of sciences. Economists often refer to “leading” and “lagging” indicators. What do these terms mean? They relate to the predictability of trends in economic conditions. Some indicators can provide a fairly good basis for anticipating trends, while some tell us about trends after they have occurred.

How does that work in Weston?

We are almost exclusively a residential community. Thus housing statistics are particularly a propos. Those would include housing starts, new house building permits, applications for various types of permits for additions, and applications to zoning-related boards.

Such statistics traditionally assist planners and school officials in identifying trends.

How about property values? For a variety of reasons it often seems reasonable to view them as lagging indicators. But might climate change foretell a downward trend in local property values?

Climate change tends to especially be a topic du jour after major storm-related power outages, such as the one we just had. Is the State Legislature doing something about this, and if so is it doing it in a bipartisan manner?

Behold the “Coastal Caucus.” This recently formed bipartisan group of legislators is to prepare relevant legislation for the Short Session coming in February. Apparently proposals are being created that would aim to strengthen resilience to storms. And a great deal has already been accomplished protecting infrastructure such as power plants.

How climate change may affect waterways was discussed at the initial meeting of the 38-member Coastal Caucus. Members belonging to the Legislature’s Planning & Development and Environment Committees especially took note.

One thing I found refreshing as I watched the meeting online was use of the term “underwater” in its literal sense. Rather than in connection with State budgets and proposals for ambitious programs, as has often been the case of late.

The Executive Director of the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA) offered his insights. One in particular struck me. The Legislature seems to recognize that town boundaries don’t have a great deal of relevance when it comes to environmental planning. As well as when it comes to societal issues generally.

The potential ramifications of climate change as it may affect Long Island Sound, for example, extend from Greenwich through Stonington on the Rhode Island border.

The geography of New Haven and the towns to its east makes that part of Connecticut’s shoreline particularly susceptible to flooding related to climate change. On the other hand, though, the costs required to fight these effects between New Haven and Greenwich are especially high. And may very well not be “sustainable.”

There are no easy answers, of course. But it’s good to see the Legislature bringing bipartisan focus to these matters.

“About Town” is also a television program. It appears on Fridays from 5:30 to 6 p.m. and on Sundays from 6:30 to 7 p.m. on Cablevision Channel 88 (Public Access). Or see it at www.aboutweston.com.

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