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Letter: A concern over affordable housing

Published 7:28 pm, Sunday, March 25, 2012
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I am concerned with the proposed zoning change to allow Gardiner and Larson Homes to build a 16-unit condominium development on the Noroton River at Jelliff Mill Road. One-third of these units will be deemed "affordable housing." This development cannot sustain housing that is affordable as there are so many costs incurred by living on this river. As members of the Noroton River Association, we appreciate the costs of living on the Noroton River, known as Jelliff Mill Pond.

The Jelliff Mill dam needs to be repaired (estimates are between about $350,000 and $500,000) before construction can begin, but also will need constant vigilance during the years ahead to maintain its good repair. This cost of dam maintenance will be passed to all of the residents of the condominiums including the affordable units. These costs could potentially be astronomical for a resident to include in their family budget.

The pond itself is in need of dredging and the Noroton River Association members, would spread the costs among those on the pond, again driving up living costs of all condominium residents.

The pond is treated with chemicals yearly by the pond owners, further elevating the fees incurred by the new condominium residents, affordable units included.

The cost incurred by the residents for flood insurance due to the proximity of the Noroton River on the foundational wall of the proposed unit, would necessarily raise the yearly fees to a prohibitive level for those on a fixed income who qualified for affordable housing.

In conclusion, the extra costs incurred by the affordable units including dam maintenance and repair, pond dredging, pond treatment, and required flood insurance make this development completely unsuitable for affordable housing. It is disingenuous to suggest that this would be sensible and fair-minded to lead potential "affordable" housing buyers to this development and subject them to these financial demands. We should steward sensible affordable housing projects, not let developers masquerade high-cost housing at the expense of unwitting families.

Holley Wright

New Canaan