Merrigan doesn’t like the public. Who knew?

I recently discovered the following letter that Gary Merrigan submitted last year in support of SB 1024. I think SB 1024 had good and bad, but let’s see what insight Gary has.

Dear Planning & Development Committee,

There is no question the time has come to update the current zoning laws in the state of Connecticut. I have been a builder for the past 40 years primarily of single-family and multifamily homes.When I started in this business we could deliver what they called starter homes , homes that people could grow into however zoning laws have become tougher and make building more expensive for infrastructure and larger minimum square footage for the homes and lot sizes. Making it virtually impossible to build entry level homes for Connecticut residents. We need higher density per acre, less requirements for infrastructure for small developments, and the ability to get these approved without inevitably having a neighbor take an appeal of the decision ( Just because they don’t want new homes in their backyard) , and hold up a development for at least a year maybe more which drives the cost up significantly which brings us back to a non affordable scenario.The 830 G laws which provide for affordable housing cannot satisfy this demand in every town .Builders need to be able to deliver market rate affordable housing. Thank you for allowing this written testimony in favor of SB 1024.

Thank you so much for considering it.Gary Merrigan] Windsor Locks ,Connecticut

Let’s look at a few things.

  • This may look like an SMS to a drinking buddy. But this is his professional life, so it’d be nice to see him take a little pride.
  • There is zero nuance here. He just wants it all. He wants “higher density” (everywhere I guess) and “less (sic) requirements for infrastructure.” Infrastructure? Infrastructure has a capacity. If he exceeds it, taxpayers pay instead. This is what might happen to the sewer system down on Sutton Drive due to his project at 64 South Elm Street.
  • He doesn’t want to have to face the public with his proposals. But he really hasn’t faced NIMBYs in Windsor Locks. He generally gets very little push back on his projects, and they sail through Planning & Zoning. It’s not the townspeople’s fault that he and the Commission don’t follow the state and local laws, and thus become vulnerable to appeals. I understand that the developments he proposes are generally a much smaller scale than what we often see in other towns. But even a small development should be required to demonstrate that the infrastructure is sufficient, for example. And, while I don’t agree with towns blocking all development, the Windsor Locks Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) is far from that, so asking an applicant to adhere to the spirit of that document is extremely reasonable.

SB 1024 included some reasonable changes, but the simplistic letter above adds nothing to the conversation.