Wasteful spending of taxpayer money is never a good thing, no matter what the excuse. It is particularly offensive when people are suffering from economic hardship. I believe the "shuffle" represents first and foremost wasteful spending and I fully support the Stop the Shuffle effort.
As we approach Tuesday I have one final important observation which concerns the "third" stage of the shuffle: the use of the Edgerton property for senior affordable housing. I am a strong supporter of affordable housing for Darien. I also believe affordable housing should be balanced with other needs of the town.
Darien owns two pieces of property that could be used for affordable housing: Edgerton, an eight-acre property adjacent to our Middle School (MMS); and 35 Leroy, a two-acre property adjacent to condominiums and houses, and walking distance to downtown Darien.
IF the town is truly committed to developing affordable housing, why would the choice be to give away property next to our school??? Currently, all the school buses for MMS run through the Edgerton property every morning and afternoon; the lower playing field adjacent to Edgerton property is used every afternoon until dusk and on the weekends; the site is also used for overflow parking for the many MMS nighttime and weekend events that occur at the school.
In the future, the town may find itself in a situation where we need to expand our schools. To me, leasing away this property would be debilitating to surrounding neighborhoods faced with overflow street parking today, and extremely short-sighted and severely limiting in the town's ability to address potential school needs in the future.
Clearly, 35 Leroy is a far better choice for affordable housing. (And in fact there exists a fully developed plan for the affordable housing at 35 Leroy, which was unfortunately singularly dismissed by the First Selectman in 2009 with no public discussion or debate).
I will vote No on Tuesday. Vote No to stop wasteful spending of taxpayer money; vote NO to stop unnecessary and expensive expansion of government services; vote NO to stop the loss of strategically important town property adjacent to our middle school; vote NO to STOP the shuffle.
Editor's note: Here are some Web links on this topic:
SHUFFLE REFERENDUM INFORMATION:
Websites for each camp:
From the town website:
- Taxpayer Impact of BOE/Mather Community Center Renovation
- P&Z Commission Mandatory Referral, 2 Renshaw Rd.
- P&Z Commission Mandatory Referral, 35 Leroy Ave.
- Mather Community Center Cost Analysis
- BOE/Mather Community Center Presentation, 9.19.11
- Annual Debt Service & Outstanding Principal
- Bond Total
- Public Works Garage Remodel
- BOE Occupancy Comparison
- Town Facility Optimization