Reed Seeks Changes in Affordable Housing Laws

by Diana Stricker | Feb 23, 2017 8:50 am

File Photo State Rep. Lonnie Reed (D-Branford) has introduced four bills to update the state’s Affordable Housing statute. The bills would prevent the statute from being exploited; and would also give Branford and similar communities credit for housing that is affordable even if it’s not on the state list.

“The support for these bills is bipartisan and building in strength,” Reed told the Eagle this week. A similar bill passed the House last year, but the legislative session ended before it could be taken up by the Senate.

However, she said there is some opposition to amending the state stature.

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Judge Dismisses Neighbor’s Appeal Against Atlantic Wharf

by marcia chambers | Jan 30, 2017 8:58 am

File Photo A Superior Court judge has dismissed an appeal challenging the Planning & Zoning Commission’s (P & Z) approval of the Atlantic Wharf project, a large mixed-use commercial and residential development to be built on Meadow Street.

In a 13-page decision, Superior Court Judge Angela Robinson last week found that “the substantial evidence” in the record “does not support any of the plaintiff’s three claims raised on appeal.” When a party takes an appeal in a zoning or land use matter the court is always limited to the actual record of the proceedings.

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P&Z Again Weighs Building on the Unbuildable

by Diana Stricker | Jan 24, 2017 8:56 am

Diana Stricker Photo Branford residents and environmentalists say a proposed affordable housing project on a half-acre site that is prone to coastal flooding would be harmful to the environment and to low-income people who might live there.

“Affordable housing at this site is an environmental injustice. Is it fair to put people who are struggling financially in a flood plain?” asked Branford environmentalist Bill Horne.

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P & Z Approves Building and Expansion Projects

by Diana Stricker | Jan 11, 2017 8:20 am

With Permission Connecticut Orthopedic Specialists’ expansion plans that were approved in July have expanded even before construction began. The Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission approved revised plans last week for the North Main Street facility that will provide more outpatient surgical space; and also more overnight recovery rooms, which is a new concept for the Branford site.

The commission also approved plans for a kick-boxing fitness facility on West Main Street; and previously approved plans for an office building on Cedar Street; and a new storage facility on Harbor Street for Cherry Hill Glass Co.

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P&Z Oversees a Four Hour Marathon

by Diana Stricker | Nov 22, 2016 9:00 am

Diana Stricker Photo The Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission held a marathon four-hour session Thursday with seven public hearings ranging from dog kennels to solar panels to condo projects. Even an old project, Sterling Ridge, found its way back to the commission. And when the hearings were over, The P&Z approved a special exception that will enable Hallock’s popular warehouse and outlet store to move to Branford. The outlet is currently located in West Haven.

Two hearings were continued, four projects were approved and one was discussed but no vote was taken. The commission scheduled five new hearings for Dec. 15 for new applications, and they discussed other projects that didn’t require hearings.

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Town Explores New Sites for Parkside Village

by Diana Stricker | Nov 21, 2016 9:10 am

GIS Photo Plans to replace the aging Parkside Village I are still in flux, and the developers are looking at alternate sites for the public low-income housing project. If none are found, the project would most likely be built at the current site at 115 S. Montowese St., which houses 50 low-income seniors and people with disabilities.

“Our intention right now is to see if there are alternative sites and we’re open to any and all offers of interest,” said Dara Kovel,  president of Beacon Communities LLC of Boston, the development team hired by Branford’s Housing Authority.  “I’m definitely dedicating my time to see if there is something out there.  On the timeline question, our target is to apply (for funding) next November.”

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Two Town Denials, One Appeal in Pawson Road Property

by Diana Stricker | Nov 7, 2016 7:44 am

File Photo UPDATE—The Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission unanimously denied a request Thursday to build affordable housing on a half-acre lot at 239 Pawson Road that contains tidal wetlands and is prone to flooding.

The P&Z subsequently met in special session Saturday night to vote again on the Pawson Road affordable housing proposal. Two issues arose after the Nov. 3 vote—- an extra date for the public hearing was listed in the resolution; and commissioner Paul Higgins mistakenly said he had attended both sessions of the public hearing, but later discovered he had not. Prior to Saturday’s vote, he listened to the tape of the meeting, and was then eligible to vote.

On Nov. 5, the Thursday night vote was rescinded and another vote was taken. The result of the second vote was the same, and the commission denied the project. Saturday was the deadline for reaching a decision.

But controversy about the site continues. The property owner has filed an appeal of a recent decision by the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) to deny a request for a variance to build a single-family home on that lot.

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Parkside Village Application Abruptly Withdrawn

by Diana Stricker | Oct 10, 2016 7:00 am

Diana Stricker Photo Doug Denes, chairman of Branford’s Housing Authority, said he was “absolutely dumbfounded that we are not receiving accolades” for a project to replace the dilapidated Parkside Village low-income housing.

Then, in an unexpected move, Denes withdrew the application at Thursday’s Planning and Zoning (P&Z) hearing just as the developers from Beacon Communities LLC were ready to present revised plans. The original plans met with questions from neighbors and town staff last month. The developers were hoping for approval of both a Planned Development District (PDD) and site plans by early November to meet an annual deadline for federal funding applications.

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Harrison House Honors Contributors

by Sally E. Bahner | Oct 4, 2016 7:41 am

Sally E. Bahner Photo It was a garden party… in the lovingly maintained gardens of the Harrison House, Branford’s own historic treasure.

The 1724 Harrison House can truly be called Branford’s own since the Branford Historical Society successfully raised the funds in just one year for its purchase from Historic New England (formerly the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities).

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