Paul Aho currently serves as an alternate member on the Mansfield Planning and Zoning Commission. He is running for re-election to the commission for the Democratic party.
“My father was a professor (at UConn), so I grew up in Storrs, left for about 25 years and then came back. And I’ve been here now for 25 years, back again,” Aho said. “I’ve had a lot of experience with the town and know a lot of people in the town, so (serving on the commission) just seemed like…a good volunteer job to do.”
Aho said he wishes to maintain the commission’s friendly atmosphere if he is re-elected.
“I’d like to work in a bipartisan manner with my Republican friends on the Planning and Zoning Commission, and hopefully work toward a consensus with everyone on the commission toward what kind of development we’d like to see,” Aho said.
Aho said that as a member of the commission’s Regulatory Review Committee, he has helped the committee with its ongoing efforts to rewrite the town’s regulations regarding matters such as zoning, lighting and vegetation.
“There’s been a long controversy about student housing. There’s a lot more student rentals in town now than there were before,” Aho said. “And in particular (the) Hunting Lodge Road area (has) seen a lot of discussion. No conclusions yet about what to do about Hunting Lodge Road, but a lot of discussions about the future of that road. And I think probably in the next few years we’ll come to some kind of conclusion about how to zone that in the future.”
Aho said he hopes the committee can complete the regulation review process over the next few years.
Aho said the commission’s aim with its current work to revise multi-unit housing zoning regulations is to find areas of town where multi-unit housing development would be most appropriate.
“I think there’s a consensus that the Four Corners area would be appropriate for multi-unit housing, because it has water now and a sewer line is going to be going in in the next two years, and it has transportation,” Aho said. “Also the South Eagleville Road area…could use more multi-unit housing, and of course that’s walking distance to UConn, so we feel that would be a good spot to develop.”
Aho said the possibility of multi-unit housing development on Hunting Lodge Road is still in question.
“What may happen on Hunting Lodge is we may not be so enthusiastic about multi-unit housing, but we may be moving toward higher density (housing development),” Aho said. “So single-family house, single-unit housing, detached, but higher density than it is now. So that’s one of the proposals. It hasn’t been decided yet.”
Aho said he feels there was confusion over the commission’s approval last June of the ordinance to broaden the definition of “fraternity/sorority” to “fraternal organization.”
“So if you have three people over for chess club, it doesn’t apply to you. I know some people were upset about that,” Aho said. “But it’s hard to write those regulations so that it fits precisely the groups you’re looking for.”
Aho said the commission does not have power over university land because it is state land. The commission’s primary focus is town land, he said.
“We would like to see the state provide more housing on campus,” Aho said. “We encourage them to do that in strong terms. But all we can do is encourage them.”
- Grew up in Storrs
- Currently serves as alternate member on the Planning and Zoning Commission
- Part of ongoing efforts to rewrite town’s regulations regarding matters such as zoning, lighting and vegetation; hopes to finish regulation review process in the next few years
- Wants to work in bipartisan manner, come to consensus about future housing development in Mansfield
Alexandra Retter is the associate news editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.