As dirt was piled on top of frozen ground, destined to be “broken” for a project that had been declared done before any consultation with the public, and as distraction-upon-distraction was thrown at residents on an evening utterly overloaded with City meetings, a group of young(ish) professionals were told they do not belong here.
Without an inspection being conducted, residents of 68 Scarborough Street received a cease-and-desist order last year because their definition of family does not mesh with that of those living around them. Continue reading 'Hartford’s Plan to Make City Attractive for Young People'»
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.
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.
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'»
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'»
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?
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.
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'»
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'»