Thumbs down: Build housing, not cash balances


Village Oaks, with 387 apartments and townhouses near Windsor’s Town Green, will be Windsor’s biggest residential development in a quarter-century. When it was approved in 2011, the Town Council required the developer to set aside 77 of those units for moderate-income renters. It sounded like a win-win for Windsor, a town that was short on both multifamily housing and affordable rentals.

The need, as everyone but Rip Van Winkle knows, has only grown more acute. But in the seven years since Vintage Oaks was approved, the property has changed hands, and the new developer, Bob Bisno, doesn’t want to build the affordable units. Last year, he offered to pay the city $750,000 to go toward affordable housing somewhere else. The council turned him down. Bisno has sweetened the offer to $1.75 million, and the town staff is recommending approval. However, payments in lieu of actual units are a contributing factor to the shortage of affordable housing, and $1.75 million won’t produce anything close to 77 units. The council should, once again, turn thumbs down.