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Letter: Country Club of Woodbridge – A Recurring Nightmare

I have worked hard for the essential preservation of open space in Woodbridge for many years as a lifelong Woodbridge resident.  In the Woodbridge Town News of October 4, we were informed that the Board of Selectmen are bringing the clustered development proposal for more than 1/3 of the former Country Club of Woodbridge parcel to the voters.  This will occur soon either via voice vote or via referendum.

It was envisioned that the preservation of the open space of this very historically significant “crown jewel” property was assured in 2009 when residents voted to purchase the 153 acres.  This has been brought back time and time again by your selectmen.

This is a flawed proposal for the following reasons:

  • This is a considerable precedent; a zoning change for this property will have consequences regarding the potential for clustered development elsewhere where we presently have 1½ acre zoning, making Woodbridge no different than many towns with town homes and clustered development throughout.
  • Who wants to live that close to the Wilbur Cross Parkway with the constant noise of traffic day or night?
  • The price for these town homes will be excessive.
  • “Build them as they go” many years of construction will ensue; look at other similar projects in neighboring towns.
  • Traffic will increase significantly as this site is not near any facilities such as grocery and drug stores, etc.
  • Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) green building certification always suggests locating clustered development near accessible facilities.
  • Woodbridge has a unique character thanks to our forefather leaders.
  • The history of the property is unique and extremely significant, deeds indicate one-time owners were:
    • Captain John Beecher whose family’s presence on this parcel prior to the incorporation of the Town Woodbridge takes us back as far as the founding of New Haven and the original Beecher family in America.
    • Patriot & Statesman & signer of four articles of independence, Roger Sherman owned this parcel as Clover Hill Farm during the time he served as mayor of New Haven.
    • James Hillhouse, Revolutionary War Commander, Representative and Senator.
  • A viable formal process was not followed to encourage use within present zoning regulations, and also a request for proposals to renovate the country club buildings and pool, and resurrect the golf course. The article states “the developer…brought the proposal for an active adult community to the town.”
  • “Once built out” property tax revenue is nebulous and years away.
  • Short term financial motivations should not out-weigh for-ever consequences of development, and the positive effect on Woodbridge taxpayers will be minimal as additional services will be needed by these new residents. A breakeven financial model could be developed to satisfy Woodbridge taxpayers and to pay off the debt.
  • Many questions to the construction and development firms remain unanswered.

If Woodbridge residents have any interest in history, open space, preservation, or maintaining Woodbridge zoning, it is incumbent to not allow the development of 120 age-restricted homes on the parcel for reasons stated and many more.

Richard J. Forselius

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