The Myth here is that Goshen Housing Trust is trying to help people get started.
Helping people to get started in life has NEVER been a goal of the GHT. Rather, GHT is trying to address a significant problem with the type and cost of housing that we have in our Town. There is a lack of variety in housing options available to those who wish to live here. As a result, for some demographic groups that are important to us – the young, the workforce, and seniors - there is simply no place to live in Goshen.
The data is clear. The vast majority of the housing units available in Goshen are single-family ownership homes – 98% - more than in most of the towns around us (Source: 2011-2015 American Community Survey). This shouldn’t surprise any one of us. Take a look at Goshen’s Zoning Regulations and you will see that with the exception of one Zoning category, all Goshen allows is – you guessed it – single-family homes – or farms – or open space.
The one exception to the single-family monopoly in Goshen is our Central Business (CB) Zone whose purpose per the zoning regulations is “… to provide a central, safe and convenient location for local business and service needs in a manner that is compatible in size, scale, and appearance with the Town Center area of Goshen.” Note that this says NOTHING about housing.
But because the Village Marketplace was built before the current zoning regulations went into effect and it already had apartments over the retail stores, the reality of Village Marketplace was grandfathered. So today this is where the only apartments in Goshen exist, and over 40 years after they were built, they are hardly the sort of quality rental housing we need.
Single family homes are great for some, but not for many seniors nor for many of the young.
The young these days delay decisions to purchase a home until later in life than 20 or 30 years ago. They seek rental housing options that offer flexibility and avoid the need to devote time and money to maintenance. They welcome quality rental housing that is better sized to their phase of life.
Many seniors are looking for much the same thing. To get away from the large, now empty single-family home, for a rental option that offers flexibility and avoids the need to devote time and money to maintenance. They also need housing that recognizes their limitations by incorporating single-story floor plans and Universal Design concepts such as wider doors, no doorway sills, and more.
GHT is working on this because the people of the Town in many open forums have repeatedly said that this is important. To address the housing needs of these groups, Goshen needs something other than single-family homes. This can be done in a way that does not diminish Goshen’s rural character.
Since we have Zoning regulations in our Town that prohibit anything but a single-family home almost anyplace in Goshen, the GHT will have to go to the Planning and Zoning Commission for an exception to the local zoning almost anywhere we might build. We have said before that we intend this to be a cooperative process. We are not a private developer from Bridgeport or some other big city trying to make money. We live in Goshen and are trying to help our Town be stronger.
So, GHT is NOT doing this to help any individual out. We are creating some needed new housing – not a lot – to add to the housing inventory of our Town. While affordability is a factor (Goshen’s single-family homes on average are too expensive for the target groups) it is the
suitability of the types of housing our Town offers that is the real problem that needs to be solved.