Western CT
Council of Governments

COG Updates

Welcome to the WestCOG monthly newsletter. It's a great place to find updates and opportunities in the region. You can also get information in real time by following us on Twitter or liking our Facebook page.

Project Updates
  • CIRCA Awards Funding for WestCOG’s regional CRS Program: CIRCA awarded WestCOG $23,000 to implement a regional flood insurance savings program for the region. The Community Rating System (CRS) program is administered by FEMA. WestCOG will decide whether to accept the grant at the December COG Meeting.
  • Branchville TOD: WestCOG is working with the Town of Ridgefield to develop a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Plan for the Branchville Station Area. A three-day charrette was held at the Ridgefield Library from September 16 - 18 and featured a public workshop, and open house, and focus group meetings. A summary of the charrette results is now available.
  • Consultant Selection for Two Studies: Two panels of staff representing WestCOG, towns, and Connecticut DOT have selected consultants to perform the Noroton Heights Train Station Access Study and Stamford Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.  WestCOG must now negotiate contracts with each consultant before the studies launch in early 2016.
  • Planimetric Data: The data for geographic information systems (GIS) and associated high-resolution aerial photography will be available for the southern eight towns starting in January of 2016. With GIS software, mapping products can be created with these data sets. Please contact Carl Zimmerman, the Senior GIS Manager, for more information at
  • Route 202:The Brookfield Planning Commission is amending its Plan of Conservation and Development to include the new Transportation Plan for Lower Route 202, which was completed by WestCOG in September.
  • UConn Stamford Student Economic Studies:  UConn Stamford Economic students will be completing their economic studies on rail station parking and campus transit ridership this month. This is a project in collaboration with WestCOG. 
  • Municipal Safety Data Reports: WestCOG leveraged CT DOT’s road data to review areas of concern within the region. The findings were presented to CEOs and later presented to fellow COGs at CT DOT’s main office. WestCOG will be producing safety reports for each of its municipalities.
  • Hazard Mitigation Plans: The hazard mitigation plans within the region are on schedule with no expected gaps in FEMA funding eligibility.
  • Tick Task Force: WestCOG organized a Tick Task Force meeting held at the Danbury Hospital Biomedical Research Institute. The medical research staff presented their latest Lyme Disease Research. Discussions were had on how to raise Lyme disease awareness. 
  • Hazard Resilience Presented: WestCOG presented hazard resiliency potential within the region to the Greenwich Board of Selectmen.
  • Metropolitan Area Planning Forum: WestCOG staff attended the Metropolitan Area Planning (MAP) Forum on December 3rd in New York City.  The MAP Forum is a biannual meeting of metropolitan planning organizations in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York to discuss interregional planning issues.  This meeting, hosted by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, focused on the topic of megaregional freight planning.
  • WestCOG attends 38th CACIWC Annual Conference: The Connecticut Association of Conservation & Inland Wetlands Commissions (CACIWC) annual meeting provided insight into Wetland Commission activities within the state and region.
  • Regional Septage: Each December, WestCOG provides septage hauler permit forms and truck identification stickers for the upcoming year of the seven town Danbury based septage management district. This service has successfully lowered municipal costs through the combined use of one central facility. WestCOG looks forward towards another successful year in 2016.
  • Agenda for the Upcoming Board Meeting: Available here.

Grant Opportunities
  • OPM is accepting applications for the next round of Regional Performance Incentive (RPI) Grants. Proposals may be submitted by any COG in CT, any two or more municipalities acting through a COG, any economic development district(s) or any combination thereof.  The goal of RPI is to encourage municipalities to jointly participate in projects that will produce measurable “economies of scale” that will benefit the municipalities providing desired or required services and lowering the costs and tax burden related to providing those services. The deadline for submission is December 31, 2015.
  • CIRCA's Matching Funds Program is offering up to 25% of the primary funder’s contribution in matching funds for projects that help municipalities adapt to a changing climate and to enhance the resilience of their infrastructure. Applications are due January 15, 2015.
  • DEEP's Office of Constituent Affairs/Land Management has announced grants funding through its Open Space & Watershed Land Acquisition (OSWA), and Urban Green/Community Garden programs. Applications for both programs are due on February 2, 2016.
  • OPM has announced a Request for Applications (RFA) for the Responsible Growth and Transit-Oriented Development Grant Program.  Municipalities and COGs may apply for grants ranging from $25,000 to $2,000,000, to fund a wide variety of projects. Questions about the RFA may be submitted in writing to the Official State Contact, Matthew Pafford, at either or Office of Policy and Management, 450 Capitol Avenue MS# 54ORG, Hartford, CT 06106-1379. Written questions must be received by Thursday, December 24, 2015 at 4:00 pm as specified in Section G of the RFA. The deadline for receipt of applications is February 4, 2016.

Staff Profile: Michael Towel

Mike heads up the environmental and hazard mitigation planning efforts for WestCOG. His professional interests include climate change and environmental science, GIS, data science and data visualization. Mike received a B.S. in Environmental Science from UMass Lowell and a M.S. in GIS for Development and the Environment from Clark University. He hopes to expand his coding and database experience to be in a position to streamline municipal efforts at a regional level.

Mike tends to be a ‘hobby hopper’ having experiences in ballroom dancing, cross fit, rugby clubs, gardening, and automotive maintenance. Currently in his spare time Mike enjoys birding, board games, running and travel adventures when he can squeeze them in. 

Regional News & Events

WestCOG's first Drug Task Force meeting will be held on February 4th at Redding Town Hall from 9:30 - 11:30 am. The meeting will feature presentations from Dr. Lauretta Grau from Yale and Shawn Lang from AIDS CT, and from Susan Wolfe from DHMAS.

Do you have news or events you would like to share with the rest of the region? Send your updates to Liz at
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888 Washington Blvd.
Stamford, CT 06901
162 Whisconier Rd.
Brookfield, CT 06804

Phone: 203-316-5190