Community Split on Housing Proposal

A North Haven real estate developer defended his plan to bring new multi-family housing to town in front of a crowd of almost 200 people on Monday night.

Mario Diogola, head of DonMar Development Corp., fired back at critics at a public hearing on Monday and said the potential development would be a boon for young families and empty nesters.

He specifically addressed some letters to the editor in local newspapers that likened the plan to the creation of a "ghetto."

“These homes will be for our children, our grandchildren, young professionals…empty nesters trying to get out of their existing large homes…not ghetto types,” Diogola said. “North Haven already has many areas with high density homes.”

The presentation at the Planning and Zoning Commission was not for a specific plan, but to have regulations changed to eventually allow a development in a "housing opportunity zone." If passed, developments on 10-20 acres of land would be allowed in certain parts of town with a density of 4.5 units per acre for detached homes and six per acre for attached homes.

A contingent of supporters was on hand at the meeting, but the majority of were against the project. They cited tax concerns, lower property values and safety issues as some of the reasons they were against the plan.

“The potential harm is greater than the need for housing,” Mary White, a North Haven resident said. She cited a number of issues with the proposed change, such as increased traffic. She also said it qualifies as illegal spot zoning.

Attorney Bernard Pellegrino, who applied for the zoning change, denied that charge.

Several North Haven residents shared stories about how they couldn’t afford a home when they were young, but worked hard until they could afford one of their one. Marcel Piekarski said that’s the route her son took.

“This is America and everybody’s free to work hard to get what you want,” she said.

A hearing for a second amendment regarding the creation of an “affordable housing opportunity zone” will be next month.

Correction: Mario Diogola's name was spelled incorrectly in the initial report.

North Havener May 09, 2012 at 02:19 AM
Attorney Bernard Pellegrino submitted the proposed regulations change on behalf of his client? Attorney Bernard Pellegrino also serves on a Town Board / Commission (Water Pollution Control Authority) so is there a conflict of interest, by him serving his client who's a developer by having ties himself to Town Government? John Parese is in the same boat and has been for years. This has happened before, too with other Boards and Commissions - most recently concerning the Blight Ordinance made up of some people serving on other Boards and Commissions like the Planning Zoning Commission - Theresa Ranciato-Viele is another example. There's more who serve the Town in more than one position. Aparently, Mike Freda doesn't think there's a conflict of interest, but others like myself do? Mike Freda seems to like having people serve him in more ways than one.
Resident NH May 09, 2012 at 02:50 AM
North Havener May 09, 2012 at 03:14 AM
A Spot Zoning change proposal occured in the vicinity of the Town Green in the Spring of 2011. It involved the Service Station and the Giant House next to it, across from the Town Green. This was in my neighborhood, so I understand what concerns people. They basically wanted to do the same thing there, to apply spot zoning, tweaking the neighborhood to suit their needs. Do some research and you will find that these Zoning changes stem from Mike Freda who wants them. Attorney Bernard Pelligrino is not only speaking for his client Developer Mario Diogola. He was speaking on Mike Freda's behalf, whom I consider his client as well.
thomas May 09, 2012 at 02:03 PM
the mexicans own wallingford, outsiders need to be screened like a credit card app if this happens
Chris Peterson May 09, 2012 at 02:31 PM
So Scott, what do you mean by trash? who exactly are you referring to?
North Haven Homeowner May 09, 2012 at 04:17 PM
I live in an area where they want this proposed zoning change done so they can build the so-called affordable housing. This area in no way resembles other affordable housing locations and neither myself or my neighbors want it to. Build on State Street if you can find a spot. It is so over done. The proposed building would increase traffic, lower property values, harm the peaceful environment, possibly cause run-off issues and potentially increase crime. No way do I want this!! North Haven already has lost so much of its open space. This proposal would make matters worse. I don't care if you love or hate Freda. The right decision is for the town. Say NO!!
North Havener May 09, 2012 at 04:17 PM
That's a dumb question Chris Peterson, because you know what he meant. He probably writes on your blog under some other anonymous name. I bet you had him blast me here and you know eachother well. He may try to twist things around saying he meant something else, than what was said. The HATE I described comes from acts of discrimination. It stems from Freda supporters and was not directed at those speaking on this issue Monday night. Was it a coincidence Scott's comment followed mine where he referred to HATE, like in my comment before his? I know a Scott, but he has a different last name. I know he hate's me, too. That Scott comment was directed at me and it was meant to sound like it did, too, so what Scott are you referring to Chris? You can't go by a last name that was likely made up to throw people. Sometimes you can't go by a first name either as that can be made up, too, so who is Scott? Is he speaking for someone else?
Brian Testa May 09, 2012 at 04:20 PM
And to resident NH, who are you referring to? This is not the type of talk needed as this is an issue about housing, be it "affordable" under the state law and housing for the "work force", so that people who want to come and live here in North Haven and raise their families and having a balance of what is here and what will be here for future generations. Let's not stoop the level of calling groups names or labeling people with stereotypical names as it is not called for and does not help either side of the issue.
Chris Peterson May 09, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Morris, I was talking to Scott, who is a real person by the way, not you. Grown ups are talking. Go away
North Havener May 09, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Didn't I say I would vote against it in a comment above? That's a NO VOTE, so count me in. With the voting split, it makes us wonder who those people are in favor of this Zoning change proposal. Many likely are Freda supporters - Town employees and others having links to Town Government's family. Many of Freda supporters filled the room Monday night arriving early to fill the seats, so others would be turned away. This Zoning change proposal is another tactic Freda uses to drive people out of their homes so others can move into the town's neighborhoods. Are you a discrimination victim voting NO or a Freda supporter voting YES? If you dislike this proposal, how can you like Mike Freda, when he's in charge of the show?
Brian Testa May 09, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Morris (North Havener), Please, you have no idea what you are talking about, once again! I was there, were you? Did you take time out of you busy day to attend this meeting? Did you attend and make your statements, the statements you have posted here on this site, as part of public record? Why don't you use your real name or attend the meeting and put a face to the name? Many residents did, some for this project and some who are against it. At least they took the time to attend and speak.The people who YOU say are against this zoning change are just Mr. Freda supporters? This idea of Mr. Freda swaying this zoning change to help him politically is insane and insulting to all! As far I know, Mr. Freda has not made a public statement on this issue. So once again you your posted statements it makes you look very foolish.This has nothing to do about discrimination. Nor should it! This is about the simple fact that this area has a zoning regulation and the developer needs the change so that he can build on it and be profitable for him while constructing a quality product. And it's the P&Z Board, who are duely elected by the people, to determine if this plan fits into the neighborhood, if it balances with the "need" of this type of housing along with the ramifications it will have on the town as a whole. To all who read Mr. Pederson’s hateful comments, please be very careful to follow his lead as he is exactly what is not needed for this issue or here in North Haven.
North Havener May 09, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Freda packed the Park & Recreation Center reaching max. capacity Monday night. It proves my point, that he wants to over-populate our neighborhoods turning people against eachother, like he did at the Rec. Center. It's obvious how people react when they feel squeezed and uncomfortable as they did Monday night at that location. People become angry and this is how Freda turns people against eachother, causing trouble in our neighborhoods and all across town. His people will run this town more than they do now, if we don't stop them.
Brian Testa May 09, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Morris, what proof do you have that Mr. Freda 1) contacted and packed the Rec. Center with his suppotors? 2) Chrm. Vern Carlson and the board made the descion to move the meeting to the gym, Not Mr. Freda!
Brian Testa May 09, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Morris, Please, you have no idea what you are talking about! I was there, were you? The people who you say are against this zoning change are Mr. Freda supporters! So this idea of Mr. Freda swaying this zoning change to help him politically is insane and insulting to all! And it makes you look very foolish. And this has nothing to do about discrimination. Nor should it! This is about the simple fact that this area has a zoning regulation and the developer needs the change so that he can build on it and be profitable for him while constructing a quality product.
annette Murphy May 09, 2012 at 05:31 PM
North Haven has many houses for sale and very few building lots left. If developer continue to build condos for couples or empty nesters or 55 and older, these condo or apartments if low income or affordable will not increase the value to any North Haven home owners. It will end up costing us more money in the long run. More children in the school system, more trash pick up, crime increases, etc. There is no plus for the towns people. Don't beleive the developers. They will say anything to get their way. They want to change North Haven to be like Hamden/East Haven/New Haven. They are only looking out for themselves. North Haven use to be mostly farm land. Where are our farm??? Oh they have houses on them. We need more farms not condos. I am an empty nester and I would not sell my house to go live in a condo on 1+ acre of land and live with 25-100 people. I love living on my property with my husband just the 2 of us. It is much cheaper than the condos they are purposing even though they maybe affordable. North Haven does not need anymore condos/ Apartments. I agree put them in areas like state street or bus lines near the center of town. Not in residential areas where there is strictly homes. The town housing market doesn't need to grow, businesses in town need to grow. Think about buildiing more office space for companies. There is more of a demand for that than houses. There are plenty of houses for sale in North Haven to choose from. No More Condos
North Havener May 09, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Who's the Town's CEO, Brian Testa? Every Town decision goes through Mike Freda. Why else do you think Freda is on nearly every Board and Commission? Try telling the Town's people he had nothing to do with it, being held at the Rec. Center and we'll see how many believe you at this point in time. For the record I don't like Vern Carlson either. Why don't you ask him why I don't like him? Ask the Planning and Zoning, the Zoning Board of Appeals why I don't like anyone of them? We go way back. Need I get into those issues again? I think the town's people are well informed as to what's going on in Town and Freda can't hide things from us anymore.
Brian Testa May 09, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Morris, please do, please tell us why you do not like: A) Vern Carlson - Chm P& Z., Town Busnienss Owner, Life Long resident B) P&Z Board C) Zoning Board of Appeals And if you knew anything about town government and can read, maybe you should read the Town Charter. So please do, Morris, tell us all you stories about the above!! Please do!
North Havener May 09, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Racism and discrimination are very much the same thing, Brian Testa, but how would you know? You're one of those getting favors from Freda, so doesn't that make you blind to the facts and truth? Discrimination translates into HATE and that creates trouble in our communities, so doesn't that make Freda supporters the TROUBLEMAKERS? Nobody likes to see our neighborhoods suffer, so people are concerned what problems are attached to any project as this one. It hits a nerve when property values suffer, also effecting our quality of life living in our homes, regardless of a quality built structure that ruins the neighborhood just the same, bringing in many problems with it. Our freedoms are taken away as well as our rights to live comfortably with privacy without unnneccessary headaches others force us to deal with later when they are settled in. If it appears I hate certain people, it's only because they discriminated against my rights to be treated equally and fair. I try to see the goodness in everyone, but if they make a bad impression on me, then it's their own fault for me HATING them. People are smarter than you think Brian Testa, eventhough many keep their opinions to themselves, as they are not like me willing to write about things happening in Town. It's no wonder people like you hate me when I share my experiences and opinions, based on facts and truth, so does that make you a racist, too? When you serve Mike Freda, why do you think people see you as a good person?
North Havener May 09, 2012 at 08:28 PM
That's a heavilly detailed topic Brian Testa that I discussed on my facebook, but your people shut that down, so you're out of luck. I don't want to discuss that here as it's not the place. I'm not going to dwell over that anymore, but it does support my need to continue fighting for justice to be served. North Haveners know problems exist on these Boards and Commissions where DISCRIMINATION exists. The same kind of activity is going on with this project as it has for many years with others. They look for ways to get around things deemed illegal and that's why I'm so concerned about this project, too. Some deny it's Spot Zoning when it is and that's illegal. People try to cover things up. In my opinion the State needs to launch an internal investigation into past and present activities stemming from the Planning and Zoning Commission & The Zoning Board of Appeals. I leave things up to the authorities I contacted - it's their job to dig deeper, NOT MINE. Rather than repost old facebook posts here, I forwarded them onto the State Authorities instead. That was done, when my facebook page got shut down. Is it coincidental it got shut down right after Freda won the 2011 Election back in early November? Now that he won, he needed to shut me up. I'm still here! Get use to it.
North Havener May 09, 2012 at 09:49 PM
This housing proposal comes in under light industrial use, so why not build affordable housing in R-40 Zoned districts and not in areas zoned residential? If they can put R-40 into R-20 Zones what stops them from building in Industrial Zoned areas of Town? If, Northern Washington Avenue is good enough for College students living there, what is wrong with affordable housing set back further from Rte 5? Instead the Town infringes on our rights to live comfortably in our homes without headaches like these being forced into our residential neighborhoods. The one acre lots are people's bufferzones that get taken away with this proposal. It leans towards spot zoning dumped on people living in residential neighborhoods as this one. It's just wrong for Town Leadership to even consider it acceptable, when it's NOT.
North Havener May 09, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Just look at the Public Works facility on Elm Street where it gets heavy industrial use on residentially zoned land. Why can't land zoned heavy industrial, serve light industrial uses, when residential properties serve heavy industrial uses? Is the Town afraid tenants will complain about the noise, but if they locate in our neighborhoods, the Town does not seem to care about our concerns about noise and other things? Money goes into many pockets when the developer gets their way, so who's serving the "Special Interests"? Maybe that's why some people serve the Town even on a voluntary basis to line their own pockets? The more positions they hold, the more money flows into their pockets? There's plenty of industrial land available, so people wonder if this is a tactic used to force us out of our homes? Affordable housing may help clear up some eyesore issues in Town if Town Leadership used their heads focussing on proper locations out of residential neighborhoods. Northern Washington Avenue and State Street are possibilities and may help address eyesore issues knowing the State mandates us to provide a percentage of land to address affordable housing requirements, anyway. The Town must abide by those laws, but it doesn't mean they can ignore the rest.
Morris Pederson May 09, 2012 at 11:00 PM
I dont know who North Havener is, but he sounds insane and dangerous
Brian Testa May 09, 2012 at 11:10 PM
This just shows you Morris that you don’t know what you are talking about. And you statement of "what is wrong with affordable housing set back further from Rte 5?". This sure sounds like you are discriminating against people are may need some type of affordable housing as they are not good enough to live in the residential areas of town like you where you live - the same claims you claim that Mr. Freda and the town have done to you!
Brian Testa May 09, 2012 at 11:16 PM
"Money goes into many pockets when the developer gets their way, so who's serving the "Special Interests"? Maybe that's why some people serve the Town even on a voluntary basis to line their own pockets? The more positions they hold, the more money flows into their pockets? " Would you like to name any names? And back it up with proof? You want an audience, well know you have one! The Patch is accommodating you! So please do tell since you claim to be a concerned citizen, which means you owed it us who these corrupt people or business are. Don't you feel you owed it to all the taxpayers of North Haven!?
Brian Testa May 09, 2012 at 11:19 PM
Now here you are accusing Vern Carlson, a town board member, life long resident, with an unethical claims of profiting from a town project. Are you saying that Mr. Carlson is doing something illegal? What proof do you have to these claims? Please provide for all to see.
Brian Testa May 09, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Nice try Morris as we all know you are NORTH HAVENER and Anthony Karge, Editor of the Patch also knows this too!!
Brian Testa May 10, 2012 at 01:38 AM
Now that's funny Morris. Your comment regarding the your accusations of illegal transactions by the North Haven’s P&Z Chairman Vern Carlson has been deleted. I wonder why the editor has decided to remove just this one post from you, while your other posts are just as liable. I'm glad I kept a copy of your post, just in case someone would like to see it.
casual observer May 10, 2012 at 07:38 AM
Hmmmm, ever lived in New Haven???
Brian Testa May 14, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Once again Morris, you have no idea what you are talking about as the meeting was LAST Monday for one, and two, Mike Freda was not there! No one was turned away as there were empty seats in the bleachers and on the gym floors! My proof - I was there and stayed till about midnight. Where were you? NO YOU WERE NOT! If it was last night (which was Sunday) I have no idea who was there in the Rec Center on a Sunday! And if you were not inside the Rec Center, how do you know how many were there? Once again, ladies and gentleman, Mr. Morris Pederson shows his true colors and lack of information while throwing accusations against our first selectman who was not in attendance.
tom wilkinson May 22, 2012 at 11:09 PM
As a young person, newly married and trying to get out of my high rent apartment, I would love the opportunity to buy and return to North Haven, the town I grew up in. I just don't want these homes to go to people who are going to pack them with 12 people and have some type of state aid paying for it. $250 to $300k still isn't really considered cheap so hopefully people who would match well with North Havens existing demographic will have an opportunity to move in.


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