In conjunction with observing its 50th anniversary this year, the Southwestern Regional Planning Agency will meet with the eight planning and zoning commissions it represents and "really start talking, not from the top down, but from the bottom up," according to Executive Director Floyd Lapp.

Lapp attended Tuesday's Planning and Zoning Commission meeting to discuss SWRPA's goals and to gain the commission's feedback.

"I want to gain the benefit of your reactions and hear quite honestly what else you think we could be doing, or something we did you thought could have been done better," Lapp said before launching into his update of what SWRPA plans to do this year.

SWRPA received a grant for aerial photography for the region, which Lapp believed was beneficial for Darien.

"It makes no sense to get eight planes up there in so many different directions at different times," Lapp said. "Why not have one flight in one way at one time? That's scheduled for next spring, and we're going to do it right."

Fred Conze, chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission, raised a question about the aerial photography.

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"I seem to recall the state used to fly the entire state (for photos), and stopped in the mid-'90s. Is this the first time they've flown since then?" Conze said.

Lapp said that it was sad, but true.

"How can you look at aerial photography that's almost 20 years old with any kind of meaning?" Lapp said.

Conze said that a few years ago Darien was doing drainage work, and that having those photos could help.

"Having good aerial photos helps us at the municipal level so we don't have to go flying, we can just look at the data," Conze said.

SWRPA was involved in the study done at Norwalk Community College with First Selectman Jayme Stevenson, Norwalk's Mayor Richard A. Moccia, New Canaan's First Selectman Robert Mallozzi and the state Department of Environmental and Energy Protection dealing with the Five Mile River, according to Lapp.

"Clearly the aims there are clean water for all of us, and to protect the wetlands," Lapp said, adding that SWRPA had "another water-related issue that they're trying to wrap their hands around."

SWRPA wants DEEP to take a look at flooding.

"There was a time where you'd say this is the worst flood we've had in 14 years, but I don't think I have to tell a group like this that, if you take a look at the incredible, horrendous weather we've had in the past five or six years, figuring out what has to be done to the incredible devastation caused by flooding is necessary," Lapp said.

Another study that SWRPA is interested in is Darien Route 1, which is still studying traffic of private vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles to come up with recommendations for road fixes or new roads. Lapp said SWRPA will take the recommendations determined by the study and take them to the Connecticut Department of Transportation to fund the roads, but that's easier said than done.

"It's a long and lonely road, no pun intended," he said.

mdavis@bcnnew.com; 203-972-4407; @megdariennews