Category Archives: Letters

Letter Endorsing Mill River Project

April 28, 2018

Gwen Macdonald, Director of Habitat Resources
Save the Sound
900 Chapel Street, Suite 2302
New Haven, CT 06510

Dear Ms. Macdonald,

Pleased by advised that the Board of the Whitneyville Civic Association supports the proposed Mill River Watershed Stormwater Mitigation, Habit Enhancement, and Public Education Project sponsored by the Town of Hamden.

As a community located downstream of the proposed project, we appreciate the positive impact that it will have on water quality within the Mill River watershed.  And as residents of the Town of Hamden, we welcome the educational and passive recreational benefits that will accrue as well.

Furthermore, we believe that the project is in keeping with the goals and objectives that have been expressed in the initial phase of the Mill River Watershed Plan currently under development by Save the Sound.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have with regard to our support of this project.

Sincerely,

David Bechtel
President

Cc: Connie Matheson, Debra Maldonado, Deirdre Dolan, Janet Kazienko, Liz Hellwig, Michael Ross, and Mark Foran
Nicole Davis, Save the Sound
Dan Kops, Town of Hamden

Letter to Town Council Supporting Hamden’s Branch Libraries

Hamden Legislative Council President Michael McGarry

Dear Councilman McGarry,

We are writing in support of the Hamden Public Library branches.  Our local Whitneyville branch is a “local gem” that offers valuable resources and services while bringing neighbors of all ages and backgrounds together.

WCA Support.  As you may know, the Whitneyville Civic Association (WCA) has been very supportive of Hamden’s libraries, with special emphasis on our Whitneyville branch.  In the past year, we:

  • Created a refurbishment plan for the Whitneyville branch and worked with the Library Board and the town to implement the first phase of the plan (including planting new trees and painting the exterior).
  • Held our first fundraiser to support the Whitneyville branch, which raised more than $2,000 from 100+ donors.
  • Held an evening of poetry reading by local resident Bruce Coffin in November.
  • Held a Saturday morning family activity with local award-winning children’s book author and illustrator Deborah Freedman for Take Your Child to the Library Day in February.
  • Are planning a second annual fundraiser on April 27 at 6:00 pm at The Playwright.  We hope you can attend!

A Local Gem.  A neighborhood library is more than just the books inside a building. It is a cultural and community center that invites and inspires people to learn and become active members of the neighborhood. The Whitneyville Branch Library is an invaluable asset to our neighborhood. It provides much more than merely books. Access to DVDs, newspapers, and the Internet is available‐‐for free. It functions as a public space for community members to meet formally and informally‐‐for free. A library is also a quiet space in which to read, think, and discover new ideas, or just meet new people. The Whitneyville Library’s design invites you to enter it. Its generous glazing allows you to see the sky and trees and the changing seasons, adding to the experience a library can provide.

The Whitneyville Branch Library benefits our neighborhood in many ways, by:

  • Providing accessible resources for residents of all ages, incomes, and ethnic backgrounds, which is of particular importance to those who might otherwise have a hard time paying for, traveling to, or even finding equivalent resources elsewhere. The branch is within an easy walking distance from residences, elderly housing, and nearby bus stops.  Walk into our branch any day and you’ll see a vibrant place filled with children, parents, seniors and adults from all walks of life.
  • Bringing people to the neighborhood, which benefits local businesses as well.
  • Increasing home values and attracting home buyers. For a semi-urban community that wants to attract and retain young families, libraries are an important community resource.

When we posted the New Haven Register article on proposed budget cuts to the branches, the response on Next Door showed how much our neighborhood values the branch:

  • This library is a gem for many folks in this area. In walking distance to many elderly and families.  I’ve been a number of times.”
  • “What a disappointment if the mayor closes Whitneyville library. A neighborhood library walking distance, a wonderful staff, and much loved library.”
  • “Closing Whitneyville library would be such a big loss. This lovely library is a wonderful resource to the community.  Not only is it a great library for books and DVDs etc., it is a gathering place for young families and creates community.”
  • “This would be a disastrous decision if indeed it’s proposed.”
  • “We need to save this library. It is an absolute treasure in southern Hamden.”
  • “Whitneyville is the most friendly of all the libraries in town.”
  • “To close the Whitneyville library would be a loss to the many that utilize it for the computers, not everyone has wi-fi or smart phones, or even online internet.”

Supporting Community Development.  The branch libraries help support the town’s development efforts targeted at Southern Hamden. For example, the town just applied to have federal Opportunity Zone funding go to the same Census tracts that surround the Brundage branch (http://www.hamden.com/qcontent/NewsFeed.aspx?FeedID=1515), and is starting a Neighborhood Revitalization Zone (NRZ) to revitalize the State Street corridor.

Branches Where the People Are.  While it is true that the branch libraries are relatively close to each other, this makes sense given the population density in these neighborhoods.  All you need do is look at the political district map of the town to see how compact the southern Hamden districts are (where each district has close to the same percentage rate of the population).  The less densely populated northern Hamden is served by virtue of its proximity to the much more extensive services – compared to the branches – of the Main Library.

While we realize Hamden faces difficult budget choices, we believe that the branch libraries are a critical investment in our neighborhoods that contribute to a thriving Hamden with a strong local tax base.

Sincerely,

Dave Bechtel, President

Connie Matheson, Vice-President

Deb Maldonado, Treasurer

Deirdre Dolan, Secretary

Janet Kazienko, Past President

Liz Hellwig, Business Liaison

Michael Ross, Library Committee Chair

Mark Foran, Traffic Committee Chair

 

Canal Crossing Letter

Dan Kops, Hamden Department of Planning and Zoning

 

Dear Mr. Kops,

Mixed-income communities build stronger communities and living in these communities has contributed to educational and economic successes and expanded opportunities for all. Acknowledging this, the State of Connecticut passed legislation that dictates that 10 percent of housing in the state meets the affordable standards as established by the state.

The developers of Canal Crossing are building luxury apartments on Mather Street.  In order to get approval for this project, they took advantage of the affordable housing law outlined in 8-30g, which allows a developer to build multi-family housing in a location not zoned for multi-family housing.  In order to get approval under 8-30g a developer must provide affordable housing in 20 percent of their units at that location.

Now, with the project starting to lease apartments, they are asking the Planning and Zoning Commission to allow them to eliminate any and all affordable housing they were supposed to provide on Mather Street and put that number of units at their Mix Avenue property instead.

We see value in the affordable units at the Canal Crossing location and cannot support the reassignment to another location that perpetuates economic segregation.

Sincerely,

Whitneyville Civic Association Board

Dave Bechtel, President

Connie Matheson, Vice President

Deb Maldonado, Treasurer

Deirdre Dolan, Secretary

Congratulations Chief Wydra Letter

Thomas J. Wydra                                                                       July 15, 2017

Chief of Police

Hamden, CT.

Dear Chief Wydra,

On behalf of the Whitneyville Civic Association, we offer our sincere congratulations on your appointment to the Connecticut Police Officer Standards and Training Council. It’s good to know that even while serving on this council, you will remain as our chief of police.

The tasks of the POST Council are of great importance and reflect the skill and professionalism you have brought to nearly 25 years of police work. We know you will bring your wisdom and experience to overseeing police training and setting department and officer standards.

Hamden is fortunate to have a local police department that, under your leadership, practices 21st-century policing including up-to-date technology, conflict de-escalation, and mediation training for our officers.

We appreciate your support of the citizens of Whitneyville, including speaking at our Civic Association meetings in recent years. This kind of hands-on community work improves relationships between police and citizens.

We look forward to many more years with our police department under your leadership.

Sincerely,

Dave Bechtel, WCA President

Deirdre Dolan, WCA Secretary

Email Exchange re: Downed tree at Putnam and Whitney

Mayor Leng sent the following email to the WCA on June 15th: I’m going to look into this.

 

The WCA replied:

Dear Mayor Leng,

Your prompt response and willingness to look into this issue is noteworthy and appreciated. And please let us know if there is anything we can do to help.

Sincerely,

Janet Kaszienko, President

Deirdre Dolan, Secretary

Letter: Tree Down due to Car Accident

Dear Mr. Cesare,

We are very concerned about a tree that was uprooted and knocked over as a result of a car accident at the corner of Putnam and Whitney near the bell in the downtown business district of Whitneyville.

We think the tree may be salvageable. It has been roughly wedged back into place by the WCA sandwich board, but without the board, it will fall over again. The Whitneyville Garden Committee discussed possibly doing this work ourselves, but we don’t have the equipment needed or the manpower.

Can the Public Works Department prioritize this issue?

We appreciate your prompt attention to this matter, and look forward to hearing back from you as soon as possible.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Janet Kaszienko
President, Whitneyville Civic Association

Deirdre Dolan
Secretary

Follow-Up Letter RE: Whitneyville Parking Lot

Town of Hamden

Mayor Curt Leng
Hamden Government Center

Dear Mayor Leng,

Thank you for agreeing to formulate new language for the signage at the Whitneyville Parking Lot at the corner of Whitney and Ralston avenues in response to the Whitneyville Civic Association’s (WCA) concerns.

As you may recall, the WCA proposed the following:

  •  Establish a few commuter parking spaces for those who park and use the adjacent bus stops
  •  Remove the existing 2 hour limit signs
  •  Designate all of the lot (except for the designated commuter spots) as 2 hour parking from 8:00AM to 6:00PM

In your May 12 letter, you stated your support of “something similar,” and wrote of a plan you would work on with the Authority and Chief Wydra. We respectfully request an update on that language, as well information on how you and your administration plan to increase use of the alternative lot at 60 Putnam.

One thought is, perhaps use of the Putnam lot would increase if adequate signage on Whitney Avenue and Putnam advertised its location and availability. Potential downtown customers are likely to be frustrated if they are looking for municipal parking but cannot find it.

As always, the WCA appreciates all of your hard work on behalf of the citizens and town of Hamden, and is grateful for your support of our advocacy to maintain and improve the neighborhood of Whitneyville.

 

Sincerely,

Janet Kazienko, President

Deirdre Dolan, Secretary

Whitneyville Civic Association

Cc:Chief Wydra, Dale Kroop

Whitneyville Parking Lot

Curt Leng, Mayor
Chief Wydra, Traffic Commission

The Whitneyville Civic Association (WCA) proposes the following clarifying rules and practices to govern the user of the “Whitneyville Municipal Parking Lot” at the corner of Whitney and Ralston Avenues:
  •  Establish a few commuter parking spaces for those who park and use the adjacent bus stops
  •  Remove the existing 2 hour limit signs
  •  Designate all of the lot (except for the designated commuter spots) as 2 hour parking from 8:00AM to 6:00PM
(We understand that any existing overnight parking regulations or restrictions currently in place should continue.)
Approved by a majority of the executive board of the WCA. We look forward to hearing from you by May, 24th.
Jan Kazienko, President
Whitneyville Civic Association

Trees on Whitney

Craig Cesare, Public Works
Tom Parlapiano, Tree Commission
Craig and Tom,
The Whitneyville Civic Association executive board is writing to request Hamden Public Works remove the 3 dead/dying cherry trees , including stumps and  roots on Whitney Ave , directly in front of the Playwright and Framed. They are becoming a hazard and an eyesore. The remaining cherry trees at that location are in very poor health .
The WCA requests the Tree Commission involve the WCA and the adjacent business owners in the new vegetation/tree plan and installation.
We are very interested in working together to improve Whitneyville center.
Best regards,
Liz Helwig
WCA Business Liaison
Janet Kazienko
Whitneyville Civic Association, President

Tree Removal in Di Nicola Park

Curt Leng, Mayor

Dear Mayor Leng:

Once again, it seems that citizen sentiment and advocacy has been trounced by the Town’s Public Works Department, tree division. The department’s recent tree trimming and clean-up in De Nicola Park has resulted in the loss of at least four mature shade trees, immediately adjacent to the playground they so well served on hot summer days.

According to Kath Schomaker the outcome of her initial inquiries was that: (M)ajor tree limbs came down in a recent storm and those limbs were cleared. Some additional trimming under the direction of the tree warden. No mention of arborist involvement.

The WCA is saddened by the careless removal of these mature trees. Even more, we are disheartened by the lack of honest ‘government to community’ dialogue in the process. At its worst, the lack of dialogue serves to usurp the place of the tax-paying community in making unilateral decisions that serves other than our own interests.

We have faith that you understand the critical relationship between Town and Community. Unfortunately, the recent tree cutting drives a wedge (no pun intended) between them that may well extend beyond trees.

We urge you to suspend the cutting of town trees, except in public safety emergencies, until a clear and approved process is implemented and staff can assume their responsibilities in the interest of the community.

Many thanks,
Whitneyville Civic Association

Jan Kazienko, President
Scott Matheson, Secretary