Sunday, June 1, 2008

Let the Spin Begin

This morning, a month after Erickson Retirement Communities made it first local presentation about a high-rise development it would like to build in Hillsborough, the Star-Ledger has weighed in.

This morning's article is, well, interesting.

First ERCs projected job number has increased since the meeting and become more specific. At ERC's presentation there were 750 jobs - which did seem a little low for the services they said they were going to offer. This morning it's "800 full time jobs."

As far as the claim that the community "would not bring in schoolchildren" - that is true as far as it goes; no schoolchildren would live in the projects. But the nice lady mentioned in the article who would like to move into the project will sell her house. Most of the houses in Claremont are three or four bedroom so it is not unreasonable to think that a family with children will be the most likely purchasers.

Consider the experience of Hingham, Connecticut with ERC's Linden Ponds development as reported in The Hartford Courant of July 16, 2007:
"...A majority of Linden Ponds residents moved to the community from houses in Hingham, which led to rapid turnover in the neighborhoods. There was already growth in the number of schoolchildren, but Town Administrator Charles Cristello said it has accelerated somewhat since Linden Ponds opened..."

ERC also believes these units are affordable. With a buy-in price of $150,000 to $400,000, monthly fees ranging from $1400 to over $2000 for a single resident, an assets requirement, and monthly income requirements, the affordability argument seems to weaken. Even the full refund of the buy-in money apparently has its caveats. Again referring to the Courant article:"...A resident who runs out of money can use part of the entrance deposit to cover costs. If that is fully depleted, Erickson maintains a "Benevolent Care Fund..."

But what really got my attention was the assertion in the Star-Ledger article by the Erickson representative that the "reaction among the 100 or so [Hillsborough residents] who turned out was mixed." We were apparently not at the same meeting. The reaction I saw was hostile.

Except for those citizens who felt helpless, powerless, and unprotected.


Val said...

Found it, Hughes. I noted many of the same points you did, particularly the description of attendees' reactions. Pretty understated, huh?

You make some good points, but I'm not sure the argument of who will move into who's home once that who moves into ETC will stand up to planning board scrutiny, nor will it weigh in under municipal land use laws. I don't THINK it will, anyway.

The breakdown of actual costs was most interesting. Thanks for continuing to keep us posted, and for your research and analysis. Hope others tune in, fast.

Diggerc said...

I find it a little more than coincidence that tomorrows’ meeting with Erickson is timed the same time as back to school night at HMS