A new subcommittee of the Representative Town Meeting will hold their initial meeting this week to hear from residents on potentially allowing the former Branford Hills school site to be used for affordable housing.
RTM moderator established the ad-hoc committee earlier this month, and assigned RTM members from the 4th and 5th districts to the body. Those districts would be the most impacted by the issue being heard.
The five members are Republicans Don Conklin, Robert Imperato and Ray Ingraham, and Democrats Maryann Amore and Adam Hansen. All of the members requested to serve on the committee. Inraham will chair the body.
At hand is a request form the Branford Housing Authority and their developer, Beacon, to potentially use the former Branford Hills school site for Parkside Village, an affordable housing community currently located on Montowese Street in Indian Neck.
The request comes as the Housing Authority, which is not a town entity, is doing its due diligence after meeting significant opposition to a plan last year to redevelop Parkside on the existing site in Indian Neck.
Preliminary drawings for the Branford Hills site show up to 120 units being built on the site in two structures. The wooded area that serves as a buffer to neighboring homes would remain in place, an if it were approved, it would likely mean the town would sell the site to the Housing Authority and would likely buy back the current site on Montowese Street.
However, approval by the RM remains a longshot for a variety of reasons. Residents of Parkside have recently shown a strong desire to remain on Montowese; that desire was not as evident last year as the application before Planning and Zoning was pulled before residents spoke on the project.
Additionally, a plan by the Catholic church to consolidate the towns churches may mean a site across the street, where St. Elizabeth’s currently sits, may be on the market, and potentially developed soon. If so, that would strengthen the need and desire to keep the former Branford Hills school location open space or a park.
For the Housing Authority, despite a potential move to Branford Hills being unlikely, the process they have undergone bolsters their next application to Planning and Zoning. Since they pulled the application last year, they have undertaken a detailed look at a variety of potential locations, and have published a public request for proposals from area landowners.
The RTM Branford Hills Property Usage Committee holds its first meeting Wednesday, April 26 at the Branford Fire House at 7 P.M.