I am dismayed that we are facing another referendum to develop the beautiful Woodbridge Country Club property with a senior cluster condo community that most people don’t want on that unique, lovely parcel. The Weiner/Heller/Scalettar regime continues to foist this unwanted development on our municipality. As a former member of the Town Plan and Zoning Commission, I am disturbed that allowing this dense development in a residential A zone could change the character of our town forever. Woodbridge’s semi-rural character was created overtime with our careful zoning. Zoning is based on precedent, so allowing our zoning to radically change to allow this “Spot” development threatens large parcels of undeveloped property all over town with similar condo projects. Town Attorney Weiner seems to like to use development of our town to enrich himself. When I was on the Planning and Zoning Commission and he was the head of the Democratic Town Committee, he used his political position to solicit business from developers trying to build in Woodbridge often against the greater interests of the townspeople. Weiner also maintained that changing the zoning at the WCC won’t jeopardize other parcels, but other land-use lawyers disagree. The selected developer of the WCC plans to pay the town only $5.4 million for 60 acres, a low price of only 90,000/acre, not a fair price for the taxpayers of the town.
Demolishing the WCC clubhouse is also a misguided idea. It is an architecturally significant, mid-century modern structure worthy of preservation. Tearing down the clubhouse is Woodbridge’s equivalent of NYC’s destruction of Penn Station.
The WCC clubhouse, clay tennis courts and pool could be restored with a state grant for residents to use. The Senior Center and the town weight room could be moved to one of the clubhouse’s lovely, light-filled rooms. The facility could have its ballrooms rented for weddings, bar/bat-mitzvahs, lectures, etc. to generate revenue for the town. Many other towns such as Trumbull and Westport have done this with similar facilities.
The Town of Woodbridge already has an approved senior housing district on either side of Bradley road in the village district. Elegant senior housing should be located there because it would enhance our village district with a mixture of age-restricted housing and shops. The town should not be competing with a private developer who already owns the property along Bradley Road. The Bradley road senior development could generate far more tax dollars than the WCC tract. The Heller administration hasn’t worked at all with the developer to bring that project to fruition, but instead myopically focuses on the WCC project. The Bradley road property already has public sewer, public water, bus service, and gas lines present and doesn’t isolate seniors in a less developed part of town. Senior residents could walk around on the sidewalks in the village district improving the business climate in that part of town. If you want to keep the Woodbridge we know and love, vote “NO” on the WCC development proposal.
Michael D. Broderick D.V.M