From my home on the corner of Johnson & Ansonia Roads, I’ve watched the changing fortunes of the Country Club of Woodbridge (CCW) over the past 60 years. For decades CCW was a handsome, manicured and highly praised golf course, but by 2009, the club was failing and on the brink of being sold to a developer.
Instead, First Selectman Ed Sheehy suggested town ownership, writing, “The Board of Selectmen carefully analyzed the proposed purchase [of CCW] and recognized the importance of maintaining the property as open space.” Residents responded by voting overwhelmingly in favor of the purchase.
Since then, Woodbridge residents have endured a seemingly endless parade of development proposals, each one worse than the last.
In 2011 residents rejected (by a 2 to 1 vote margin) the first proposal by Toll Brothers to build 58 “town homes” on 17 acres of the property. In 2014 a much larger Toll Brothers proposal was withdrawn. In 2018-19 a plan (125 condos on 54 acres) by Sachs (of Fieldstone Village) was dropped due to residents’ opposition. In 2019 a third plan (120 homes on 60 acres) failed to reach a referendum because, once again, residents spoke out strongly against residential development. Town leaders have shown neither broad vision nor basic respect for the CCW property, intentioally allowing it to fall into disrepair and overgrowth.
Now, we are faced with a massive proposal by “Arbor Haven” to purchase all of CCW and cover that majestic landscape with 145 dwellings. This is clearly the least credible of all the development plans. Take an in-depth look at the numbers: it would be a financial disaster for Woodbridge, with costs far outweighing all potential revenue.
Today, as I look out my front door at the still-magnificent sweep of open space, I share Ed Sheehy’s 2009 view, “It would be irresponsible for the Board [of Selectmen] to allow the property to fall into the hands of developers.”