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05/24/2023 08:09 AM

An Affordable Housing Crisis

I do not live in the vicinity of the proposed affordable housing development. I am a concerned citizen who can see Chester is facing an affordable housing crisis on many fronts. First, we know Chester is lacking affordable housing, and this needs to be addressed in a reasonable manner that will not disrupt the Chester we love. Second, the future of Chester is being determined by the Essex members of the St. Teresa of Calcutta Parish church council, not by Chester residents. The Essex members decided to sell the St. Joseph Church Center property to an affordable housing developer because it would be a quick and easy sale. Towns with less than 10% affordable housing units (Chester has 2.18%) are essentially powerless against developers who, by state law, can bypass some zoning regulations.

The proposed development is 14 buildings of 40 units (30% affordable) on less than three acres, surrounded by residential neighborhoods. The developers would like us to think they want to be good neighbors, but during meetings I have attended, it is clear they care about their bottom line than they do Chester.

I am pro-affordable housing as long as it fits our community. Chester does not need a high-density development that changes the character of our town. Chester should be allowed to decide how affordable housing is developed in town and where. Essex should not be dictating our future. Remember, love thy neighbor as thy self.

John Maloney