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Affordable? I Sincerely Doubt It

We are (and I’m just reporting here, not bragging) kicking butt. Spring, as you know, has a way of exploding onto the scene-literally an avalanche of bursting buds, new flowering trees and radishes. Let’s not forget the radishes! Its hard to keep up with how exciting this time of year is. And to add to, we’ve now got way over a hundred tomato plants in the ground in Sven (named after grandchild number 3). For the next several weeks, we’ll slowly be filling it up with both cherry tomato plants and Juliets (the famous ones). And in between the rows, we’ll do lettuce, turnips and radishes. Kind of making the soil do double time work. But as long as we are respectful to the soil (and we are), I’ve never seen it refuse to come thru for us. Soil, is like an engine- needs fuel in order to operate. We are constantly loosening soil, adding compost, alfalfa and organic fertilizer. Come to think of it, soil is just like a border collie, loves to and needs to work and gets despondent if it can’t do its job. And that’s what’s so beautiful about organic farming. Its sustainable beyond ones wildest imagination, just feed the soil and the soil will feed us. Its a beautiful relationship- so lets not messed it up.

Both Middlefield and Durham have begun looking at the issue of affordable housing. Its a state mandate. But the mandate is only to “look at the issue”. It doesn’t say that both towns will come up with action on this. Let’s be candid here, affordable housing to some people means that figuring out a way for more people of lesser means to be able to live in each town. And to be even more candid, it sounds to a lot of people that this is an effort to have those people of lesser means to be POC. Along with this line of thinking is a common theme that allowing certain people in the town would alter the “character of the town”. The zoning in both towns is 2 acres. Obviously, 2 acre zoning puts the purchase price out of many people,including POC. This can be tricky because maybe the 2 acres zoning is about the proper square footage for septic fields and drilled wells. That, I can’t comment on with any authority. And, if this was the case, then there are ways to design existing homes to include an affordable rental apartment, or duplexes. It can be done but only if there’s a will for it. At the informational meeting for Durham a few weeks back, I actually heard someone on the zoom say that they didn’t understand why people of lesser means had to look in Durham, when there are so many other options out there. Going to go out on a limb here and speculate that there are many of our fellow citizens who are feeling threatened by the prospect of people who are not white moving into our town and “changing the character”. There’s that phrase again. I, for one would welcome a change from an all white (or nearly so) town. This subject is not going to just go away and when we’re faced with figuring out how to provide real affordable housing here, we need to assume that there are ways to make this work, we just need to work hard to arrive there. I recommend reading the report that the consulting agency wrote about affordable housing which debunked all the common myths that people hold. Property values do not go down, duplexes can look and function great. Apartments in existing buildings are also great ways to make our towns more affordable. Our towns would be richer and more rewarding for everyone. Our children (who are mostly white) would also benefit from diversity. I’m guessing that it wouldn’t be impossible that these notions that have I’ve written about might offend some people, while others will hopefully agree. My intention is only to help move the conversation along, so that when there’s an opportunity to diversify our town, we might be able to do so. I hope so.

Thank you to all of you who joined our raffle last week to benefit Unidad Latina en Acción New Haven. This amazing organization is dedicated to helping the undocumented Latino population with both day to day situations and legal problems. We are, thru this raffle support those among us who need that extra help. You are all wonderful.

Please stay safe. The pandemic is still alive and dangerous for many of us. Consider, if you haven’t already, to get the shot. Dr. Faucci recommends it.



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