To: Ridgefield Affordable Housing Committee
From: Ridgefield Residents for Smart Development, (RRSD)
We are a nonpartisan coalition of Ridgefield residents whose emphasis is ensuring smart and thoughtful development. We have spokespeople and members who are Democrats, Republicans and Unaffiliated. Additionally, we have two democratic spokespeople and one unaffiliated spokesperson.
Now that the affordable housing plan has been completed and submitted to the state, it is time for the Affordable Housing committee to become a subcommittee of Planning and Zoning (PNZ) and focus on the many strategies outlined in the plan, and how the committee can assist in implementing those strategies in a responsible fashion.
Our concern is the Affordable Housing Committee is singularly focused on building, which Planning and Zoning (PNZ) only recommended after all strategies in the Affordable Housing Plan were exhausted.
The members of the Affordable Housing Committee neither have the experience, nor knowledge in building fiscally responsible housing.
If the state allows Ridgefield to keep the $50,000 in grant money, as the original grant request is no longer valid as written, our coalition believes the grant dollars be handled responsibly.
That said, our coalition respectfully requests that any state grant dollars received be moved to PNZ’s responsibility, with approval from members of the Board of Selectmen and Selectwomen (BOS) for requested expenditures.
The grant money spent on Prospect Ridge was an example of the committee’s poor execution of a project with taxpayer dollars. The viability of the Prospect Ridge site should have included an extensive research of land records prior to presenting the project to the BOS. Instead, the committee chose to bypass assistance from the Tax Assessor, PNZ and Conservation Commission.
Our coalition no longer has faith in the Affordable Housing Committee, and feel now is the time for a change in reporting structure. Our coalition believes the Affordable Housing Committee should report directly to PNZ, as is the case in many towns.
We believe that had PNZ been involved from the beginning of the Prospect Ridge proposal, it would have saved everyone a lot of time, effort and taxpayer money on a site that came with restrictions to begin with.
The Ridgefield Residents for Smarter Development coalition will continue to strongly advocate for the two actions outlined in this letter.
Ridgefield Residents for Smart Development
Visit the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/RidgefieldRSD/