Editor, The Cheshire Herald:
It appears, from Michael Torelli’s reportage in The Herald (7/21/22) that the discussion about the “controversial” Kurtz subdivision proposed for Wallingford Road has been needlessly sidetracked into hand-wringing over affordable housing.
According to Torelli’s account of the July 11 hearing, Planning and Zoning Commission, Commissioner Matt Bowman suggested that if the Commission did not approve this 20-lot cluster subdivision, the state could simply come in and take the Kurtz application “out of our hands” and mandate that affordable housing be built on that property. Town Planner Michael Glidden fanned the flames by insisting, “There are no restrictions [on affordable housing]…They can build as tall as they want, as big as they want and as many as they want.” This is a complete misrepresentation of state statutes regarding affordable housing, and as a town planner, Glidden would have to know this. In case he doesn’t though, he can look them up here: Sec. 8-30g of the Connecticut General Statutes: https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/SOTS/regulations/Title_08/030gpdf.pdf?la=en.
First of all, there is no state mandate for a developer to include affordable housing units on their property. A developer can include affordable housing units in a project but only if they decide to accept Section 8 housing or have obtained a government subsidy for their subdivision. As Bowman and Glidden both must know, neither scenario is the case with the Kurtz property. This is a for-profit residential development, the goal of which is to maximize the number of sellable units that can be squeezed on the property that still adhere to town zoning restrictions. And even if the landowner were to apply for affordable housing units, “the sky’s the limit” is a complete falsehood. They still would be subject to local zoning regulations. In short, this back and forth between Bowman and Glidden seemed to be a kind of scare tactic, intended to cow officials into voting for a proposal and residents to go along with it, all based on false pretenses.
I should add that I live nowhere near this proposed development, do not know any of the impacted people or the developers, and am not opposed to affordable housing. What I am opposed to is dishonest discourse and distortions of the truth. I do not believe we are being well served by our government in Cheshire.