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To the Editor, We-Ha – concerning the Arapahoe Group development proposals:
I want to express my serious concerns about the proposed Arapahoe Development for West Hartford Center. As I understand it, the proposal is to build a 6-story condominium as well as a 5-story mixed use building. Most buildings in the Center are 2 stories high. This project will be massively out of scale.
The Arapahoe project has already been rejected twice by the WH Design Review Committee (DRAC) citing that the mass and scale were not compatible with the site or adjoining buildings. But somehow, the developer has gotten the Town Zoning and Planning Committee (TPZ) to override the Design Committee’s concerns and recommendations. Now it will be voted on by the Town Council on Dec. 13.
The developers have tried to pass this development off as needed to meet the town housing shortage. There are currently two other developments going up on Park Road and Trout Brook Drive. These locations are more suited to higher profile buildings and added traffic. The Arapahoe Group development project is a high-end condo project and should not be passed off as necessary to meeting the housing needs of middle and moderate income families. There is only negligible affordable housing included.
Has there been consideration of the increased traffic when traffic and parking are already a problem in the Center? Has the TPZ considered the impact on the surrounding neighborhoods where families and small children reside? Arapahoe Road, a quiet residential street, will now be the driveway to this major development. This neighborhood has borne the brunt of the Center’s development and congestion in recent years. The Town has recognized this and initiated one-way traffic calming efforts in streets surrounding the Center. However, this has resulted in increased cars, many traveling over the speed limit on the quiet streets bordering the Center.
I have lived in West Hartford for over 30 years. I’ve loved its character as a town that cares about its residents. I’ve respected the careful way the town has grown over the years and appreciated the thoughtfulness our Mayors and Town Councilors have shown in moving the town forward. Thoughtful development is important to maintain the economic health of our community.
I live in a residential area on the north side of town. I can’t imagine how plunking such a development at the end of my street would impact life in my neighborhood … it would be a little like plunking a fast-food drive through on a street where children walk and play.
I urge the Town Council to delay approving this development until:
- the current Town Survey Report is completed.
- the Design Review Committee’s concerns about reducing the size and scale of the project have been addressed.
- the neighbors’ concerns about the proposed size of the development and impact of increased traffic on their streets are addressed.
Editor’s Note: The West Hartford Town Council has a public hearing scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022 for the Arapahoe Group LLC’s proposed zone change and Special Development District for Arapahoe and LaSalle roads. Details about the proposal can be found here.