Sterling zoning referendum (2009)

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The Sterling zoning referendum was on the July 15, 2009 ballot in Windham County, Connecticut in the town of Sterling. Residents voted overwhelmingly for the referendum which reversed a 98-91 vote which had taken place on April 2008.[1]

  • Yes: 346 (64.79%) Approveda
  • No: 188 (35.21%)

Twenty years before the 2008 vote, the town accepted zoning regulations but quickly rejected them after what was described as a small change to the size of house lots became a wide-ranging set of regulations.

On July 23, 2009 the town's state-permitted five-year term of the land use ordinance expires, leaving the town with new land-use laws. The accepted proposal calls specifically for the town to adopt an ordinance designating the Planning Commission as the Planning and Zoning Commission and to establish a Zoning Board of Appeals.

The large turnout of residents amounted to 25 percent of the town, which totaled 2,049 eligible voters.

Prior to the vote, Planning Commission Chairman Ron Marchesseault stated if the proposal were to be accepted, it would be likely that existing regulations would simply be defined as zoning regulations and that no significant changes would be made.[2]

Bethlehem and Eastford are now the only towns in the state of Connecticut without zoning.


Resident Rick Deojay, an opponent of the referendum, stated that he and other fellow opponents would carefully monitor the procedures of the new zoning regulations.

According to Deojay: “If they do what they said they’ll do (primarily mandate two-acre house lots), we’ll live with it. If they start adding a whole lot of other regulations, we’ll challenge it again.”

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