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First Selectman Messages

Town of Canton >> Boards and Commissions >> Board of Selectmen >> First Selectman >> First Selectman Messages

8/3/2022 - 08/03/2022

Dear Residents,

How many apartments does Canton need?
New apartment projects raise an important question: How many apartments does Canton need? Will a given project increase the number of school age children? Will new traffic overwhelm Canton streets? 

These questions are important to developers as well as Canton residents. Before an apartment project is proposed, the developer’s designers, engineers and financiers pursue these questions in great detail – and for good reason. Without good answers, these projects won’t see the light of day. 

Canton’s apartment ‘boom’ is one answer to the growing number of younger people moving to the area. Canton offers a high quality of life, access to work and recreation, and a culturally diverse community. Unfortunately, most of these younger people aren’t ready to buy a single-family house - which dominates Canton’s residential real estate. 

As a result, younger people tend to go elsewhere and Canton’s population remains older. The median Canton resident is 45.9 years old while the median Connecticut resident is 40.3. 

Canton’s new home buyers are more likely to have school aged children, and are less likely to remain in their large houses once their children graduate high school. Their houses often sell to other families with school aged children, keeping costs high. Budget fact: education is the most expensive program in town. 

Adding apartments makes Canton available to younger people, empty nesters, and others who don’t want the responsibility of a single-family home. The 11 studios, 57 one bedroom and 32 two bedroom apartments at 5 Cherry Brook are expected to generate 10 school aged children – not enough to cause a school building boom. Instead, these new residents help smooth Canton’s expenses while bringing vibrancy to events and conversations. The 150 cars estimated for this complex should have minimal impact on Route 44 which carries 22,000 every day.  

Do we need more apartments? We can and should debate that question when we reopen the Plan of Community Development (POCD) for evaluation and rewrite. The POCD is a town-wide effort to balance long range economic, social and environmental needs. The POCD guides many of the decisions made by Canton’s boards and commissions - particularly zoning. 

The POCD gets a thorough review every 10 years, taking input from officials and residents. The current plan was completed in 2014 and updated in 2020. The next review will most likely happen in 2024-25 timeframe. You are invited and encouraged to participate.
Farmington River Rising
After a dry spring and summer, the Farmington River showed more of its banks and islands than usual. Many residents never knew how much land lay just beneath the water’s surface!

The good news: the water level is 14 inches higher than it was a month ago. The islands are sand bars once again, and the promise of higher water levels has begun to look achievable.

Crest gates are now installed at the Canton Hydro plant, and full operation won’t be far behind. That is, when the water level reaches its promised height - three feet above its level when construction began.

Sam Collins Remembered - September 17 
Mark your calendar for Sam Collins Remembered, a unique combination of events taking shape for September 17. On that Saturday, the Canton Arts Council, Public Library, Collinsville Historic Museum and Farmington Valley Stage will offer a cornucopia of activities for young, old and everyone in between. Stay tuned for details about the schedule of events. Once again, the place to be is Collinsville! 

Be well,
Bob Bessel




Kevin Witkos
First Selectman
Phone: (860) 693-7847

Office Hours:
 click here to make an appointment

Canton Town Hall
P.O. Box 168
4 Market Street
Collinsville, CT 06022