GROTON–An apparent residential building boom in Groton has prompted the Groton Open Space Association to ask that the Office of Planning and Development Services (OPDS) prepare a monthly report on the number of dwellings that would be constructed under residential building permit applications filed during the preceding month.
The department would deliver the report to the Town Council and make it available to interested town citizens. GOSA’s proposal initially was made to the Town Council last month and later was directed to Town Manager Mark Oefinger Nov. 7, 2003. Mr. Oefinger said he would relay the request to the OPDS.
The following is a slightly edited version of GOSA’s request to the Town Council and Mr. Oefinger.
Based on what we see around us and read in the newspapers, Groton is facing a wave of residential development. Here’s a brief rundown of developments we’re aware of:
On Drozdyk Drive, a 342-unit multi-family complex is being constructed. Mystic Run on Allyn Street comprises 44 units. The housing subdivision on Cow Hill Road is slated for 45 units.
Applications have been received for developments called Mystic Weigh (sic), Great Brook, Four Winds, Woods Walk, Haley Brook, Col. Ledyard Estates and Ice House. GOSA has signed a $1 million contract to buy the Merritt Property with the help of a $650,000 state grant and preserve the land in its naural state, but GOSA is being opposed in court by a group that wants to build 48 houses there in a development called Mystic Estates. Total dwelling units in these 11 developments, both under construction and in applications, is 1,034 (see footnote). The list is unofficial and undoubtedly omits a lot of activity.
Big developers are interested in this area. They include the nationally known Toll Brothers and Pulte. In fact, Pulte was a major builder of houses in the Crosswinds development. The Cheshire-based Ravenswood Construction, active in many parts of Connecticut, wants to acquire the Merritt property.
This wave of development, which promises to get bigger, has the power to change our community. It will strongly increase demand for services, including education, water, sewer, roads, police, fire protection, and social needs. It will raise costs beyond the property tax revenues it produces. Development will consume much of our open space.
However one feels about the change that is coming our way, citizens and officials need better information on what’s happening. We need a frequently updated overview, not just the unconnected bits and pieces that appare in the small print of The Day’s legal announcements.
Therefore, GOSA proposes that the OPDS begin monthly reports on planned residential development. These should be given to the Council and interested citizens. The first report, covering December and the full 2003 year, would come out in January, 2004. Each monthly report would contain:
1. the total number of new dwelling units that would be built in the Town of Groton under applications received in the preceding month.
2. the cumulative number of units applied for in the year to date.
3. comparison figures from 2003 and 2002 to show trends. These figures could represent the actual number of applications in the comparable periods of those years. Or, if that would be too difficult to dig out of the records, then the OPDS could use the average figures for these years. The average monthly figure would be the year’s total divided by 12, with the cumulative numbers being multiples of the one-month average.
4. a one-paragraph, highlight-type discussion generally describing the most significant developments and reporting what type of development predominated during the month.
Some developments require multiple applications. Only one application per dvelopment–the first one filed–would be counted in the statistics. The numbers would cover all new dwelling units–from single apartments and houses to big condos. If applications later were denied in whole or part, cumulative and average totals would be revised, with a footnote very briefly explaining the revision.
Unofficial numbers of dwelling units, by development:
Drozdyk Drive 342
Haley Brook 184
Four Winds 147
Great Brook 104
Mystic Weigh 76
Mystic Estates 48
Cow Hill Road 45
Mystic Run 44
Woods Walk 22
Col. Ledyard Estates 15
Ice House 7