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P&Z Delays Action On Proposed South End Units, Hadley: Project Timing Ill Advised

October 1st, 2013 · 33 Comments · City Council, Development and Zoning, News and Events

UPDATE: Brian Lockhart, CT Post here

The Planning & Zoning Commission met Monday night in City Hall Council Chambers. Agenda items included construction expansion of Black Rock School and Bridgeport Housing Authority petition “seeking a site plan review and a coastal site plan review to permit the construction of a mixed use community complex with 80-residential units” in the South End. See the zoning proposal here. Additional background here. Nancy Hadley, a Downtown resident who served as director of economic development during the John Fabrizi mayoral years, tells OIB “the timing of this proposal is ill advised.” Grab a cup of joe and review her reasons.

Due to illness, I am unable to appear in person at the September 30, 2013 Planning and Zoning Commission regarding the Coastal Zone Permit and Site Plan petitions by the Bridgeport Housing Authority for their proposed mixed-income housing development on the Ferry Boat Parking lot on Main Street immediately south of the Metro North tracks. The BHA has announced this development is the first phase of the Marina Village Redevelopment Plan.

Please consider these comments as part of the Planning and Zoning Commissioner deliberations. I also submit these comments as part of the Environmental Impact review conducted by the City of Bridgeport’s Community Development Office.

The South End Neighborhood Revitalization Plan, developed by the South End Stakeholders and approved by the City Council contains many points that conflict with the development of the proposed mixed-income housing development. I refer you to the specifics of the SE NRZ Plan rather than list them in this communication. I will focus on the broader context first and then on the specifics of the BHA proposal.

The Broader Context:

1. The Harbor Yard area, including the Ferry Boat parking lot owned by the BHA, represent significant economic development potential for the neighborhood, the City and the Regional patrons and visitors. Combining all of this vacant land equates to more than 10 acres. Therefore the development of this area must be done carefully in the right sequence. The whole is equal to sum of its parts and in this case, each part is very important. OPED and the BHA must be in partnership on how the whole turns out. David Kooris, OPED Director has Expressions of Interest from five development teams for the two parking lots and open space across from the Arena and Ballfield. The City needs to decide on a preferred developer. On a parallel track the BHA has received proposals from developers to complete its entire Marina Village Replacement Program. The sequence and substance of what those two sets of developers do is critical. We don’t know that now. We also don’t know exactly how many units HUD is requiring the BHA to replace in order to redevelop the Marina Village Site. It is my strong recommendation a third entertainment venue happen first in the Harbor Yard area before any housing is built. We have to preserve the confidence of the Regional patrons and visitors. Who knows what is going to happen to the ice hockey team when the Islanders move to Brooklyn’s Barkley Center. My bet is the Bridgeport team will wind up at Nassau Coliseum. Again, a third entertainment venue of significance needs to happen there first with a lot of fanfare. In my opinion there should not be a whisper of housing of any kind until that happens. I for one want to see “Dave and Busters” or ESPN Zone put there. Something neither New Haven nor Stamford have to offer. Bridgeport can do that. It must do that since that area is within eyeshot of I-95 and Metro North passengers. The first priority should be jobs, permanent jobs and a significant increase in the tax base.

2. The South End flooding including the separation of the storm and sewer lines (CSO) do not have to rely only on WPCA ratepayers to be financed. The Clean Water Act federal funding and the new infrastructure funding the House of Representatives just introduced provides capital funding. That is how the East Side CSO project came about and it is how the Black Rock/West End CSO leg is financed. There is also Federal Sandy Disaster Relief funding available now. I suggest strongly the BHA and City fight hard to get the flooding issues in the South End as well as the CSO leg that needs to go through the Downtown and South End done. It isn’t a ratepayer issue. It is determination and focus to make this a priority to solve the flooding problems using the Sandy Relief dollars. New Haven and Stamford separated their sewer and storm lines years ago and put up a several infrastructure improvements to protect Morris Cove and Shippan Point from Long Island Sound. Bridgeport’s South End deserves the Clean Water Act and Sandy Relief funding to address the flooding issues. It isn’t okay for the BHA to punt the problem to the City. I would be disappointed to see the prioritization of the Sandy Relief funding go to build buildings and leave the critical infrastructure upgrades wanting.

3. The Ferry Boat Company’s owner Brian McAllister is determined to move the ferry terminal to the East side of the Harbor. He wants to get out from under the thumb of the Bridgeport Port Authority’s tariff. He wants his passengers to make a mad dash up and down Seaview Avenue with easy access to I-95. The State of Connecticut did significant market analyses of the three deep water ports in 2012. The consultants were top notch. I have that report. They recommended and CDOT, DECD and DEEP agreed that huge infrastructure investments need to go into the New London and New Haven ports. As for Bridgeport, they supported marine vessel repair growth for Derecktor Shipyards which is owned by the Bridgeport Port Authority. The other ‘bone’ they threw to Bridgeport was to support the ‘growth of the Ferry Company.’ They went even so far as to include in the report the schematic for the new terminal on the East Side of the Harbor even though the Master Plan and Zoning Regs do not permit a terminal on that location. They ignored the Court decision on the appeal that sustained the City’s Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance. The winds of change may be upon us however. McAllister has now purchased the entire Coastline property. Based on the 2012 Deep Water Port Study, the DEEP, CDOT and DECD have shifted positions. The question is what will the PZC do?

In my opinion, a solution must be crafted BEFORE any land use policies are changed or developments approved that change the operations of the Ferry Boat Company. I do not know how the PZC can act on a petition to build on the Ferry Boat parking lot until the Ferry Boat issue is resolved. To my knowledge, the City has not allowed the Ferry Boat to park their cars on the City-owned former Underwood Typewriter lot. The Ferry Boat Company must have a solution for their long-term parkers. In my opinion, the City should have McAllister guarantee the ferry will dock on BOTH sides of the harbor before any land use policies are changed or developments approved. In my opinion, the existing dock on the west side of the harbor should continue to be operational. This is what is done when you want to take the Ferry to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. There are two docks in operation for various times during the day. In my opinion, the Bridgeport ferry boats should dock on the west side of the Harbor at the existing terminal to take care of the commuters in the morning and evening, and the events at Harbor Yard, Steelpointe, UB, Downtown, and Seaside Park. The rest of the time they can dock on the East Side so the trucks and cars can speed up Seaview Avenue and jump on the highway. I do not see any measurable economic spinoff for the Ferry Terminal on the East End of the City. If the East End neighborhood wants Seaview Avenue to become a raceway, so be it. The Ferry passengers will not see Steelpointe from the proposed new location down Seaview Avenue which is a loss in marketing opportunities. The economic benefit for the terminal move is for the McAllister heirs. I accept his reasoning to move to grow his profits but the City needs to also protect the greater good.

The sad part about all of this is there is over $3 million in Federal Transit Administration (FTA) money that has been allocated to the City to create various connections between the Intermodal Transportation Center/Ferry Terminal and the South End/Downtown. The commuters and passengers don’t know what the South End and Downtown neighborhoods have to offer. The visual barricade caused by the train tracks and highway was to be mitigated with the implementation of all kinds of connections using FTA dollars. That money has been sitting for over five years. None of the connections have been done so there has not been any economic spinoff for the South End/Downtown from the one million plus passengers who ride the Ferry annually. Have you gone down to the Ferry Terminal lately? The building looks tattered, the walking ramp is bent, and the wall is leaning toward the water. The City is not making sure that McAllister is taking care of their asset under the lease. But that doesn’t mean the baby should be thrown out with the bathwater. When the building and ramps are repaired and connections are made, there is potential for a percentage of that commuter and ferry passenger traffic to find their way to drop some of their disposable income in Bridgeport. There is much more to offer in Bridgeport than in Port Jeff. It just takes focus and determination.

The BHA Proposal to build Mixed Income Housing on the Ferry Boat Parking Lot:

Having set the broader context and the three major challenges, turning to the BHA proposal to build a 74-80 unit mixed-income rental development, I agree with the points contained in the SE NRZ Plan. I also understand and support the urgency that Marina Village must come down. The residents who have been struggling there for many years deserve new housing opportunities. The proposed site is in a flood zone where nothing can be built on the first floor therefore a mixed-use component is not possible. My issue is the BHA owns several other properties where development of mixed-income housing could be built without the issues raised above. Therefore from an environmental review perspective, there are alternatives to developing the site at this point in time.

a. The BHA owns the remainder of the Father Panik property behind the new Barnum and Waltersville Schools. That is a huge vacant piece of property that could be extended over Water View Avenue to the park and river. It is just south of the tracks at a point where on the north side of the tracks is the proposed site of the second railroad station. The former Remington plant will be demolished before the end of the year making way for the second train station. Since that new station is on a straight track, high-density mixed-income mixed-use development will help Bridgeport pitch an Amtrak Acela stop to the FTA. The Acela will never stop at the current Downtown train station because of the curve. The length of the Acela cars requires a straight track. The second train station at the Remington location makes sense. The BHA owns a terrific Transit Oriented Development site at that location. If I remember correctly, the Master Plan and Zoning is in place for a high-density mixed-income mixed-use development. The BHA should have mixed-income/mixed-use housing developed there first!

b. The BHA also owns the Pembroke Block where the large bedroom homes that were built for the Father Panik and Pequonnock Apartment replacement program surround an interior portion of the block that is large enough for mixed-income housing; another great property with very few obstacles. I think the Master Plan and Zoning supported a high-density mixed-income mixed-use development at that location. That is the second site that could proceed with very few obstacles.

c. Then immediately to the west is the City’s large Health Department Site. That site was remediated when Hall Neighborhood House developed their senior development just south of the site. Combining the health department site with the Pembroke and former Father Panik site will generate a very exciting mixed-income/mixed-use development. There is lots of land near the future second train station that doesn’t have the three complicated issues I explained above.

Now, I am not stating the BHA shouldn’t ever build on the Ferry Boat Parking lot site. They should. They own it. I just don’t think the BHA should start the Marina Village Replacement Program on that site. In my opinion, the timing is all wrong. It is my opinion the BHA should start on the other BHA-owned sites and build on the Ferry Boat parking lot site later on. It is true the SE NRZ Plan’s goal for more homeownership by developing condos is not practical now. The housing recovery is still in flux. It will recover, it just needs more time. The BHA should respect the goals of the SE NRZ plan and delay the development of this site while the homeownership market recovers. Then a self-sufficiency program with a rent-to-buy option could be developed with a market study behind it to justify the investment.

Although not a matter before the PZC, I am in full support of the mixed-income/mixed-use rental development model. Those folks who are calling the proposed development a ‘large public housing’ site are misinformed and misguided. I have lived in a mixed-income/mixed-use rental development for over six years; 10% – 15% of the units are affordable. There is no issue. This type of mix will not negatively affect property values. The Lofts, 881 Lafayette, the former Jefferson School, City Trust, 333 State, 323 Fairfield and the Arcade are all mixed-income developments with the 90:10 and 85:15 market/affordable ratios. Many have Father Panik and Pequonnock Apartment replacement units through the use of Section 8 Project Based subsidies. All are built by private developers and are paying taxes, albeit abated somewhat. A mixed-income formula is sound. It is disappointing to hear the ‘fear of crime’ issue just because there is a mixed-income formula. Nothing is further from the truth. You don’t see fences around the properties I just mentioned. I believe the Marina Village residents deserve better. The same was said about Pequonnock and Father Panik residents back in the day. None of that fear became reality. The residents will be screened with background and credit checks. I just don’t think this fear issue deserves merit.

I do not support a mixed-income model for Bridgeport developments that increases the affordable component more than 20%. For this discussion, affordable is defined as units having household income limits less than or equal to 60%-80% of the Bridgeport Area Median Income. Bridgeport does not have a strong market-rate rental market. An 80:20 affordable/market ratio works in the suburbs, New Haven and Stamford where the rental market for market rate units is strong. That is not the case in Bridgeport. In my opinion, the affordable component should be equal or less than 20%. I know many of my neighbors in the Downtown developments where I live. Their incomes far exceed 100% of the Bridgeport Area Median Income. It has taken six years for that to happen. They are here because the market units do not have an income restriction of any kind. They are here because they want the short walk to the bus, train and ferry. They are here because the affordable component blends in without any hint of stigma. It is a very good thing for Bridgeport because now there are residents with significant disposable income who contribute to the Downtown economy. The BHA can’t argue there isn’t financing available to develop a 20%:80% affordable/market rental community. New Market tax credits permit market units without income restrictions. Bridgeport is eligible for New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) financing. NMTC financed City Trust, the Arcade, 144 Golden Hill as well as the first phase of the Bijou Theatre restoration. The Low Income Tax Credit Program is more restrictive. It will not allow household incomes to exceed 60% of the Area Median Income.

I also hope the BHA announces exactly how many units must be replaced in order that the Marina Village site can be redeveloped. I don’t know if they need a one-for-one replacement or some other formula. We need to know that. Everyone needs to know that. Then the BHA can prepare and announce a plan to replace that number of units using all of their sites as well as a partnership with the City on their sites. If there is still a shortfall, invite other developers of rental housing in Bridgeport to include a 10%-15% component of Marina Village replacement units using Section 8 Project Based units. That is what was done for the Pequonnock and Panik replacement program and it has been very successful. I fear the BHA is focusing on the Ferry Boat Parking lot site out of expediency as they chase State and Federal funding sources. They are not respecting the obstacles I cited above and ignoring the South End NRZ Plan.

I recommend the BHA is encouraged to withdraw their PZC and Coastal Zone petitions from the September 30th PZC agenda and focus their efforts to start the Marina Village replacement program on their other sites while the City and BHA work together to deal with points 1, 2 and 3 above. From an environmental impact review, this site is not the only alternative. The BHA and City have other sites available to accomplish the goal.

P&Z agenda:

CONTINUED BUSINESS

C-2 (13-18) 94 Boston Ave. – Petition of Wakefern Food Corporation (Pricerite) – Seeking a coastal site plan review of the proposed loading dock addition to the existing grocery store in an OR-G zone and coastal area.

C-4 (13-36) 350 Dekalb Ave. – Petition of Michael Cortina – Seeking a site plan review and a coastal site plan review to permit the construction of a 1-story 40’ x 50’ warehouse building in an I-L zone and coastal area.

DEFERRED BUSINESS

D-1 (13-42) 799 Sylvan Ave. – Petition of Joseph Toto/Parkview Commons, LLC – WITHDRAWN 09/18/13

D-2 (13-43) 800, 810 Sylvan Ave. & 123 Parkview Ave. – Petition of Parkview Commons, LLC/ Joseph Toto – WITHDRAWN 09/18/13

D-3 (13-46) 35, 45, 55, 36, 48 Down St. – Petition of Antonio Teixeira & Guy DeMaio – Seeking a re-subdivision and re-configuration of 6 parcels of property and a site plan review for development in an R-A zone.

D-4 (13-53) 547 North Ave. – Petition of 547 North Realty, LLC – Seeking a special permit and a site plan review to permit the conversion of the existing auto repair facility use into a convenience store in conjunction with the existing gas station use and to also construct a metal canopy over the new pump islands in an I-L zone.

NEW BUSINESS

(13-47) 545 Brewster St. – Petition of City of Bridgeport Board of Education – Seeking a change of zone, a special permit, and a site plan review to permit the construction of a 2-1/2 story addition to the existing elementary school building located in an R-B zone.

(13-54) 375 Main St. – Petition of Housing Authority of the City of Bridgeport – Seeking a site plan review and a coastal site plan review to permit the construction of a mixed use community complex with 80-residential units, in an NCVD zone.

(13-57) 425-485 North Ave. and 133 Evergreen St. – Petition of Victory Auto Sales – Seeking under Sec. 14-54 of the CT General Statutes a used car dealer license and an approval of location in a portion of the existing automotive wholesale and retail parts and supplies facility in an MU-LI zone.

(13-59) 16-46 Columbia Court – Petition of Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust – Seeking a special permit and a site plan review to permit the construction of a 6-unit 3-story apartment building in an R-C zone.

(13-60) 1793-1823 Stratford Ave. – Petition of Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust – Seeking a special permit and a site plan review to permit the construction of a 3-story mixed use building with retail on the 1st floor and 30 one-bedroom apartments above in an OR zone.

(13-61) 620-660 Lindley St. – Petition of Kyle Pearson – Seeking a change of zone from an I-L to an OR-G to accommodate a mixed use development.

CONSENT AGENDA

(CA-1) 725-727 Laurel Ave. – Petition of Keith Vo – Seeking a site plan review for a 2-family dwelling being legalized and changed into a 3-family dwelling in an R-B zone.

(CA-2) 1289 Railroad Ave. – Petition of Industrial Park Associates – Seeking a 1-year extension for a multi-unit housing project which was approved by the Planning & Zoning Commission on 08/27/12.

(CA-3) 674 Madison Ave. – Petition of J&H Auto Body, LLC – Seeking to waive the public hearing requirement and grant under Sec. 14-54 of the CT General Statutes an amended certificate of location for a general auto repair facility under new ownership in an OR-G zone.

(CA-4) 24 Whittier St. – Petition of Anthony Venturino – Seeking to waive the public hearing requirement and grant under Sec. 14-54 of the CT General Statutes an amended certificate of location for a used car dealership under new ownership in an OR zone

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33 Comments so far ↓

  • Steven Auerbach

    Well, let the cards fall where they may regarding Marina Village relocation units to the site across from The arena and Harbor yard. I am curious what Phil Kuchma has to say, Kooris has to say and of course I’d especially like to hear Nancy Hadley’s take. Just curious. She lives up the street from there. It is not in my back yard. It does not affect the perception of my downtown business. It does affect the perception of 100′s of thousands of people patronizing the ball park and arena on a nice summer night. Maybe I am overthinking this situation; I do not think so. I have a vision and I see the future and I think bringing Marina Village downtown, 80 units cannot be a good thing no matter how you slice it. This will not support one business downtown. Not one. It will keep people from wanting to move downtown. I will not comment on 375 Main St. again on this blog as I did in the Steelepointe blog. Nancy Hadley was very vocal. Now how does this project fit into Bridgeport’s plan for a prosperous downtown? Anyone? PS I totally support gov’t subsidized housing. Bridgeport certainly has the bulk in CT. 90 percent of calls I read were from section 8. We definitely need to help those who need assistance. That being said, a few places these type of units do not belong in 21st century Bridgeport: The Waterfront, Steelepointe, downtown and any area that is trying to be gentrified. Maybe the Connecticut Post should interview Stamford. Maybe the City and business community needs to visit Stamford and Norwalk and not Maryland and Florida. Stamford learned the winning formula 25 years ago. I worked in Stamford for 10 years and watched it turn from ghetto to magnificent artistic edifices that became a magnet for major development and major developers from all over. Bridgeport needs to stick to a positive vision, stop sugarcoating horrible proposals. Once approved it will take a hundred years to get rid of.

  • Steven Auerbach

    Black Rock School, a great proposal!

  • Bob Walsh

    A commentary that would make John Marshall Lee and Jeff Kohut proud!!!

  • Brick

    That’s what happens when people from out of town come in with no idea of the history of the neighborhood or a serious understanding of the development needs of the city. The Housing Authority is going to blindly push forward on this nonsensical project without giving a thought as to whether or not this is the best project for the city as a whole. I hope the city finds a way to squash this effort!

  • Bridgeporteur

    Aw heck, Brick. The same can be said about outsiders who comment on this blog without knowing about the recent history of Bridgeport, where the Father Panik relocation in the ’80s devastated the stability of neighborhoods that were struggling and sent them into a ten-year period of high crime, drugs, vacant houses and neighborhood flight. I’m talking Benham Avenue area and East Side for starters. Jeez!

  • Baffled in Bridgeport

    The city is driving this. Typically mindless planning. It can hardly be called replacement housing when the application to tear Marina down hasn’t been approved and even if it were, there’s no money to tear it down or rebuild it. So when these units are built, the South End will have a very high concentration of public housing. Hadley is right, the timing and placement of this project is poor. That and a nickel doesn’t seem to trouble any of the planners involved.

  • Bob Walsh

    Sorry Nancy, but rereading your comments, or rereading as much as I could, I can’t help but think the shoe is on the other foot.
    Back when I was on the council I could see myself making somewhat of the same case you are making concerning a complete, comprehensive and DISCIPLINED approach to planning and being criticized by the likes of yourself, members of your staff and whomever the mayor may have been at the time about my request being unworkable. That we could not stop some progress for the most perfect plan. That my demands were unreasonable to try to pull this all together at one time.
    As I have often said, the city of Bridgeport looks at each parcel of land as its own development plan and lacks the vision and discipline to perform real comprehensive planning and sticking to it.

    • Nancy Hadley

      Bob, I have a very different recollection of the 2004-2008 period when I was OPED director. The work with the Master Plan and Zoning update committee chaired by Pat Fardy and Stuart Sachs had all of us applying a very disciplined approach to developing the new policies and planning framework. That led to the 10+ acre harbor yard request for proposal issued by Kevin Nunn at BERC. The team was developing a very disciplined approach. Quite different from past practices in the City.

  • Bob

    Nancy Hadley is one of the reasons Bridgeport is an undeveloped, overtaxed, rundown municipality. She is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    • Steven Auerbach

      Bob, that is a mean and very sad evaluation of of Nancy Hadley’s tenure with the city. It of course would have been nice if former Mayor Fabrizi came to her defense. Nancy Hadley planted many of the seeds the city is finally beginning to actualize. I would question the current and former Economic development director under Finch. Nancy Hadley should not have to give her entire resume every time she acknowledges comments on OIB. Her current comments submitted to planning and zoning are as a regular citizen. It took time and effort and a lot of specifics. I am curious as to what the Planning and Economic development group has to say this evening. Bob, sometimes what we say can really penetrate to the bone and when it is not warranted it is downright cruel–apologize, damn it!!! :-)

    • Andrew C Fardy

      Bob, you are 100% wrong about Nancy Hadley. What she accomplished was worthy of praise especially dealing with the city’s corrupt hand-out politicians. While I am at it, what did you accomplish with all your years on the council?

  • Tom White

    Nancy, thank you for sharing your detailed analysis. I hope the P&Z commissioners can understand your points and reflect them in their decisions. It is obvious efforts must be made to encourage taxable development, not more (replacement) public housing using a model that burdens the host city.

    • Nancy Hadley

      Tom,
      I trust you agree Marina Village must come down. The residents should not be living in housing that was built for WWI with a life expectancy of 25 years or so. Those barrack-type structures have existed long past their life expectancy. The units need to be replaced. Just like the Father Panik and Pequonnock Apartment units had to be replaced. The question is how and where.

  • Mojo

    *** These are important land pieces that are relevant to the possible economic development future, the downtown area of Bpt and its surroundings so desperately needs especially if Steelpoint gets off the ground and running! Timing, patience and understanding non-profits, low-income replacement housing or anything that does “not” generate close to 100% city taxable revenue income, etc. would be counterproductive to the city’s Master Plan. There are areas of the city where getting P&Z things going quickly are needed. However when it comes to particular sites in the downtown area that can make a major difference one way or another towards success, then patience and understanding is a must, no? ***

    • Friends of John Iannuzzi

      Hey Mr. Mojica,
      John Iannuzzi here. I can’t find a # or e-mail for you. Thought I had one. How can I get in touch with you?

  • Friends of John Iannuzzi

    I for one am grateful for Nancy Hadley’s input. I have the utmost respect for her and her tireless work. Since moving to the South End I have talked with many people who have complaints about the way the city operates. I have talked to even more individuals who don’t care about the way the city operates. There is an apathy that is tangible and visible in all corners of our city. Nancy is one of the good guys in my humble opinion. Aside from the fact I agree with her 99% of the time, I am even more impressed with her ability to not get dissuaded when envisioning a better Downtown Bridgeport. I swear I am starting to think a good chunk of people here in the Park City would rather NOT make progress … especially if it were not their idea that will ultimately get us closer to a brighter future.

    • Steven Auerbach

      After sitting through last evening I had to leave at 9 pm. When I returned at 10 I heard the proposal was postponed. After reading today’s paper I realized Mayor Finch in fact has a new Economic Albatross around his neck … Dave Kooris, the Director of Economic Development. He is quoted in the paper as being supportive of the Marina Village replacement housing. Bad answer. Bad for the city, bad for downtown gentrification, bad for Arena and Ballpark, bad for the South End and bad for the image of a downtown struggling to change its image. So here is how it is going to go down. I would suggest all South End residents start mobilizing. You need to show up at the next meeting with signs. You need to let The Mayor and this second Finch Flunky in development know you will not accept this proposal. Does anyone remember Mark from the Foster campaign and his wife as well as Pettway from the South End? Nancy? Time to get the city to show and embarrass the do-nothing development director. The second one under Mayor Finch. The man running for political office in Stamford. He will be gone way before a foundation is poured. Mayor Finch, this could in fact be the moment your adversaries have been waiting for. Nancy Hadley has been more vocal on development issues out of office than this David Kooris has in office. Supporting this proposal is just downright embarrassing. Even more embarrassing were the people missing from last night’s meeting. The political wannabes. Next meeting maybe the South End can unite like Black Rock and demand to be heard and reacted to. Where are the council people? This is not only a South End issue. This is an issue the entire city should be outraged over.

      • Steven Auerbach

        Charlie Covielo–Have Mark call me.

      • John Marshall Lee

        Steve,
        Each of us were at the meeting last night, at least a good part of it. Jack Banta a CC member from the neighborhood was there as were NRZ Chair McCluster and Vice Chair Breland.
        The community needs to find an orderly way for appropriate housing for citizens. WWI units are not appropriate certainly. Looking at the number of initiatives in the South End to provide more modern housing in recent years, and understanding the other sites the BHA owns and can develop, one can ask is this proposed use a highest and best use? Especially when water-proximate sites can gain a much higher dollar value in a taxable use. Reasonable questions were raised about siting in a storm flood area. It seems reasonable to have some of these issues answered before attempting to line up ducks that are later in line.
        Finally, ignoring the details of requirements, letting the dots over an ‘i’ or crossing of a ‘t’ to linger incomplete is a habit in too many places. Last night the TPZ voted to let another project go with materials incomplete while a presenter did not have all his materials indicating requested changes and he must return. Why can’t Bridgeport folks on Boards, Commissions, City Council, and all governance units only come to a decision when they have all the necessary info to come to an intelligent, balanced and progressive decision? That means the City body that supports the Board, Commission, Council etc. needs to supply all the pertinent info ahead of time. Good idea?
        And maybe the public should have a crack at the good info as well? The public is paying for the party and is not getting any favors.
        And if the public got to look at the detail early enough and had a chance to weigh in, that would be helpful to all bodies, but many times there is no path to comment when it would be helpful.
        What would you add? Time will tell.

  • Friends of John Iannuzzi

    With regard to the Reverend McCluster’s decision to not share the results of the vote taken by the 16 South End NRZ members … as someone who actually lives in the South End, owns property in the South End, and cares about the South End, can I ask why? As NRZ Chair Carl felt comfortable giving his opinion in favor of the project. He accuses folks against this project of being “afraid” of public housing etc., yet I was dismayed to find out the Reverend does not even live in Bridgeport. I understand this is not factored in when choosing representation on a neighborhood revitalization board, but it should be.

  • Friends of John Iannuzzi

    Unfortunately the Metro North debacle has made the last week a commuting nightmare. My wife and I have been dealing with two-hour commutes back home, so I missed it. However, the CT Post’s suggestion there is not a large outcry from the South End community against this project is misguided. We are just now getting all in the same boat here and hopefully by the rescheduled meeting later this month, we can arrive in even larger numbers to explain why this project is not good for any party involved.

  • Nancy Hadley

    I don’t think the future of the Harbor Yard Entertainment area is just a South End issue. That area is one of THE most important economic generators in the City. How those 10 acres are developed affects all of us. Yes, the South End neighborhood should galvanize but I think this is a city-wide issue.

    • Steven Auerbach

      Yes Nancy, but only the South End will fight it as they are immediately affected. The rest of the City will wake up when the project is completed. Friend of John Iannuzzi, I am hoping you can help get bodies to the next meeting. JML, I know you were there last night. I was referring to people who oppose the project, not Dave Kooris and Reverend McCluster representing the NRZ supportive of the project. Mayor Finch, this project is as ridiculous as The Nob Hill Academy prison by Beardsley Park. We all remember how that little deal became a huge ordeal.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Why not leave the Marina apts where they are? Reduce the number of units so the density is less. Rehab the remaining units with new appliances, bathrooms and paint. Turn them into coops and give the units to the existing tenants. Other coops in the city thrive, why not Marina?

  • Nancy Hadley

    Andy,
    The Mayor appoints the BHA Commissioners. That is the total extent of his control. I don’t know if the BHA Commissioners voted to demolish Marina Village. Someone would need to check the minutes of the Commissioners’ meetings.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Thanks Nancy. It is painfully obvious to me the BHA does not have a clue. The way I read it we are going to demolish Marina and build units across the street from the ballfield and the arena. If they do that they might as well start demolishing both sports complexes.
    Years and years ago we surrounded downtown with public-assisted housing and look what that did.
    Finch and company are clueless.

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