The South Western Regional Planning Agency (SWRPA) is dedicated to preserving and improving the quality of life and economic vitality in southwestern Connecticut. SWRPA focuses on inter-municipal issues of transportation, housing, community development, environment and open space and may expand its focus into other areas as are consistent with the provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes. SWRPA provides a forum for local governments to foster communication and collaboration in addressing inter-municipal issues and needs, and at the request of its constituent municipalities SWRPA provides technical and planning assistance.
What is SWRPA?
The South Western Regional Planning Agency is a governmental agency formed and operating under the provisions of Title 8, Chapter 127 of the Connecticut General Statutes. It was organized in 1962 when representatives of five municipalities recognized the need for regional cooperation and coordination, believing that many community issues extend beyond municipal boundaries and require joint action.
SWRPA is now the official regional planning organization for eight municipalities in lower Fairfield County, including Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.
SWRPA is one of fifteen planning regions in Connecticut as defined by the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management and brings together its eight member municipalities to coordinate planning for the Region's future.
How is SWRPA funded?
SWRPA receives contributions from its member municipalities as well as state and federal funding to conduct locally administered long-range planning and transportation studies for the Region.
How is SWRPA organized?
SWRPA takes its direction from a volunteer governing board comprised of 22 members from the eight municipalities in the South Western Region. The chief elected officials and planning commissions select representatives to the SWRPA governing board. The number of representatives each community appoints to the board is based on the latest U.S. Census figures; however, each community appoints at least two representatives to the SWRPA governing board.
SWRPA's main functions are to:
- Prepare and maintain a Regional Plan of Conservation & Development that guides the Region's growth and development.
- Provide advisory recommendations and regional referrals. This is a statutory function of the Agency. SWRPA provides referrals on proposed zoning changes within 500 feet of a municipal boundary or subdivisions that abut or cross municipal boundaries and that might affect other municipalities.
- To undertake the federally mandated transportation planning process on behalf of the region's chief elected officials and transit districts which together constitute the South Western Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).
- To aid in the solution of current planning problems. SWRPA provides a forum to foster communication, coordination and collaboration in identifying and addressing intertown issues.
- To provide a collective voice for the region. SWRPA, by virtue of its collaborative nature, is able to make a stronger case in matters of regional importance than any town or city could make on its own.
- To serve as a technical resource by providing information and technical assistance to its member municipalities. SWRPA undertakes special studies on behalf of its member towns, assists in preparation of grant applications, holds workshops, and maintains a current database of socio-economic information, maps, and plans.