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Fairfield Hills Opening Pandora Box



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To the Editor:

Merriam-Webster dictionary describes “Pandora’s Box” as: to cause many troubles and problems.

Private residential housing on the Fairfield Hills Campus certainly fits that description. Are we prepared for opening Pandora’s Box?

Over the next weeks and months, town officials and economic development advocates will try to sell you on a fundamental change to the character of Fairfield Hills. They will say it will be all rosy, a total upside to allow apartment buildings on Fairfield Hills. They will not provide you with the “other side of the story.”

The Legislative Council will create a referendum question for the November ballot asking whether you would approve commercial development to include housing in no more than two existing buildings on the Fairfield Hills Campus.

The question leaves out any details. Details desperately needed for you to make an informed decision.

Over the next few months, I will write letters to The Bee with questions that you should ask and should consider as you decide your vote. This week I will focus on the actual apartments.

Which buildings are they speaking about? How many square feet are each building?

What will they look like? How will all the buildings, parking, and apartments look like at night?

How many apartments units will there be and what sizes? How many people per apartment unit will be allowed?

Will there be age restrictions?

How much parking, where will it be, will it be reserved for private renters or shared with all visitors to Fairfield Hills? Will there be garages? Will parking displace any other current uses such as soccer fields?

Can the apartment buildings be all apartments with no stores or retail on the first floor?

Will there be a no trespass zones around each building?

Will pets be allowed?

What will the monthly rent be for the apartments? How many affordable units will be available and at what rent?

Will we be able to restrict the regular priced and affordable apartments to current Newtown residents?

Who and how will the decision be made on who can rent the apartments?

What control and restriction will the State and Federal governments require for grants and funding needed to renovate the buildings.?

How will we control the ongoing maintenance of buildings that we do not own?

What happens if it becomes a financial disaster for the builder? Or never finished because they go bankrupt?

Will the builders sell the buildings to management companies and will get to approve?

Will the apartments force changes in where we place other activities such as sports fields, a band shell? What might we need in 20 years, 50 years?

I bet you can come up with your own questions. Make sure you have the information needed to make this important decision. There will be no turning back.

Bruce W. Walczak

12 Glover Avenue, Newtown July 29, 2020

Comments are open. Be civil.
1 comment
  1. saxon9075 says:

    Not a criticism of you, but I am appalled you had to define “Pandora’s Box”. What is the state of our education system.

    Good points all, and they have kept coming up since we purchased Fairfield Hills all these years ago.

    What will the effect be on our municipal services. Will we need more police ? Will our all volunteer Fire Departments be able to handle the building project at completion. (Last year the Fire Chief in Brookfield spoke against a apartment project saying in part, they did not have sufficient apparatus and in the event of a major incident they could not guarantee sufficient manpower.)

    What exactly is “affordable housing”. I know it is a percentage of the median income. My brother lives in Stamford. A developer got around zoning by building affordable units. To qualify you can make up to $80,000 a year. Of course they are making rents at the high end of “affordable”.

    We need to do something with Fairfield Hills. Maybe we should have gone with a golf course or Horse facility. It is not generating any tax revenue, is taking money from the town, and those abandoned buildings, and tunnels underneath, are becomming more and more dangerous every year.

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