Giving Up More Than We Get
To the Editor:
The information forums on apartments at Fairfield Hills have all centered on getting you to vote Yes.
Yet, as with any proposal, the devil is in the details.
You’re being told that apartments on Fairfield Hills will provide Newtown with property tax income forever. But did you know that the property taxes each one-bedroom apartment will pay is only $1,000 a year, and a two-bedroom family unit only $1,500? Compare that to what you are paying in property taxes. The average household pays $4,387 just for their share of the municipal budget. That means the apartments will only pay 30 percent of that and nothing towards each children’s school bill of $19,000 a year. Does that seem fair or a good deal for Newtown? These apartments will pay only 10 percent of what the average household pays in taxes yearly.
You’re being told that these will be commercial developments with a residential component. But the truth is they will be entire buildings of apartments, as many as 144 units in one building, and a small amount of commercial. It will not be retail on the first floor and apartments on the other floors, a main street concept many wanted. These are simply large multi-story apartment buildings. There may not even be commercial space that you would be able to access and use. It could be some office space, or an exercise room for the renters.
You’re being told these buildings will enhance the feel of the campus, but did you know they will have to build as many as 300 asphalt parking lots around the buildings, most likely parking reserved for tenants? Where will you park? There is inadequate parking now on campus. Where will you walk, around the parking lots? This will change the entire character of the center of the campus.
You’re being told that Newtown will retain control through leases. But did you know that 75 percent of the funding will be through state and federal tax credits and affordable rental programs? The state and federal government will have more control than Newtown.
You’re being told that we will save the cost of two buildings being taken down. But did you know one builder wants Newtown to seek grants and remediate Cochran House, the largest building, before they start their construction project? Another wants to use an open field across the street for parking; however we already spent $700,000 to take down Woodbury Hall, the building that used to be on it.
The undeniable conclusion is that we are giving up more than we gain. We have made great progress and I believe the direction set almost 15 years ago is still the path forward: Fairfield Hills as a destination for all.
Bruce W. Walczak
12 Glover Avenue, Newtown October 19, 2020
Editor's Note: Mr Walczak is currently the Independent Party candidate for US Congress 5th District.