News release from City Councilwoman Michelle Lyons:
Bridgeport City Councilwoman Michelle Lyons of the 134th District is calling on the Bridgeport Catholic Diocese to build additional elderly housing on its property at 238 Jewett Avenue in the North End of Bridgeport.
“Since the Diocese has already built the former Bishop Curtis elderly rental apartments on the perimeter of its Jewett Avenue property, additional elderly housing with set asides for veterans and people with disabilities would help greatly in easing the housing crisis for the elderly, serve as the best and highest use for the property and would be welcome by the neighborhood,” said Lyons.
“There is a real and urgent need for more elderly housing. Within my District and throughout Bridgeport, the current private and publicly owned elderly housing apartment units have long waiting lists for those seeking occupancy. The lists stretch for years before an individual is even notified of a vacancy. I receive numerous calls from elderly constituents seeking such housing who are frustrated by the long wait time,” said Councilwoman Lyons.
“In addition to the former Bishop Curtis Homes on Jewett Avenue, the Diocese, at one time, had built eight additional elderly housing developments throughout Fairfield County. In Bridgeport, one such development was the Augustana Homes on Palisade Avenue. Our proposal for elderly housing would not be a new venture for the Diocese.”
Lyons went on to say, “As the elected City Councilwoman of the 134th District, I and a group of neighbors stand ready to meet with the Bishop at any time, to discuss our proposal for elderly housing.”
The Diocese of Bridgeport in collaboration with Fairfield University proposed the creation of the Bellarmine Community College for 238 Jewett Avenue along with some Diocesan offices remaining on site. Neighbors argued that a college was not allowed in the zone, notwithstanding a legal opinion by Attorney Russell Liskov, a member of the Bridgeport City Attorney’s Office. The neighbors appealed to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Only after a second legal opinion, issued by former City Attorney R. Christopher Meyer, which agreed with the neighbors that a college use was not permitted, was the Diocese’s application withdrawn from the Bridgeport Planning and Zoning Commission Agenda.