Developer Resubmits Mobile Home Park Application

Garden Homes has reapplied to the town's Conservation Commission/Inland Wetlands Agency.

A development company that wants to build a mobile home park on 40 acres located at Hurley Road, Donovan Road and Airport Access Road in Oxford has resubmitted a plan to construct 126 mobile manufactured homes on the property.

Garden Homes Management Corp. is seeking a determination from the Oxford Conservation Commission/Inland Wetlands Agency that certain activities proposed at the property in conjunction with the development of a mobile home park pursuant to Connecticut General Statute 8-30g are not subject to inland wetlands and watercourses regulations or the jurisdiction of the Oxford Conservation Commission/Inland Wetlands Agency, according to its application on file at Town Hall.

Discussion about the Garden Homes plan, which is now officially called "Oxford Commons: A Garden Homes Management Community," has been ongoing for more than five years in Oxford. The development was denied by the wetlands agency and Planning & Zoning Commission in 2007. Garden Homes, a Stamford-based company, opposed the denial in court, and a superior court judge agreed with the wetlands denial but overturned the Planning & Zoning denial, saying essentially there is a need for affordable housing in Oxford.

The Garden Homes plan will be on the Oxford Conservation Commission/Inland Wetlands Agency agenda for the July 23 meeting, said Inland Wetlands Enforcement Officer Andrew Ferrillo. He said he’s not sure what type of discussion there will be at this point. 

On Tuesday, the Board of Selectmen voted 3-0 to hire a land use attorney, Peter Olsen out of Bethel, for $190 an hour to work with the land use department. Olsen will assist the Planning & Zoning Commission in drafting affordable housing regulations and thoroughly reviewing 8-30g applications, such as the Garden Homes plan.

First Selectman George Temple, who recommended hiring Olsen to help the land use department, said Wednesday, “We’re not trying to defeat anything, we’re just trying to make sure all plans conform with our regulations and state statutes.”

Ann Gamauf July 12, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Thank you, Lori, for the information you posted. Now, we just have to see what Oxford has planned as far as homeowner association rules and occupancy limits.
Janis Hardy July 12, 2012 at 05:56 PM
When I left P&Z, Oxford had no regulations for affordable housing. Basically, there was just a brief section stating that Oxford would comply with the requirements of Section 8-30(g). There are several forms of affordable housing, including 'incentive housing', 'section 8-30(g)' and others. (Please know that section 8-30(g) is not the same as section 8 low income housing. It's just the regulations for the various kinds of housing are icluded in the same statute.) From this article I see that the Town has hired a land-use attorney to assist P&Z with the drafting of appropriate affordable housing regulations that would allow the town more control over such developments and where and how thay are built. When these regs are finished, they will be the subject of many public hearings, so residents will have the opportunity for input. This project has already been the subject of a lawsuit against the town and Oxford must comply with the court orders contained in the judgement. Thus, I suspect, we will get these MMH's whether we like it or not. Joe was right in his comment that while we cannot stop them from coming here, in the future we will be able to control their development.
Janis Hardy July 12, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Ann, if you are interested in the specifics of this proposal, I believe you can go to the P&Z office and ask to read the application. It is likely to be a rather think booklet but it contains the answers to how income eligibility is determined, the proposals for the homeowners association set up and much, much more.
Ann Gamauf July 12, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Thank you for the info, Janis. I will check that out.
Lorraine Wheeler July 12, 2012 at 08:40 PM
I live in a mobile home park in Prospect and have almost a 1/2 acre of land! Where I am is a neighborhood style park. We have very strict rules about our maintenance and upkeep of our over large lots and homes (if WE don't do it the park management will do it and we will be billed) this park is the most beautiful park of all I've seen as Mobile homes are concerned... most of the people here are older that downsized due to the upkeep of older bigger houses~ We don't have dueling banjos or any other loud noise! Drive by us and see for yourself! I looks just like any other neighborhood with nice kept yard and the people take great pride in our homes, maybe we can't afford bigger homes or maybe we just don't want to waste our money on high taxed etc... Tired of hearing about "Trailers" we live in MOBILE HOMES! Fed up in Prospect Lorraine
Dad in Oxford July 12, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Where is KOG (Keep Oxford Green) on this issue now? Wait, they gave up on that line of BS once George was elected (their plan all along), just take a look at their website which has been inactive for almost a year! Also, Tanya Carver is on Planning and Zoning, so I would expect her to spout her KOG nonsense again.
carol July 12, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Dad in Oxford: I have every confidence that those terror signs posted against affordable housing/incentive housing zone will be put up all over town again by Keep Oxford Green. I'll be looking for them beginning tomorrow. There is no way they cannot put those terror signs around town lest they be known as politically-biased. Well, perhaps they may be politically-biased since they are the largest supporters of our current first selectman. Let's wait and see.
carol July 12, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Dad in Oxford: By the way, as a PS, some of those terror signs were around town all year, every year, for four years under the Drayton-Rogers & McKane administration. Have no fear. I am certain KOG was telling the truth when they promoted their "SAY NO...because...we don't want 'those' people in Oxford..." One must not insinuate they had been terrorizing the public for no valid reason, correct? "Especially" at this time. Have some faith!
Ed Rowland July 12, 2012 at 10:11 PM
I served on P&Z for 21/2 years.I am also a member of the Oxford Historical Society.Several times during my term the Historical Society went to P&Z.I completely removed myself from the table and from any discussion.I was told it would be a serious conflict of interest.It is my hope that any member of KOG that is on land use boards would remove themselves from any discussion or voting on anything that has to do with Incentive Housing or affordable housing.That would be a very serious conflict of interest as well as a strong ethics violation.
carol July 12, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Ed Rowland: If Tanya Carver or this town had any sense, she/they would remove Tanya from P&Z. Her presence on this board indeed is a conflict of interest and never should have been, in the first place. PAC + an elected official = conflict of interest, period.
Ed Rowland July 12, 2012 at 10:21 PM
I don't have a problem with her being on P&Z.I do have a problem if any member of KOG that serves on land use boards does not recuse themselves from discussions and votes that are relative to affordable housing and incentive housing.I am not calling for her removal or asking for her to step down.
Dad in Oxford July 12, 2012 at 10:24 PM
Actually, if I remember correctly, the First Selectman was their attorney. I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree on these type of issues!
Dad in Oxford July 12, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Of course, she can't be removed because of election law, there is no way she would ever step down, so unless she voluntarily recuses herself from votes around this issue, Oxford could see a lawsuit from a builder for specifically that reason (KOG as a PAC).
Ed Rowland July 12, 2012 at 10:33 PM
I think Tanya is a decent enough person to recuse herself from these issues as are other KOG members and supporters that serve on land use boards.I'm hopeful anyway.We don't need ethic violations going on.Just my thoughts.
Citizen X July 13, 2012 at 07:18 AM
I didn't realize that Oxford was so affluent that residents would turn their noses up at affordable housing. Are we saying that lower income families don't already exist in town? Are we saying that the town can't afford to maintain existing schools or build complete, new schools but that at the same time the schools are over crowded? Would the 120 new families contribute with tax revenue or would they be living in town for free?
John M. Joy July 13, 2012 at 09:20 AM
If they are families with children in the town's schools, it is highly doubtful they will be contributing in taxes anything close to what they're consuming in services.
Craig Zac July 13, 2012 at 11:27 AM
Who are all there families going to be? if they are already in town, where are they now? Seems to me that if you live in oxford, you already have a place. Sure, you may be able to go from renting to buying, thats not the issue... and since everyone seems to be tap dancing around it... it might as well be me who says it out right..(Not that this is what Im thinking mind you) It seems to me that alot of folks are thinking this will eventually be another ghetto. Especially if the houses are sold to people looking to rent them out. What I dont like about things like this is, crowding in more people into town... taking all the open spaces and building something there, either some goofy stores or factories or housing. How long untill these kids whos aging parents own 30 - 40 Acres of land, have it left to them in a will, then turn around and sell it to some dirt bag developer who turs it ino a bunch of Mcmansions? cookie cutter houses with a gate at the entrance and a fancy name? Yea yeah, I know, more people, More taxes ...good for the town... we'll save money, get things repaired, blahh blahh blahh... things that either wont happen or wont happen for years to come. I dont know, maybe lot of you like to look out your window and see your neighbors, 20 feet away, looking at you.. i dont. I like having some land between me and the neighbors... I already did the over crowded neighborhood thing, its why i moved here... SPACE!
Kenn Maher July 13, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Since BofA is trying to take our house we will be the first in line at Garden Homes!! Some of these comments make me embarrased to be part of the human race.
SteveW July 13, 2012 at 09:09 PM
I agree. There is a huge difference between affordable, owner occupied homes and Section 8 apartment buildings. What people fail to realize (or fail to care about) is that the price of admission in this town is astronomical these days. There are people who have been in town 50+ years who can't stay in the house they own because the influx of money has driven property values (and taxes) to insane levels. There's also people like me, young professionals who've grown up in town who simply can't afford to go on their own and stay in their home town. It's disgusting to me that people who've moved here recently think they have some sort of right to dictate who they should have to share "their" town with. I have two bachelor's degrees and paid for (or am paying for) 100% of my education myself. I go to work every day, pay my taxes and support local businesses. Apparently since I can't afford to buy and pay taxes on a $250k house, I'm not the kind of person you want in your town. Despicable.
Dad in Oxford July 13, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Steve, you have Tanya Carver (Planning and Zoning Commissioner) and her Political Action Committee, KOG, to thank for this fiasco. They painted Affordable Housing as a bad thing where only low income families live, and they spread a lot of misinformation during the previous elections. They are to blame!
Janis Hardy July 14, 2012 at 12:39 AM
Thank you, Steve, for pointing out that people looking to live in housing like this are not low-life ghetto dwellers! Your points were well made. Now, I read the article about this in the Waterbury Republican, and something that this article did not point out is that of the 126 homes they are proposing, ONLY 30% of them (36) will be designated as affordable, which means that proposed buyers must be making 80% of the mean income for Oxford. They cannot possibly be low income! The remaining 90 units will be sold at fair market price to people like you and me. So, who's going to discriminate against those buyers? If I put my house on the market, I will sell it to the first person who meets my price and has the money/financing. Which is OK, right? But that very same person could just as easily look at a smaller home in this development and purchase there instead. That suddenly makes them a lowlife ghetto dweller? And Craig, there are a lot of folks over 50 who would like to downsize and remain in Oxford, but who can't afford the golf course or the other over-55's. They've been in town for years and suddenly there's something wrong with them? And what about our next generation, like Steve, who also would like to remain in the town he grew up in?
Common Sense July 14, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Why are people so scared of lower income houses in a town with such a large geographic area? Seems ignorant when people forget there is a community of those with mental problems on Old Good Hill. Have they bothered you - of course not. What about the registered predators that are on nearly every corner of this town: http://www.city-data.com/so/so-Oxford-Connecticut.html People have to get 'out of the bubble' and realize that as a community there are people of all different incomes, backgrounds, and ages. People pray and go to church asking for forgiveness of their own sin yet once they leave the parking lot - forget about 'community'. Some older people didn't want the high school - but, in reality its for everyone (as we lack a community center). Younger people see the senior center as an investment in community. We need to grow a town in terms of 'improvement'. True- there should be priorities such as a library, a shopping center, a community center over sport fieldsn some may say - however, the sport fields will be an investment to bring future recognition to the town and POSITIVE publicity. I'd like to see more business/industry in town and this has been severely lacking - there's been little progress in the last decade compared to surrounding towns.
Ed Rowland July 14, 2012 at 01:13 AM
1200 to 1500 sg.ft homes on 1/4 to 1/3 acre lots with access to water and sewer sold at moderate prices would solve most of the problem.Older folks could down size and still have a yard and younger folks could stay in town.I know Janic may not agree with this comment but I think it is worth looking into.It could be Oxfords cure for the housing problem.Just my thoughts.
SteveW July 14, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Yes, something like this would also be nice. Nearby towns have loads of ~1000 ft^2 capes on ~1/4ac lots that are reasonably priced and perfect for older folks downsizing and young people starting out. This is not the case here. I haven't checked out all the details of the proposal, but I think something like Oxford Greens in the sense that there's a an HOA that ensures the community stays nice is a good idea. At that point, the difference is really that the homes themselves would be smaller and (possibly) built off site. Even luxury condos would be nice for people who don't want (or need) a 2500ft^2 house but do want a nice home in Oxford.
Janis Hardy July 14, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Hi Ed! It's not that I agree or disagree with your suggestion.... It becomes, then, how can you discriminate against other property owners or developers who own land here, if you don't set up something completely different from single-family stand alone homes? If you allow developer "A" to build 'affordable' small homes on 1/4 ac lots on his 40 acre site, how do you tell developer "B" that he has to build single-family homes on 2+ acre lots on his 40 acre site? I am probably not stating this very clearly, but I see this as discriminating against every developer that we require to build single-family homes on 2+ acre parcels. By having the kind of attached dwellings that we were proposing with incentive housing, we created a completely different kind of common interest ownership development that preserved our zoning regulations for single family homes at 2 or more acres.
Ed Rowland July 15, 2012 at 10:33 PM
Hi Janice,I am sure details could be worked out.I feel it is a worth while concept to at least consider as compared to condo type living.Even attached 2 or 3 unit housing wouldn't work for me personally.Just my thoughts.Enjoy the evening.
Citizen X July 15, 2012 at 11:28 PM
I'm not sure how you're calculating that. The school will neither have to expand nor will they need to add new teachers. Are there direct costs that I'm missing that will be add'l costs if these families move in?
John M. Joy July 16, 2012 at 01:44 AM
Can you produce a spreadsheet otherwise? If so, please do so. Last I checked, cost per educated in our illustrious government schools was five figures, while average taxes paid per household was significantly below that. And that was before we considered the fact that the residences in question would likely be paying significantly less.
Craig Zac September 10, 2012 at 02:47 PM
If they dont like the town, they dont need to move here... its not that we dont want them anyhow, its that we have built up the town enough already, we like our open spaces believe it or not. Not everyone feels the need to take every field, every open acre or every plot of land and build a house on it. I dont get the whole, "need" to cram a bunch of people into a town the size and as rural as oxford... if you're lonley for neighbors, go move to a city. Scummy developers looking to make a buck, let them go build in someone elses town! We moved here because we were tired of looking out the widow and seeing our neighbors cooking dinner, or opening the windows in the summer and turning up the tv because the neighbors had theirs too loud, or having the houses so close you could almost reach into your nieghbors from inside your own. Its BS. Cant anyone see, we dont want more Mcmansions or trailers or apt complexes or condo units... let us have our little town, albeit, sometimes strange ways, go build elsewhere.
Craig Zac September 10, 2012 at 03:02 PM
I dont know how anyone cant afford to live in Oxford.. i did it, im not rich, in fact, I may be around the poverty level in some folks eyes. Oh wait... yeah now I remember, we bought a POS house that was falling down and fixed it up... broke our humps day and night, weekends, vacations almost three years now and running and still working. oh yeah but for alot of folks, everything needs to be new or huge or like everyone elses... Cant let your friends see your house with bad sideing, peeling paint, broken fence, dirt driveway, What will they think? sorry folks, hate to ruin the fantasy, But Im going to, In life you get what you can with the $$$ you have and make due. Stay in your lane. living like a person who makes $250,000.00 per year on a $50,000.00 per year salery wont ever happen, unless you learn to swing a hammer and hold a paint brush and shop for deals and discounts.


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