To the Editor,
I’m concerned that the Board of Selectmen has not done its due diligence on Insite Development and the proposed condo development at Woodbridge Country Club. The first selectman has promoted the developer as experienced and the project as a windfall to tax payers, nothing could be further from the truth.
The Board of Selectmen has presented Insite as an Architect and an experienced developer while simple investigation and questioning would reveal Insite is not an Architect, not an Architectural Corporation, not a developer and has no experience in developments such as being proposed. Insite has unachievable expectations for the sales prices and sales absorption rates for the condos because they have not done market research and a feasibility study which is a first step conducted by experienced developers. Comparable units in the area sell for far less money and at a much slower rate which will result in lower tax revenue to the town than promised. Comparable sized units at 55 and over developments such as Fieldstone, Oxford Greens and Meadow Brook have sold for between $169 and $180 per square foot which would translate to $350K to $360K per unit at the Country Club of Woodbridge while Insite expects to sell his units for $225 per square foot for an average selling price of $505K per unit. Again, an experienced developer would not start a project with such wildly unrealistic and un-researched assumptions.
The Board of Selectmen has promoted the deal as a financial windfall for the town. The members have not questioned the developer’s inflated estimate of tax revenue to the town and the assertion of no additional costs to the town. If the town assumes more realistic sales prices for the condos comparable to similar developments in the area, the development only provides $1.2M in revenue if all the units are eventually sold and before expenses to the town. The developer estimates 30% of the 120 buyers of the condos will be current residents of Woodbridge who sell their homes (36 homes) to move to the condos. The buyers of the 36 homes vacated by these empty nester residents moving to the condo can reasonably be expected to have children that will be in the school system because that’s who predominately buys homes in Woodbridge. Assuming conservatively only 2 children per household, 2 children x 36 homes equals 72 new children in the school system. The Town of Woodbridge is allocated the cost of the Amity system based on the number of students from Woodbridge at Amity, one student at Amity costs $18,698 per year. The cost to taxpayers will be over $1.35M in additional school costs for these new families, not to mention the costs for other additional services such as police and fire among others for the condo residents. It is abundantly obvious the expenses to the town exceed the potential tax revenue and will increase the mill rate long term which could have been easily ascertained by the Board of Selectmen before promoting the deal as a windfall to taxpayers.
I implore the Board of Selectmen to go back and do its due diligence on the developer and this project before wasting more money promoting a bad idea.
Paul Harrigan CPA