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A new beginning for housing in Salisbury

Salisbury has taken the positive step of approving at town meeting the Holley Block option for the Salisbury Housing Committee to lease property on Millerton Road in Lakeville owned by the town, and then begin the process of analyzing it as a site for 12 to 18 affordable housing units. It is just the beginning of any possible plans, with the next step being gathering the funds to pay for feasibility studies and proposed designs for the units and the parking to accommodate those who would live there.

So it was not surprising that a good crowd of Salisbury residents approved this first step toward building some of the 60 affordable housing rentals and 15 individually owned homes their town hopes to add to its available housing within the next 10 years. After all, if residents lacked the courage to even begin such a process, how could they expect to reach such a goal? 

This is not a goal that is unrealistic or cavalier. It is one that would bring the town closer to the 10 percent affordable housing desired by the state of Connecticut, and would provide to people who otherwise could not live in the town the opportunity to do so. 

It is possible that some readers may start to find this topic tiresome. But if so, they should ask around and find out from people who are key to the strength of the Salisbury community because of their jobs, or their ability to volunteer, where they live. For those who believe people who work at the local food stores, or restaurants, or town halls, or schools, or medical offices, or the local newspaper need to live near where they work, they should think of life from another’s point of view. So, consider the perspective of young parents who have to work but want to spend as much time as possible with their children, or older workers who find a long drive at the end of the day in the dark or bad weather quite a slog.

The challenge now will be to continue to bring high enough numbers of people out to the interim planning and informational meetings so there aren’t a lot of residents who express shock and surprise at the direction solid plans have taken toward the end of the process. It does seem to happen at the conclusion of every initiative that there is a small but vocal group who had no idea that anything was planned and who disagree with whatever form the project has taken. It will not be you, who are reading this, who are blindsided. You keep informed and likely are active in your community.

But some of your friends and neighbors might be out of touch. Now is the time to speak with them about what is in the works, and to encourage them to attend meetings, and to read about the step-by-step process and to watch any taped meetings they aren’t able to attend. The more civil communication there is about initiatives like this one, the more likelihood there is of a positive and successful outcome. That will only be good for the entire community.