Bloomfield Drive ‘affordable’ apartments spark neighbors’ opposition
Published 9:02 am, Friday, February 12, 2016
Several neighbors of a nine-unit, affordable housing project proposed on Bloomfield Drive warned the Town Plan and Zoning Commission this week that, if the complex is approved, they won’t tolerate residents from the apartments parking on their congested street.
The commission held a public hearing Tuesday on the application — filed under the state’s 8-30g affordable housing statute — that calls for including two two-bedroom units and one one-bedroom unit at “affordable” rental rates in the development. The hearing was closed, but the TPZ made no decision.
Turk Properties, owned by Primrose Lane resident Turgut Parlakkilic, is seeking approval to build a three-building complex at 8 Bloomfield Drive, where a two-family house now stands. The property, just under a half-acre in size, is located across from Park Square Drive.
Each unit in the proposed complex would have its own garage, and there would be five additional parking spaces on the site.
“There are several problems with this project,” said Bloomfield Drive resident Vincent Barrett. “First of all, it’s too large.” He said each apartment’s residents are likely to have two cars, meaning some tenants will have to park on the street.
“We are not going to tolerate anybody parking in front of our houses,” Barrett said. “I don’t care if it’s public ... You’ve got to scale this project back.”
He said he plans to contact the state Department of Housing to lodge his objections.
There are currently no parking restrictions on the street.
Turk Properties’ proposal would remove a yield sign on Bloomfield and install stop signs at the apartments’ driveway and on Park Square. The developer also asks that “no parking” signs be installed at the intersections. Under state law, parking is prohibited within 25 feet of an intersection.
Another Bloomfield Drive resident, Kevin Muller, said he was one of the 96 people who signed a petition in support of the project, but added that he feels is should be downsized.
“My concern is definitely the parking situation,” Muller said. He said many of the property owners in the neighborhood are landlords, renting out homes but not maintaining their properties.
“That area is the next Bridgeport,” Muller said. “That is a suppressed area.”
Dianne Dutko, who said she lives directly across the street from the proposed development, said there now are too many cars parked on the street and too much traffic, which already makes it difficult to get out of her driveway. “If he wants to do something smaller, we would probably be okay with that,” Dutko said.
Although the developer indicated no Bloomfield traffic accidents have been reported to police over the prior three years, resident Robert Duncan said that’s not true.
“It’s a racetrack,” said Duncan, adding that he has seen numerous accidents, often in his front yard. “We don’t call the cops, we help the people,” he said. “My brother-in-law, he parks in front of his house, I can’t tell you how many times he’s been whacked. They’re going to park on the street, we can’t tolerate that.”
John Fallon, the lawyer representing the developer, contended that based on the report from a traffic consultant, removing the yield sign, adding stop signs and posting parking restrictions at the intersection should improve traffic safety.
The two two-bedroom “affordable” units would be set aside for people earning less than 60 percent of the Bridgeport-area median income, with monthly rental rates of $1,121, while one of the one-bedroom units would be rented to a tenant with monthly income of less than 80 percent of the median. That rental rate would be $1,150 a month.
Fallon said if neighbors feel their area of town should be enhanced, “That is what this family is doing. It’s an investment in this neighborhood, it’s an investment in the community.” He described the projects as a “good, strong anchor” for the neighborhood, and one that addresses the need for affordable rental units in town.
The property is in an R3 zone, and many of the nearby residences are duplexes.