Habitat Ready To Start On 2 Hill Lots

Two vacant lots on the Hill may soon hold single-family houses built by Habitat for Humanity of Greater New Haven.

The city has owned the adjacent lots, which have stood empty for the last 20 years, since the late 2000s. Now, Habitat is preparing to acquire them, under a plan greenlit Tuesday night by the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA).

The board voted to grant approval of a request for a variance to allow the two properties, 62 and 66 Sylvan Ave., to remain separate so Habitat can build two separate houses there. City zoning laws require adjacent lots smaller than 5,400 square feet to merge.

Attorney John Parese and Habitat for Humanity of Greater New Haven Executive Director William Casey successfully made their case at the board’s meeting in the basement of 200 Orange St.

Simon Bazelon photoBZA Chair Pat King said she found it “particularly noteworthy that if there were two separate owners of these parcels, they would be able to build these structures as of right.” Casey said the final sale of the structures to Habitat-approved families follows six to eight months after construction begins, meaning that the lots will share an owner for only a brief time.

In an interview, Casey said that his organization plans to finalize the acquisitions of the two lots by spring and have a family, chosen by the Habitat Family Selection Committee, living on the lot by fall.

The two houses will add to the more than 120 homes Habitat for Humanity has built in New Haven since 1986. No one spoke in opposition to the proposal; the BZA’s vote of approval was unanimous.

Click here to read about the plan’s previous approval by the Livable City Initiative board.


Post a Comment

Commenting has closed for this entry


posted by: tmctague on January 11, 2019  11:09am

Yale has been gobbling up property in this neighborhood due to its proximity to the hospitals.

Some recent changes:
street/sidewalk paving - including granite curbs in this exact area
New Haven Farms at Career HS and a face lift for NHLT’s garden nearby
Rite Aid, Continuum Care, Daycare development on Legion Ave. (which may cause area corner stores and daycare shutter)
New Habitat Home that provides a direct walkway to YNHH.

All good things, lots of economic momentum in this area, but I must admit it seems ripe for Threefifth’s gentrification vampires to take over this chunk of The Hill.  It all dates back to the razing of houses on Ward Street and the abandoned highway plans on Legion, but I think the most recent developments will result in gentrification.  Once the Strong School on Orchard/Legion moves to SCSU, it’ll be interesting to see who moves in (or more realistically, what Yale office moves in). 

Hopefully this is a well intentioned project and not a grand plan to displace current residents.  The burning question remains the same: how can we improve neighborhoods and the living conditions of residents without displacing them?

posted by: Dennis Serf on January 12, 2019  1:18am

The City ought to insist (if it doesn’t already) that Habitat for Humanity give priority to the following:

- long-term (pick a time frame, 10+ years sounds right) New Haven residents
- City residents from this neighborhood who rent, but would like to buy
- some restrictions on flipping the property

Dennis Serfilippi