“Patriot Gardens,” a proposal for 50 units of town-backed state-financed affordable housing for senior citizens, has tentative support from the Board of Selectmen.
The selectmen like the concept if it is limited to senior citizens, but they want more details, in writing, before agreeing to anything.
The Affordable Housing Committee is trying to move swiftly on the plan because it believes there is a sizable amount of state money becoming available for the purpose, but delay will reduce the town’s chances of getting some of it.
At their Oct. 3 meeting some selectmen were wary of the Affordable Housing Committee’s plan because it showed town land on Prospect Ridge divided into two tracts — Parcel A and Parcel B — and only Parcel A was definitively limited to seniors.
“What we’re recommending with Parcel B is begin a process of setting it aside for housing, and see what our needs are,” Affordable Housing Committee Chairman Dave Goldenberg said.
Patriot Gardens for seniors is envisioned as having 30 “cottage-style” units with garages, and also a two-story 20-unit apartment building with “group facilities,” he said.
“You’re just slamming an awful lot of construction in a passive area,” Selectwoman Di Masters said. “Traffic on this road …”
“It’s senior housing,” said First Selectman Rudy Marconi. “Di, it doesn’t generate traffic.”
The plan involves moving the dog park and some of the parking spaces in the area a short distance, and lifting a “recreation only” restriction on part of the site by swapping the limitation over to land near the Rec Center on Danbury Road.
The Affordable Housing Committee had first looked at putting housing near the Rec Center and Founders Hall, but the Parks and Recreation Commission didn’t like that idea.
Mr. Goldenberg made a case for need.
“Ballard Green has a waiting list of 30, calculated at six months to a year,” he said.
The maximum incomes allowed at Ballard Green are $49,700 a year for singles and $56,800 for couples.
A survey of Ridgefield connections among residents of Housing Authority units got 36 responses from Ballard Green and 19 from Prospect Ridge congregate housing.
Among the 19 congregate residents, 15 either lived or worked in Ridgefield previously, or have family in town.
Among the 36 from Ballard Green, 32 had Ridgefield connections, he said.
“The root question for us: Do we recognize that growing segment of our population and plan for it?” Mr. Marconi said.
Ms. Masters and Selectman Andy Bodner wanted to be sure the town wasn’t committing to something that would serve a population other than seniors.
“I’d want to see something in writing,” Mr. Bodner said. “It ought to be very clear what we’re talking about.”