Category: housing

First Transit-Oriented Development Along Busway Completed

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By , December 6, 2014 9:00 am

Don’t get too attached. The new residents are moving in today. Continue reading 'First Transit-Oriented Development Along Busway Completed'»

No Position from Neighborhood Group on 68 Scarborough

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By , December 4, 2014 9:00 am

Not wholly unexpected, the West End Civic Association officially backed out of any involvement in the attempt by some to evict a family from its 68 Scarborough Street home. The organization’s official message:

The WECA Board feels unable to take a position, given the legal complexities and ambiguities in the zoning regulations, around the issues on 68 Scarborough Street.

WECA has the ability to recommend policy to city officials, boards, and commissions, but is not the entity that directly determines policy. In its message, it said the group has neither the expertise nor the authority to handle this matter.

What happens next? Put the City of Hartford’s Planning and Zoning Commission meetings on your calendar. With or without neighborhood group recommendations, they are the ones with the expertise and authority to, as they say, address the legal complexities and ambiguities in zoning regulations.

 

December 2014 Events

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By , November 27, 2014 8:52 am

December 1

  • Getting a snack at the Kitchen Cafe at the Hartford Public Library? Show your library card during December and get a 10% discount.
  • Small Business Taxes: Local, State, and Federal. Is it something you want to do? Probably not. Is it something you need if you are running your own business? 6-8 p.m. Free workshop. University of Hartford’s Entrepreneurial Center, 1265 Asylum Avenue.
  • Want to learn to solder? MakeHartford is hosting another intro class. They say: “Participants will learn to solder electronic components to a printed circuit board while assembling and testing a small electronic project kit. The finished project is useful for the further study of electronics and is the participant’s to keep. Instruction will include workbench safety. All tools and materials will be provided. Eye protection is required. Safety glasses are available for an additional $4.00.” There are no prerequisites. “Materials provided:  Commercially available kit containing printed circuit board and all necessary components. Solder. Liquid rosin flux. MH will also provide tools for each student (soldering iron and stand with sponge, needle nose pliers, diagonal cutters). Magnifying lens, “wall wart” power supply, and voltmeter for testing, these latter to be shared.” This $35 class is for teens and adults, 6:30-9 p.m. Confirm attendance and pay at door. MakeHartford is located at 30 Arbor Street, #B7.
  • Asylum Hill Congregation Church is holding a Service of Healing and Remembrance, in acknowledgement that it is especially difficult for those in mourning to experience the Christian holiday season. 7-8 p.m. AHCC is at 814 Asylum Avenue.
  • Venom Vintage is re-opening on 11 Whitney Street — party! Festivities begin at 7 p.m. in this art gallery/vintage boutique/community art space.
  • The Hartford Jazz Orchestra gives a free performance starting at 8 p.m. in the Arch Street Tavern.

December 2

  • The Connecticut Fair Housing Center is putting together a Renter’s Guide for Greater Hartford.  They say this is ” to help low-income and very-low-income households and individuals address fair housing and mobility issues. The guide will focus on low-income and very-low-income individuals but should also have broad enough appeal to apply to anyone who is looking to move. We believe that addressing community issues requires the help and input of community members, particularly those who are affected and could benefit from such information. For that reason we are hosting a meeting (dinner provided) at Hartford Public Library from 5:30pm-7:30pm where we are inviting community members to come and give us their input and feedback on the project.” An r.s.v.p. is requested but not required. They want to ensure there will be enough food for everyone in attendance. Contact caleman@ctfairhousing.org or call (860) 263-0728. Let him know if child care will be required.
  • Board of Education Workshop Meeting begins at the Milner School (104 Vine) at 5:30 p.m. All are welcome to come listen, but there is no public comment during workshop sessions.
  • CTfastrak (New Britain-to-Hartford busway) is holding a series of open houses so that potential riders can plan their trips and buy tickets. There will be some sort of hands-on demonstration. This first one is from 6-8 p.m. at the Hartford Public Library, 500 Main Street.
  • Real Art Ways hosts its monthly Real Board Games: They provide the games (but you can also bring your own), you just show up. 6 p.m. until closing. Free.
  • Happy, Healthy Holiday Shinding: monthly healthy food meetup at ArtSpace, 555 Asylum. Bring a dish that can serve seven others. List all ingredients on a notecard (important so that people with allergies and sensitivities know what to eat or avoid). Bring own plate, utensils, and so forth. Free parking behind ArtSpace for those participating in this event. 6:30-8 p.m. Meet in the gallery space.
  • The Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies, College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Board, Hartford Hillel and Muslim Student Organization are sponsoring tonight’s Muslim-Christian-Jewish Songfest and Poetry Evening. This event is free and open to the public. It will take place in Auerbach Auditorium of Hillyer Hall (H125) at the University of Hartford, 6:30-9.
  • This event is just over the line into West Hartford –> 92Y Talks – “Global Muckraking: 100 years of journalism from around the world”: Watch this live broadcast at Congregation Beth Israel. They say: “Columbia professor and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics Joseph E. Stiglitz talks to Anya Schiffrin, editor of Global Muckraking: 100 Years of Investigative Journalism From Around the World, about a wide range of global issues from economics to journalism to politics. Selected by today’s leading journalists, the book collects gems of muckraking journalism from Britain to Burma.  Crusading journalists have played a central role in American politics. Muckraking journalism is part and parcel of American democracy. But how many people know about the role that muckraking has played around the world?  This groundbreaking new book presents the most important examples of world-changing journalism, spanning one hundred years of history and every continent.” All are welcome. Admission is $5 each. Pre-register to be guaranteed a seat: bethisrael@cbict.org or (860) 236-0580. This begins at 8:15 p.m. CBI is located at 701 Farmington Avenue, West Hartford.
  • Giving Tuesday: donate. Continue reading 'December 2014 Events'»

Family Faces Eviction from West End Home, Despite Paying Mortgage on Time

By , November 20, 2014 12:00 pm

Interracial marriage was not permitted in many states during the early 1960′s. In fact, anti-miscegenation laws existed in the majority of the United States through the middle of the last century, allowing for racism to dictate the nature of marital and intimate relationships. The Supreme Court struck down those laws in 1967.

A few years later, the push for same-sex marriage began. Again, hateful legislation defined marriage in a way that includes some, while excluding others. It took a few decades for this movement to take hold, and there has been much backlash along the way, as one can witness through the enactment of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 and the incessant verbal diarrhea from pundits. In 2010, one state began to fight against the federal government’s restrictive definition of marriage. Many others followed. Same-sex couples can not be legally married in the entirety of the United States yet, but there is no doubt that opinion has shifted toward that happening eventually.

Sometimes the law is wrong. When it is wrong, we are obligated to recognize that and change it. These are, after all, civil laws, not God’s laws.

Hartford

The West End is currently looking at what appears to be an outmoded law:

The purpose of the R-8 district in the city is to provide for and protect single-family residences sited on a lot having a minimum area of twelve thousand (12,000) square feet. The R-8 district provisions encourage the future development of these very low density residential areas for primarily residential purposes by prohibiting conversions, roomers, most institutional uses and all business uses.

On the surface, this might look sensible. Who wants factories or prisons in her backyard? Zoning can be useful in that way.

All of Scarborough Street is zoned for R-8 use (see above). The language is seemingly vague. What does “primarily residential purposes” mean? On this street, in the same zone, a property is owned by the University of Connecticut. In an article the Courant ran on this, there was no mention of neighborhood opposition to what is used as a place for donor events. The Wadsworth Atheneum owns a property on the street. So does Jumoke Academy. Two properties are owned by trustees, another is a land trust. There are two churches operating on Scarborough Street. This leaves 21 other properties, one of which has been on the market for several years.

The issue at hand is 68 Scarborough Street. Continue reading 'Family Faces Eviction from West End Home, Despite Paying Mortgage on Time'»

Beautiful Blight Project Unveils Murals

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By , October 21, 2014 10:48 am

Painting by Olof Aspelin, an artist from Stafford Springs // Photo by Kerri Provost

When the Beautiful Blight Project was conceived its goal had been to install painted plywood over missing windows in a neglected building while tidying up the yard. Team leaders had been working with the City of Hartford to make this happen, but the first choice of a structure on Garden Street was said to have entered the sale process, so that was nixed. Continue reading 'Beautiful Blight Project Unveils Murals'»

Reader Questions About Downtown North Development

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By , October 13, 2014 5:30 pm

As the controversial Downtown North proposal goes to vote on Tuesday, there are still dozens of questions remaining unanswered, not to mention an outstanding FOIA request placed initially to Thomas Deller and Wayne Benjamin, and now to Maribel La Luz. Two camps seem to have emerged on this issue, and it’s not pro-stadium/anti-stadium. It’s those who find it reasonable to ask questions and expect thorough, detailed answers, and those who find critical thinking cringe-worthy.

We have been compiling reader questions since June. Here is what people still want to know about this project. Some reader questions were edited to add clarity:

  • What details exist on the retail space and potential tenants?
  • The City would be contributing land for the the construction of a brewery. Is it acceptable to use public funds to facilitate the production, distribution, and consumption of alcohol?
  • What would the rent be for the housing? Would this fulfill the demand for the type of housing that exists in Hartford?
  • How exactly would a stadium drive development? Give details. How has this occurred in cities that are comparable to Hartford in terms of population and wealth?
  • Why isn’t there a proposal without a stadium?

Salvation Army Shelter Saved…This Season

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By , September 9, 2014 10:40 am

In August it came to light that the budget for the Salvation Army’s Marshall House had been cut. Conversations on restoring that funding appeared to be going nowhere in City Hall, but once the issue was given local media attention, there was a rush to find ways to move money around. What kind of city would Hartford be if it cut the funding for one of the few shelters that serves women and families, and acts as a no-freeze shelter on especially cold days?

The promise to restore funding was made official at Monday’s City Council meeting when the transfer of $100,000 from the Sundry Account to the Department of Health & Human Services was passed.

Random Facts from Open Data: Itch Zones

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By , September 1, 2014 5:01 pm

Bedbugs happen. Just like your son might come home from school once with lice or you might find a mouse in your kitchen or your cat drags fleas into the house, pests are for most, a rare nuisance. From 2011 to present, bedbugs have been reported throughout Hartford, from streets like Kenyon, Fairfield, and Cornwall, to Marshall, Wethersfield, and Farmington. They have been reported in single-family homes, high rises, and churches. But what does it mean when some properties have multiple incidents in one year, or year after year?

Although the information is public, we are not interested in embarrassing property owners who had one unlucky occurrence. Instead, we are going to look at some patterns. These reports are divided into those with two or three violations in one year (these are considered housing code violations) and those with four or more in one year.

In some cases, the repeat offenders involved just one unit of a larger building, but in other cases the problem affected public hallways in buildings with multiple dwelling units. When a property owner with multiple properties had multiple violations, or when there might be public interest in a location that had been affected, we named those owners.

What we found Continue reading 'Random Facts from Open Data: Itch Zones'»

Silence on Saving the Salvation Shelter

By , August 28, 2014 7:28 am

Keeping homeless shelters open is not a new struggle in Hartford, but this time, the some $100,000 that was expected for the Salvation Army Marshall House vanished between the recommended budget and the adopted budget. A mere five-minute walk from what will be the CTfastrak Sigourney Street Station, the Marshall House has provided shelter for single women and families since 1974.

The adopted budget for the “Senior and Community Services Program” is $2.13M, down from the $2.2M in the recommended budget. This is where budgeting for the Marshall House, which serves as a no-freeze shelter for families, can be found in the City document. The 2013-2014 budget was $2.36M and reasons for the decrease in funding have been vague; the spending difference is explained only for the Health and Human Services budget as a whole. Continue reading 'Silence on Saving the Salvation Shelter'»

Progress on Prospect

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By , July 10, 2014 11:19 am

The Front Street Lofts development is starting to take shape. This will provide five stories of apartments, totaling 121 units, and street-level retail space.

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