Developers Target Ridgefield for Affordable Housing Proposals

They get higher unit density than the zoning regulations normally allow, but Planning Director Betty Brosius said that still doesn't explain why Ridgefield and not Wilton or Redding.

It is no mystery why developers have proposed rental housing developments under the state’s affordable housing law, but why Ridgefield seems to have gotten so many of them compared with neighboring towns mystifies the town’s planning director.

“We’ve had several over the last two years,” noted Planning Director Betty Brosius.

Two such developments are currently before the Planning & Zoning Commission, with public hearing continuations scheduled for the next three weeks.

This Tuesday, Jan. 29, the commission will consider the application of the Ridgefield Modular Home Corporation for 11 units, including at least three units as affordable housing, at 24 North St.

And on Feb. 12, the commission will hold the public hearing continuation on the application of Eppoliti Realty for a mixed-use development that includes 12 apartments, four of them affordable housing, above commercial space at 159 Danbury Road.

Brosius said the real estate market has been affected by the tight mortgage market, which has slowed home sales, but the rental market has been relatively unaffected.

“The rental market by default is very hot right now,” she said.

The affordable housing law requires developers to set aside at least 30 percent of their rental units for “affordable” market rents, about 80 percent of the going price for a rental apartment in the Ridgefield area.

In return, developers can use the law to gain approval for higher density developments than would be normally allowed by local zoning regulations. The state law trumps local regulations until a town meets the 10% threshold for affordable housing stock.

That explains why the affordable housing law is used, but not why Ridgefield is getting more than its share of them, Brosius said. She said other nearby towns, such as Wilton and Redding, haven’t see the same spurt in affordable housing proposals.

Brosius said it started in 2009 when local developer Steve Zemo got approval for 16 units, including five affordable housing units, on Governor Street.

Then, another local developer, Dany LeToureau, doing business as DPA LLC, got approval of an eight-unit development with three affordable units at the corner of Gilbert Street and New Street.

Michael Eppoliti and Eppoliti Realty got approval last year for 14 units, with four affordable units, at 9 North Salem Road.

And Patrick Dowend, another local developer, got approval of two applications, a 16-unit development with five affordable units at 593 Main St., and a nine-unit development with three affordable units at 613 Main St.

Why do you think Ridgefield is experiencing a spurt in affordable housing projects?

Roxanne Tate January 28, 2013 at 11:30 AM
Yikes...have these been approved? We are in the process of buying a house in Ridgefield and I have seen affordable housing projects like these destroy two previous cities that I have lived in.
Christine January 28, 2013 at 01:31 PM
How specifically were they destroyed.? 1st, we are not a city. 2nd, these are not housing projects, I guess you're movin-on-up.
Lisa Buchman (Editor) January 28, 2013 at 02:46 PM
From the Ridgefield Patch Facebook page: Bob Jewell: "These are small projects, tastefully done with 3 or 4 affordable units. Stop the hysteria."
Sam January 28, 2013 at 03:33 PM
Shame on Zemo for starting all this. It is a disgrace to our town what they build at the corner of New and Gilbert. Traffic in and around our town center was already congested. And our schools are pretty much loaded. More cars and students mean lower quality for our town. This is not something we can hide behind snow days and early dismissals.
TAB January 28, 2013 at 03:57 PM
With all due respect, Mr. Jewell has represented many of these developers before the Planning & Zoning Commission, so his opinion should be taken with a grain of salt.
Eileen January 28, 2013 at 04:01 PM
OH so you mean "tastefully done" like the ones behind the old HS? Yeah, those are some real beauties.....
Dalony Cutting January 28, 2013 at 04:59 PM
Town planners and zoners and whoever is in charge of these issues must get wized up FASTER...why dont they know the answer to why ridgefield and not wilton or other local towns? They should have knowledge of this and fight the unfairness of it! Maybe we are easier to than other towns to push around? Or maybe we are cheaper and prices...GO AND FIND OUT...and stop this very unfair constant need to put all this housing HERE.
sebastian dangerfield January 28, 2013 at 05:57 PM
3 or 4 affordable units, means 12- 14 total units. With 12-14 garages. Normally squeezed onto an abnormally small parcel of land. The article doesnt include the acreage. The problem in Ridgefield is that we have Democrats in charge, with aspirations of higher office, and that employ a liberal mentality. By liberal mentality, I dont mean compassionate--i mean that they sacrifice the assets of people other than themselves. In Darien, they allow for certain of these projects, while looking out for existing homeowners. We need a government that looks out for Ridgefield residents--not the Rudy marcononi's of this world who look to build a resume that will appear more attractive when he runs for a bigger job on a State level.
Tom January 28, 2013 at 07:54 PM
sd - in a Democracy, the majority rule,not the loudest whiners !
sebastian dangerfield January 28, 2013 at 09:04 PM
"Tom" You shall not take property without due process of law," says the Constitution, and before we can take that safeguard away what must we do? We must obtain not a majority by this body, not a majority of the House of Representatives," but a two-thirds majority in each House concurring in a resolution, and that resolution must be approved by three fourths of the States. What about majority rule in connection with that proposition?
sebastian dangerfield January 28, 2013 at 09:10 PM
Tom By the way, since you always stalking -and always registering your paranoia about glen beck and sarah palin etc-- If you believe in majority rule, I understand the gerrymandering that is occuring in republican held states, may impact the next presidentail election---and even though you change your name 7 times a day, just remember when you complain about this practice, you are a majority rules guy....just as no doubt you were when W was in office...you just stayed quiet and accepted.
hoco January 28, 2013 at 09:44 PM
Let's see...Affordable housing is targeting (for now) only Ridgefield. Some/many townspeople are against the development. The sewers may be at or near capacity. The school board is planning for declining enrollment. Yet we have a BOS that says and does nothing (publicly at least) about this development. Could it be the BOS have an interest of sorts in the development? Just sayin'....
COSMO P January 29, 2013 at 02:19 AM
It is not personal LISA it is about the MONEY and LOTS OF IT! Tasteful like the one on main street being built. That is real TASTEFUL LISA.
Mrs M January 29, 2013 at 02:29 PM
Seems like a WINNER to me....................... Mr Morelli, and won, the first Democrat to beat a Republican incumbent in the majority Republican town in half a century. Mr Marconi is currently serving his fifth term as Ridgefield’s first selectman.
COSMO P January 30, 2013 at 10:37 AM
Good to know thanks.
Lisa Buchman (Editor) January 30, 2013 at 03:31 PM
@Cosmo: I was sharing opinions posted on the Ridgefield Patch Facebook page, not my own. I've deleted several comments that were personal attacks. Please see our terms of use here: http://ridgefield.patch.com/terms You can participate and advance the discussion if you don't violate these terms. If you continue to, you risk your account being suspended. Thanks.
WantsToKNow January 30, 2013 at 04:43 PM
Lisa, how does that work with the Patch. I mean, straight up, does anyone ever get suspended from posting. I've been reading this site for a few years. Some of the stuff posted is over the top rude, vile, pornographic, defamatory ... I'm running out of adjectives. I have never seen anyone suspended, Why not? I think you'd get more people posting here if you cleaned it up. But as it is, I think many potential posters remain on the sidelines for fear of being dragged through the gutter for having a differing opinion. So why not ban a few people for real?
Lisa Buchman (Editor) January 30, 2013 at 04:48 PM
Thanks for asking. If you read through the terms, you'll see why the comments get deleted. I've only worked on Ridgefield for a month or so, but have suspended users on other sites immediately for threatening other users. In this case, when remarks are offensive, profane or attacking, users get a second chance. Generally, not a third. I hope you'll stick with Patch for news and meaningful community conversation.
WantsToKnow January 30, 2013 at 05:21 PM
Lisa, first of all, welcome. Cool job. Second, I hope you will quickly see how a handful of Ridgefield posters are now on their 157th chance.
Lisa Buchman (Editor) January 30, 2013 at 05:48 PM
Thank you! OK. Keeping track. And hope to help maintain a respectful environment.
CB January 30, 2013 at 05:57 PM
COSMO P January 30, 2013 at 06:23 PM
Ok i will bow out but i was called a Knuckle Drag-er Do you condone that. From a guy that just may not even live in Ridgefield. No surprise to me as the liberal media always picks on conservatives. What else is new. So you removed my post but liberal dem's are allowed to call me a knuckle Drag-er. Figures i should have known better. Well i am bowing out on my own have a happy time printing stuff and having people post things you condone. With that TOOTLES and thank you for pounding another conservative. By the way the phrase KNUCKLE DRAGGING can be considered a racial phrase and you allowed it to be printed about me. Guess it is OK if you are a liberal DEM! This is why so many people hate the MEDIA. Like so many other news outlets biased and liberal. What else is new!
TAB February 01, 2013 at 01:20 AM
From the Ridgefield Patch Facebook page: Bob Jewell: "These are small projects, tastefully done with 3 or 4 affordable units. Stop the hysteria." “Hysteria”? Opposition to this dense development is well-founded and based on the overall development occurring, not just “3 or 4 affordable units.” Overconcentration on Main Street raises legitimate concerns regarding traffic generation on an already overtaxed Main Street and sewer capacity in a system rapidly approaching maximum capacity. And although aesthetics is a matter of personal taste, most people I think would agree these buildings are out of scale with the neighborhood, constructed to an average standard, and of no particular architectural character.


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