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To the Editor:
Our family has lived near West Hartford Center for over 50 years. We love living here and have both enjoyed and grown the community, with our adult children and five grandchildren now residents of West Hartford.
As long term residents we are in favor of thoughtful development of the Center – a vibrant Center is an engine of growth for the community and a magnet for visitors to our merchants and restaurants. We also welcome new residents – we support the town’s efforts to broaden housing options – and we don’t want to pull up the drawbridge at the edge of town to keep others out. The town has been thoughtful about creating more housing opportunities for new residents while addressing concerns of existing residents who want to maintain their neighborhoods and their quality of life, for which we are appreciative.
With that understanding, we are firmly opposed to the proposed development on Arapahoe Road which is even larger than the developer proposed several years ago (and which was soundly rejected by the community and the Town Council at the time). The scale and the scope of the project are hugely out of line with the character of the Center – the project calls for buildings 5 or 6 more stories, built mere feet from our residential streets and looming over our community. Additionally, the Center already suffers the burden of a huge amount of Center traffic (which has increased significantly in recent years); several hundred additional car trips per day from a new development on residential streets will further diminish the quality of life in the Center as well as the many children who live and play in the area. All is compounded by the concurrent high rise proposed development in the (Raymond Road, Farmington Avenue and Trout Brook areas).
We favor thoughtful development, including housing options in our neighborhood to welcome new residents. But we don’t believe the town should prioritize prospective new residents over thousands of existing residents in the Center. And we absolutely don’t want a development that is three times taller(!) than most of the buildings in the Center. There is no other neighborhood in West Hartford where that scale of development is permitted near existing homes – and we firmly object to it in our neighborhood.
We urge the Council to reject the rezoning petition and force the developer to engage in a productive dialogue over appropriate scale and scope development with the town and community which we would support.
John and Sheila O’Connell