Opinion / Jan Pierret
DHA’s road abandonment will raise taxes
Published 12:15 pm, Thursday, October 21, 2010
The Darien Housing Authority's aggressive plan has excessive density which will cost taxpayers millions. The proposed density comes with 100 non-head-of-household bedrooms which could be filled by school-age children. There could be two siblings per bedroom. This will result in crowded schools and, at $13,000 per student, whether it's 25, 50 or 100 children, will raise taxes.
Using Allen O'Neill to help the Town achieve a moratorium is definitely a plus for the Town. However, the plan will only result in 24 points for three- and four-bedroom units. One- and two-bedroom units will probably not qualify for points. A less aggressive plan would better serve the Town and the DHA. The DHA can increase their housing stock that is sustainable for the site and benefit the Town, not become a burden to the Town with increase in traffic, overcrowding schools and higher taxes. Additionally, the Town's priority is senior housing. Seniors are not part of DHA's plan.
The road abandonment is not a "loose end" as the DHA has suggested. It is necessary for final approval of the redevelopment plan. P&Z has not given final approval of their plan. A host of contingencies apply before being granted final approval. Without the road, the DHA does not have a plan and must lower the density to accommodate parking.
Per the DHA, "The private road achieves three major design criteria by: [i] minimizing impervious surface, [ii] maximizing open and green space, and [iii] complying with parking regulations."
DHA is creating extensive impervious surfaces including huge parking lots, large building footprints, double-wide tandem driveways and the creation of a new road.
DHA is significantly reducing open and green space including the destruction of the Fitch Home for Soldiers Veterans Memorial Parade Ground to create a road and parking lot, plus all stated above. Also in the P&Z resolution is the request that DHA save more trees. The destruction of the parade ground will destroy two dozen trees, needlessly.
P&Z has already allowed the DHA to reduce standard DMR parking from two-and-a-half to two cars per unit yet they still cannot provide sufficient parking for 106 units. If the DHA was complying with standard DMR parking allowance, they would need 265 parking spots yet they cannot provide 212 parking spots without street parking. Since Darien has an overnight street parking ban during the winter months, the DHA NEEDS this road to provide the reduced car allowance.
The site cannot support the parking at 106 units. The DHA can reduce the plan by 30 units and get the same points toward a moratorium. Reduce the density to an appropriate number that can benefit the Town, not be a burden to it.
By the way, why would the Town want to give away Town property? What's the value of nearly 2 acres of real estate?
The RTM should vote no and force the DHA to provide a plan that works.