By Rachel Rusnek
Two years after Town residents responded to proposed development at the Center School Site with a resounding “No”, we are back at it. Another high-density proposal is on the table for the site in the historic Stratford Center. This proposal comes in at an even greater density, proposing 160 units and 300+ parking spaces.
At countless meetings, town-sponsored charettes, and citizen-organized events, residents have repeatedly renounced high-density apartments and parking garages for this space, yet the proposals persist.
Consider the implications of 300+ new cars coming through Stratford Center and waiting in line to head under the I-95 bridge. Charming, no? Of course, we can’t forget to account for the additional traffic generated in this area from the other three new apartment buildings going up on Ferry Boulevard or the Village proposal across from Christ Church on Main Street.
Besides the increased traffic, resulting smog, and reduction of that pesky green space – what exactly do the residents of Stratford gain from the sale of this town-owned property? Selling at $9/ square foot with a proposed ten-year tax abatement, it seems that publicly owned land in the historic town center goes cheap.
As Councilwoman Dancho noted recently in speaking out against a proposal in her neighborhood, as quoted by the CT Post, “… you recognize that this (home) is usually a resident’s largest investment,” she said. “When a home is purchased in an area, buyers consider the current zoning and trust that the regulations of that zone is one way to protect that investment and retain the parameters of a chosen lifestyle.”
This sentiment should ring true REGARDLESS of what area of town homeowners have purchased in. Residents of Sutton Avenue and East Broadway likely never considered town-sponsored destruction of the historic district, with the razing of a school to make way for a towering apartment complex. The town may fall back on TOD; however, this proposal directly conflicts with identified TOD goals. I urge other aggrieved citizens who do not support this proposal to visit Change.org and sign this petition urging decision-makers to reject the proposal.
Let’s do better for Stratford.