In the ten years since Newtown purchased the state-owned property that served Connecticut for more than 60 years as a psychiatric hospital, the evolution of 186-acre campus at Fairfield Hills has been mostly municipal. The site is now the seat of Newtown’s government. Attempts to stimulate commercial interest there, however, have sputtered. The one notable exception was the opening of the 86,000-square-foot Newtown Youth Academy in 2008. But now, there is even talk of an eventual town takeover of that facility as well.
In the history of towns, cities, and parks, nothing could be clearer than that building “residences” inside a beautiful community outdoor space does not create taxpayer value; it destroys it. Overnight, irreversibly. The joy, freedom, and natural beauty go out of the place. What profit there is, is for developers. The loss to the community, in all its generations, is both immediate and permanent.
I have recently learned that there is an effort underway by the town to allow housing on the campus at Fairfield Hills. Is it true that the authority to do this is either already in place or very close to becoming a reality? I don't remember that question on the last referendum.
Firstly, please note that I am writing as an individual and not on behalf of the Legislative Council.
I would like to echo the comments of Rita Willie, someone I have known and respected my entire life, that we should not support the proposed amendment to the Fairfield Hills Design District Zoning Regulations which would allow for residential apartments above commercial spaces.
What can the town do to generate activity for demolition at Fairfield Hills? First Selectman Pat Llodra told the Fairfield Hills Authority members Monday, November 24, that town officials recently have had “quite a bit of discussion” about the question.
She soon handed members a draft of Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) recommendations that include three $3.5 million requests over consecutive years between 2015 and 2018 for demolition.