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.