What is the proposed Melrose Avenue access road and what is its purpose?
You can read more about the Melrose Avenue access road here.
What is the Branford Housing Authority and what does it do?
The Branford Housing Authority (BHA) was formed by the Town of Branford to oversee and operate Parkside Village I at 115 South Montowese Street and Parkside Village II, which is on Block Island Road. It is not involved in the operation of any other properties. BHA is governed by a commission of Town appointed volunteers, and the day to day operations of the property are managed by Merit Properties.
How large are Parkside I and II and when were they built?
Parkside I is 50 units and Parkside II is 40 units. Parkside I is made up of 10 one-bedroom and 40 studio apartments and has 30 parking spaces. Parkside II is 40 units. Both properties are approximately 40 years old.
What regulations govern the BHA and Parkside I and II?
Parkside I and II were both built under the State of Connecticut’s State-Sponsored Housing program and are regulated and receive ongoing support through the Department of Housing and the Connecticut Housing Financing Agency. Under its regulations, the property is age-restricted to residents over the age of 65, and federal law requires that age-restricted properties are also open to those with physical and cognitive disabilities. All residents must also be low-income to qualify for an apartment and rents are restricted to be affordable.
Who presently lives in Parkside Village I?
Currently 50 residents live in Parkside Village I. Roughly half of the property is senior and half is younger and physically or cognitively disabled.
Why does Parkside Village I need to be replaced?
Parkside Village has had no major capital investment since it was built in the mid-1970s. The property suffers from years of deferred maintenance, small unit sizes, and does not meet accessibility requirements. The redevelopment would involve updated mechanical systems, improved property accessibility, and will make the property safer, more energy-efficient, and better suited to residents' needs. In addition, the proposed redevelopment would expand onsite security, management services and supportive services for residents.
How will the new building be funded?
The Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program will be the primary funding source for this redevelopment. This redevelopment will not require funding from the Town of Branford.
Will the new building be open to people of all ages?
Yes. It is not currently possible to receive competitive State funding under the LIHTC program for properties intended solely for the elderly. The property is now approximately 50% senior and 50% younger disabled, so we do not expect the number of seniors to be meaningfully reduced.
What is the vetting process for present and future tenants?
Residents are required to meet income and screening requirements in accordance with a tenant selection plan that meets Federal Fair Housing restrictions. The tenant selection plan is also approved by the State of CT. Resident screening involves extensive background and criminal checks as well as financial assessments such as credit and landlord history. To the extent permitted by state regulating agencies, the new development will currently include a local preference for those working and living in Branford
Has the BHA looked at alternate sites?
Yes. The BHA evaluated 17 sites in the town of Branford as part of a comprehensive, third-party study. In addition, the BHA issued an RFP asking land owners to submit proposals for available land. The only viable site identified was the former Branford Hills School land. However, an RTM subcommittee determined that this land should be preserved as open space for the community.
How does the new site plan respond to previous concerns and comments?
Neighbors and Branford officials expressed concern regarding the scale of the building facing South Montowese Street in the original design proposal. In response to these comments, the design team flipped the building away from South Montowese Street. This accomplishes the following:
• Moves the bulk of the building away from South Montowese Street.
• Preserves more of the woods and rock outcroppings on the northern portion of the site.
• Reduces the need for rock removal to build the foundation.
• Provides better fire department access to the building.
On whose property will the new project be built?
The new building will be built on the Branford Housing Authority’s land. We are requesting that a small boundary adjustment be made in order to meeting zoning setback requirements and improve fire access to the site. We also want to take this opportunity to transfer land occupied by a ball field from the BHA to the town.
How large will the new project be and how was that determined?
The current design houses 67 units: 33 one-bedrooms and 34 two-bedrooms. This unit count is the result of balancing several factors. We needed to increase the existing unit count to both meet the town's affordable housing needs and make the project economically sustainable, but were mindful of the site's overall capacity for additional units.
What regulations will govern the new project?
The redeveloped Parkside I will continue to be income restricted by the state for 40 years. The Branford Housing Authority will retain an ownership interest in the property in order to control the long-term future of the development.
Who is the architect and what is their experience?
Newman Architects is the architect and the principal architect is a Branford resident. Newman Architects has received more than 125 design excellence awards, including awards from the American Institute of Architects, the Boston Society of Architects, and the Interior Design Institute.
How was Beacon selected as the developer and what is their relationship to the BHA?
Beacon Communities was selected by the BHA through a competitive RFP process. Beacon Communities is the developer, meaning they manage the day-to-day of planning for the redevelopment, and will ultimately be a co-owner of the new Parkside Village I with the Branford Housing Authority.
What is the height of the building on South Montowese?
The roof peak along South Montowese will be approximately 35 feet.
How many residents will be in a 2 bedroom apartment?
The applicable building code allows two occupants per bedroom. In similar Beacon apartment communities, the average occupancy is typically one person per bedroom.
Will taxes be raised?
Taxes will not increase because of this redevelopment. The cost of the redevelopment will be paid for by a variety of public and private sources. There will be no additional costs to the town of Branford.
Does the original deed for the Parkside Land require that the property be used for senior housing?
No. We reviewed the original deed from the estate of Wallace H. Foote and it does not impose any restrictions on the use of the property.
What will the rent and income restrictions be on these units?
Parkside Village I has always been and will continue to be affordable housing. We expect that there will be three income tiers. One tier will be for households at or below 60% of Area Median Income* (“AMI”). One will be for households at or below 50% AMI, and one will be for households at or below 25% AMI. Rents will be set by the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program at levels that are affordable to eligible residents. Based on today’s published rents and depending on bedroom size, rents for the 60% AMI tier would be $1,052 to $1,263, rents for the 50% AMI tier would be $876 to $1,052 and rents in the 25% AMI tier would be $438 to $526. In addition, current residents of Parkside Village I who move into the redeveloped community will continue to receive rental assistance similar to what they receive today. Additional rental assistance may be provided to future residents to maintain the overall affordability of the property.
*AMI: Area Median Income is the household income for the median - or middle - household in the region. This amount is used to set income thresholds that households must not exceed to qualify for affordable housing.
Will Parkside Village require additional infrastructure improvements in the town?
We do not expect that the Town will need to make any infrastructure improvements as a direct result of the Parkside Village redevelopment. The Town has proposed creating a new access road for the recreation fields behind Parkside Village, but this access road will primarily service the field. You can read more about this proposed Melrose Avenue access road here. Other site changes that BHA and Beacon will be making as part of the redevelopment - such as drainage improvements and emergency access - will have a positive effect on town infrastructure.