Opinion: Zoning change hardly a ‘win-win’ for Stamford

Stamford, Connecticut on March 20, 2021.

Stamford, Connecticut on March 20, 2021.

Patrick Sikes / For Hearst Connecticut Media

In response to the Stamford Advocate opinion article on Jan, 19, (“A win-win for the city”) there were two reasons stated in support of the Application 220-20 to convert some under-used office parks in Stamford to residential multifamily housing. The two reasons were “an increase in the supply of multifamily housing” and “the increase in the tax base that can provide much-needed revenue to support improvements in the city’s infrastructure.”

Addressing the increase in multifamily housing, the author cites the successful 77 Havemeyer Lane project that added 195 multi-family condominiums to the tax rolls as an example of how this change in zoning for all C-D Zones would benefit the city. To be more realistic, the converted condominiums on Havemeyer Lane are presently offered for sale on Zillow in the range of $825,000 to $1.2 million per unit. If this is an example of creating more affordable housing in Stamford so our children, our teachers, our police, or our firefighters can afford to reside in town, it falls far short of that purpose.

As far as the increase in tax revenue that could result by changing the zoning, we only have to look to the South End. Stamford has had $2 to $4 billion dollars of construction in the South End. Have you noticed any reduction in our tax bills? Have you noticed improvements in the roads? Have you seen any lifting of restrictions on water usage?

The author expresses the support for “under-used office parks.” Does this mean all office parks zoned as C-D? If so, then there is more than one area defined as C-D zone. It affects the whole city, not just one area.

In summation, the purpose of zoning regulations is to protect the value of the residents of the city. As indicated in the Dec. 31, 2015 Zoning Regulations, the purpose of them is to:

 Determine most appropriate use of land;

 Regulate population density;

 Lesson traffic congestion on streets;

 Provide adequate infrastructure for the community in transportation, water, sewage, schools, parks, and other public requirements.

The purpose is achieved by:

 Enforcement of zoning regulations, such as height, size, and use of buildings and how they fit into the community as a whole.

Does this change in zoning accomplish this purpose? Not really.

Frank Macchio and John Delelle are both small business owners in Stamford for the past 50 years.