BLOOMFIELD — Town officials last month applauded a proposed apartment complex with over 400 units near the center of town.
The proposal, put forth by a West Hartford developer and approved unanimously by the town planning and zoning commission, would include 232 units in four-and five-story apartment buildings to be built in the first phase on the east side of Bloomfield Avenue near town hall, north side of Jerome Way and west side of Jerome Way.
The proposal, which includes 129 units in the second phase to be built on the east side of Jerome Avenue near Jerome Way and 46 units in the final phase on Bloomfield Avenue across the street from town hall, was met with approval by many who attended the planning and zoning meeting.
But not everyone is happy with the proposal, especially about a dozen residents whose houses are near the planned development.
They say that the sheer size of the project- especially vertically - will destroy the character of the tree-lined, family-centered neighborhood dominated by one and two story homes.
"This is the Queen Mary going into Filley Pond, basically," said Joe DiBattista. "I want to see some other ideas."
They also say that the town did not make enough of an effort to let residents know about the proposal to transform their neighborhood into something they believe resembles Blue Back Square or a set in Disney World.
Musket Trail resident Althea Vanderpoel said that since the project was approved, she has spoken with many of her neighbors who expressed shock about what was going on.
"No newsletters have been sent to explain details of the proposal," Vanderpoel said. "The whole town has been kept in the dark except for those in the inner circle."
Town planner Thom Hooper said the proposal fits in perfectly with the town's plan of conservation and development, which calls for apartment style housing to increase density downtown, which in turn would increase much-needed economic development in and around the Wintonbury Mall.
Hooper said the town also provided ample notice of all meetings related to the development and sent letters to residents whose property abutted the proposed development.
Deputy Mayor Joan Gamble echoed Hooper's remarks saying that the development is "our best opportunity to revitalize Bloomfield center and encourage new and different retailers to find it an attractive location."
"Also the development will give Bloomfield 33 times the property tax revenue it currently receives," she said. "Without major growth it will become problematic to hold the line on taxes."
Those opposed to the proposed plan to explore their options to stop it or at least reduce its scope. They realize that it may be too late for that, but they said they plan to become more aware of the process and be ready to act in the future.
"I don't think we can stop it, but maybe we can wake people up about what's going on in town."