Letter: Lack of affordable housing in Robin Rug sends clear message

Posted 4/21/22

To the editor:We would like to express our disappointment in the vote taken by the planning board this week resulting in additional units added to the Robin Rug development. At their last meeting, …

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Letter: Lack of affordable housing in Robin Rug sends clear message

Posted

To the editor:

We would like to express our disappointment in the vote taken by the planning board this week resulting in additional units added to the Robin Rug development. At their last meeting, the planning board recommended unanimously to support 105 units and to discuss an affordable component for 17 units in the building and three in separate housing on Thames Street.

It came as a surprise to us, after such a strong statement from the previous meeting, that the board decided to support the developer and not the neighborhood. Now, with a 3 to 2 vote, they approved all “asks” by the developer and no affordable housing units in the building.

For those who have misconceptions about affordable housing, it is based on the Area Median Income (AMI) percentage for Bristol. It is a program for those who have wages or retirement income that are not enough to pay the high rents in our area. In our municipality, 100 percent of our AMI for one person is $54,150, and $61,900 for a two-person family. Think about this — look at starting salaries for teachers, police and fire, and municipal workers who may still qualify for affordable housing. Think about the dedicated people who serve us in so many areas in our community and the many who work in our local businesses, banks, and restaurants, to those we turn to for so many services we appreciate.

Apartment rentals in Bristol have soared, and many people are working 2-3 jobs just to pay rent. We have the opportunity to give 17 families peace of mind that they can get a break in their rent. They work hard, long hours and need affordable housing. The lack of inclusion for our hard-working people sends a message that you cannot live with us, even though you have a good income. Think about long-time Bristol residents who may not have incomes to pay the rents we are seeing everywhere.

So, with the exception of Mr. Clark and Mr. Katz, the three remaining members sent a loud and clear message: Not our problem. Instead, they take a cash payment to the town and they will work on finding you a place elsewhere. Apparently, the developer’s income is more important to them than to our hardworking citizens.

So, to our friends who might benefit by being near a bus line, town hall, the library, and a lovely location, the message is clear: It will not be in this development.

Jane and Jim Lavender
Thames Street

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