Neighborhoods tackle affordable housing issue
Well, will it be additional affordable housing or housing for the elderly, some of each or maybe neither at the McKinney Terrace senior complex in Byram?
Affordable housing in Byram was proposed by the authority more than two years ago. I attended a meeting sponsored by the housing agency in 2007 with leaders of Byram, Pemberwick/Glenville and Chickahominy neighborhood associations, along with residents of those areas.
After a year of study, Executive Director Anthony Johnson, Chairman Jonathan DuBois and their committee determined that a total of 224 new units of affordable housing for senior citizens and mid-income families should be built.
Fifty-two units of affordable housing would be constructed to expand the McKinney complex and an additional 39 new family residences erected at the Byram site. The old Quarry Knolls housing complex in central Greenwich would be replaced by 133 new residences.
I remember that the proposal was greeted by heavy opposition from all three neighborhood associations. It came from Mike Bocchino of the Byram group, Vin DiMarco of the Pemberwick/Glenville delegation and Robert Tuthill, then chairman of the Chickahominy Representative Town Meeting delegation.
Several months later, just before election time, candidates for the Board of Selectmen got into the act. Peter Tesei and Peter Crumbine, the GOP tandem, jumped on board with the neighborhood associations, reasoning they were concerned with the possible loss of the "last piece of open space in Byram."
The Byram Neighborhood Association held a meeting Thursday night on the subject to rally opposition to any plans to use the four-acre McKinney Terrace plot for more housing. This column's deadline was the day before the meeting, but my guess is that opposition was heavier than in the past.
Meanwhile, the Housing Authority is re-introducing a new plan for more low-cost housing in Greenwich and specifically on the same tract of Byram land. The authority is seeking a zone change to accommodate seniors by establishing an "elderly zone." This would permit residents 62 years of age and older in a certain income bracket to occupy 105 new, one-bedroom units in McKinney Terrace. Any disabled person, regardless of age, would be eligible as well.
Farricker has jumped into the fray with a suggestion that the authority look toward "spreading the load" of affordable housing around the rest of the town instead of solely the western end. Both Bocchino and Jo Conboy, chairwoman of Save Our Shores, are back on board as well to oppose any housing on this plot of land.
My spouse and I visited the newly relocated Greenwich Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Shop at 199 Hamilton Ave. in Chickahominy this week. It's a first-class facility. It is well-lighted and each item beautifully displayed in 7,000 square feet on one floor of what used to be a service station in the mid 1920s to late 1930s and much later a tool rental facility.
Parking did not appear to be a problem. There are 16 parking places on the premises and an additional 12 on the Stone Avenue side of the building. The Thrift Shop is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. When you get the chance, stop in, browse and check out some good buys.
Nino Sechi is a Greenwich native and a former newspaper reporter and public relations executive. He welcomes your comments via his e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org.