The need for affordable housing in our communities is urgent. For too long, Connecticut has been a segregated state, with its poorest residents (largely people of color) clustered in pockets of our cities. Constructing affordable housing is part of the solution, but we must do it on our terms, not those of the developers.
Westport’s Planning & Zoning Commission recently rejected Summit Saugatuck LLC’s proposal to build a 187-unit development in Old Saugatuck. The current plan is to transform a historical neighborhood that is already affordable, to build a massive complex in which less than a third of units are actually deemed “affordable housing”. It constitutes a rapid shift in density, one which would cause a spike in traffic on the one existing road in and out. On top of that, Old Saugatuck is low-density right now for good reason – its swampy ecosystem has historically prevented construction of multi-story tenements like the ones proposed. There is no telling what problems construction workers may run into.
Every man, woman, and child in Connecticut deserves a roof over their head, and building affordable housing is necessary. However, this proposal is simply bad (sub)urban planning. The events of the past several months show us that we cannot let corporate interests supplant community interests. Earning a dollar cannot come at the expense of our residents. We must Save Old Saugatuck.
Stephanie Thomas has been endorsed by Democrats as their candidate for District 143 State Representative.