J.H. Torrance Downes
The CT River Gateway Commission, from its founding in 1973, has been professionally and technically supported by regional planning agencies.
J. H. Torrance Downes, Deputy Director and Principal Planner of the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments (RiverCOG), has served as staff for the Commission since 2004.
His duties include working with land use staff in each of the eight Zone member towns, overseeing the processing of development applications and regulation petitions that the Gateway Commission reviews.
He is also a first contact for property owners, and their architects, builders, and landscapers, who may have questions about Commission standards or who would like advice on responsible development within the Zone. Questions about how to best design a project to fit with the Zone’s natural setting are always welcome.
Mr. Downes can be most easily reached via email.
“The land use staff of the eight towns have a cooperative relationship with me and the Gateway Commission. The regional nature of the Gateway compact reminds them to think outside of their own boundaries in a way that promotes shared interests in the lower river valley. The “bond” that we staff-level folks have is very rewarding!”
Yes, We Have No Land
Although the CT River Gateway Commission has helped preserve over a thousand acres of land in the Zone, it does not own any land or hold any land protection agreements (often referred to as conservation easement). Since its creation in 1973, all the land the Gateway Commission has helped acquire and any land protection agreements it negotiated have been donated to the State of Connecticut, towns or land trusts for their care.