Senior housing development proposed for behind Stafford Big Y
By Annie Gentile - ReminderNews
Stafford - posted Tue., Aug. 20, 2013
On Tuesday, Aug. 13, the Planning & Zoning Commission heard a proposal from the Housing Authority for a minimum 148-unit elderly housing complex on land behind the Big Y supermarket in Stafford.
“We really are at a very early stage for the proposed development,” said Ann Marie Perrone, executive director of Stafford’s Housing Authority.
Perrone said the Housing Authority’s present senior community, the 110-unit Avery Park, located at 85 and 91 West St., presents a number of problems for its residents: namely dealing with hills to get to their units, parking areas and laundry, slabs that have failed, and ground water that is seeping into some units.
“The Housing Authority of the Town of Stafford’s Board of Commissioners has engaged the services of Harvey Edelstein, president of REDI [Real Estate Diagnostics, Inc.] as the redevelopment consultant for Avery Park,” said Perrone. “The Board of Commissioners’ goal is to provide decent, safe, affordable housing for seniors and people with disabilities,” she said.
Perrone said Edelstein has been in talks with senior representatives of Big Y and with the D’Amour family about the land behind the Stafford Big Y, and while the land is not completely flat, it does not have the 100-foot drop from the top to the base, as does the land where Avery Park is located. “This alone is a huge step in the right direction towards meeting our goal of safe housing,” she said.
During the Aug. 13 presentation, Perrone said the Planning & Zoning Commission’s number-one concern was access to the property. “It is literally between two state highways - Routes 319 and 19,” Perrone said, adding that accessing the proposed development would involve crossing a railroad track. She said the PZC asked that the Housing Authority look at multiple ways to access the property so they can consider their various options. There are also ample wetlands in the area, and the PZC would like the Housing Authority to conduct additional studies, which was not unexpected, Perrone said.
“The Housing Authority will apply for a number of State of Connecticut grants as well as the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program [LIHTC] to help us achieve our goal of providing affordable housing for people with low and fixed incomes,” said Perrone. “We are looking to provide no less than 148 new units of housing for seniors 62 and older and persons with disabilities.”
The PZC will next review the Housing Authority’s proposal at their Tuesday, Aug. 27, meeting at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.