BOS to vote on whether to abandon 35 Leroy plan
The Board of Selectmen selected Mutual Housing Authority (MHA) to develop the 35 Leroy Ave. property in 2009, at which point the town and the developer entered into an option to lease, which permits MHA to construct up to 21 affordable housing units at the former library site. But this project, which has been referred to in as the "linchpin" in the town's Affordable Housing Plan will cease to exist if at least three selectmen vote to pull the plug on the option to lease Monday night.
Campbell said he expects that to happen. The Board of Selectmen is comprised of three Republicans -- Campbell, Jayme Stevenson and Jerry Nielsen -- and two Democrats -- Callie Sullivan and David Bayne.
Campbell added this item to Monday night's agenda in an effort to decide the future of affordable housing at the 35 Leroy site.
"The [Facilities Study] Task Force said a decision should be made about whether to have affordable housing at 35 Leroy," Campbell said. "So this is on the agenda now."
As for the effect this might have on Darien's ability to reach a moratorium under 8-30G, Campbell isn't concerned. "We're getting to a moratorium without 35 Leroy," he said.
And he does have some fresh ideas on the horizon in the affordable housing realm. He unveiled a new preliminary plan to construct senior affordable housing on the current senior center site.
"The plan includes razing the senior center, which the task force also recommended," Campbell said. "It's really preliminary at this point. All I have is a piece of paper with some site plans, and a basic plan of an idea of what a senior housing bungalow would look like."
In his current vision, the senior center site on Edgerton Road would become home to 20 bungalows.
"They would be based on the Clock Hill model, and there would be deed restrictions on them for appreciation value, and they'd be paying taxes to the town and land rent to the town," he said.
"Bungalows would be a less intense use of the property and less intense use for the neighborhood," he said. "That property is terraced, and is fairly steep sloping, and [bungalows] would fit in really nicely on that property, and would not detract from the neighborhood in any way."
According to his preliminary plans, "[t]he bungalows would be one story with a little living room and a kitchen with a small eating area off it, and one bathroom, one bedroom, and a small study area with a little front porch," he said.
"It's just some ideas I've been knocking around with," he said. "If I was going to give up housing at the old library, I wanted to come up with some solution for senior housing elsewhere in town. And the old senior center site doesn't lend itself for playing fields, but it does lend itself well for this type of housing. It would be very low-impact on the Edgerton area."
This is all well in the future, he said.
"We have to move the seniors out of the senior center before we do anything," he said.
His plan would also require some time for locals to come together to form a third-party, non-profit organization to oversee the senior affordable housing.
"We need volunteers to step up to work on a 501(c)(3) to run this; we need to come up with a group of people who have the skills to run something like this," he said.
"I'm just thinking outside the box, and can hopefully encourage people who've been involved over the years in housing, building and development to come forward and volunteer their time for the town," he said.
The Board of Selectmen will meet at 7:45 p.m. in Town Hall room 206 to discuss the option to lease. During the regular meeting, the board will also hear the official recommendations of the Facilities Study Task Force.
The Darien News will continue to provide updates as this story develops.