I write to respond to the “From Across The Aisle” column by Maria Cruz Kayne of Friday January 15, 2016
In 2011 the town purchased, at great expense, a recreational property with improvements (the Woodbridge Country Club). The purchase was funded by loans. There seems to have been an assumption that the user fees would provide the funds for maintenance of the facilities as well as for debt service. The facts, however, are quite different. The property requires extensive and costly repairs and remediation. The debt service and the facility costs consume valuable town resources at a time when the town is facing increased costs especially for the maintenance of its excellent school programs. While there has been some increase in new businesses, thus increasing the tax-base for the town, it is not sufficient to offset the drain on resources by the Country Club (WCC) property.
Ms. Kayne opposes the sale of the WCC property by stating that there is no need for age restricted housing in Woodbridge and that a better place for development would be at the intersection of Bradley Road and Litchfield Turnpike. Toll Brothers has undoubtedly done some market research and concluded that there is a market for an upscale age-restricted community in this area. The over 55 population would not impose a burden on the schools, but would pay real estate taxes and patronize local businesses.
There is no developer proposing to build residential property in the Bradley Road Litchfield turnpike area. It is simply not an attractive area for such development. The heavy traffic in the area makes it far more acceptable as commercial space.
Ms. Kayne quotes David Fink as recommending development of “smaller units close to the town center, near the doctor, the church…and other services”. This is interesting advice but not really relevant to Woodbridge. Town center in Woodbridge is not Bradley Road and Litchfield Turnpike. Woodbridge town center is the small area around town hall, the police station, the First Church of Christ, the senior center and the library.
Ms Kayne states that she is concerned about the Woodbridge neighbors who are worried about paying their taxes and fearful they will be forced to leave Woodbridge. At the same time she opposes the sale of a costly and non-productive property owned by the town; the sale of which would provide much needed resources for the town and eliminate or reduce needed tax increases.
Suzanne K. Polmar