Daily Archives: May 3, 2011

Demmerkrats pass biggest tax increase in Connecticut’s history

That’s how the Hartford Courant describes it, but I wonder if the Democrat’s imposition of an income tax in 1991 wasn’t even larger. Either way, it’s refreshingly reassuring to see that, once returned to power, the Democrats revert to form. At least we can count on one sure thing in this ever-changing world.

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Who, and what is this Navy SEAL 6 team that nabbed Osama?

The National Journal tells – well, not all, but a little bit. Fascinating article about these secret warriors’ training and operations.

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Remember “Sleeper”?

Woody Allen ends up in the future, where a doctor informs him that they’d discovered that cigarettes and (fat? Something else) were actually good for you.

Apparently the future is here. Salt does not cause high blood pressure and people who consume a lot of it have less risk of a heart attack than those on a low salt diet.

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Where in the world is …

Franklin Bloomer?

Franklin Bloomer? The District 5 RTM member and head of the RTM Land Use Committee has sold his house in Riverside and moved, somewhere – no one seems to know where. Greenwich? Stamford? Montana? Regardless, I’m told he’s still showing up at RTM functions. Has anyone asked him for (a long form)  proof of residency? Can one continue to represent Riverside in the RTM is he is no longer a resident?

 
Perhaps RTM rules permit a member to finish out his term even if he moves from his district. Perhaps they don’t – I haven’t looked it up. But I do think it would be appropriate for someone in that organization to ask the man where he hangs his hat these days. And, if as the result of that inquiry, he were forced to resign from the Land Use Committee well, that’s just a small tragedy we’ll all have to suffer through. Maybe we could persuade Jerry Poricelli to replace him.

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Speaking of FAR destroying value …

409 Round Hill Rd

This wonderful 1849 house in the back country has been for sale for years, starting at $2.5 million in 2009 and dropping today to $1.695. The market for antique homes is limited, but very much not non-existent, so why won’t it sell? My guess is that it’s because you can’t add on to its 3,000 sq. feet – FAR won’t allow  it, because it sits on 1.5 acres in the 4 acre zone.

 
Back when the RTM established FAR limitations, they assigned Franklin Bloomer and some of his pals to come up with the ideal size house for each of our zoning areas. Which they did, while also devising a penalty for undersized lots and a bonus for oversized. The ideal size house in the one acre zone, Bloomer et als decreed, was exactly 5,880 square feet. Were this house in that zone, under Bloomer’s rules, it could be expanded to 8,8020 sq. feet because it’s 50% larger than an acre.
 
But it’s in the four-acre zone, and four acre FAR limits apply, no exceptions. So instead of 8,800, or even 5,880, it’s deemed too large at under 3,000 sq. feet. Does this make sense? If almost 9,000 sq. ft. meets the RTM’s approval for a 1 1/2 acre lot in the R-1 zone, why isn’t that appropriate in the R-4 zone? Same size lot, so there’s no issue about being too large for the acreage in question, it’s really all about a terribly flawed system, imposed on homeowners by the RTM which, I suspect, is pretty much clueless about what it’s done.
Want another example? Take conservation zones. A couple of decades ago, the RTM decided to encourage these by rewarding builders who built houses  on two acres each in the four-acre zone and pooling the remaining excess into a open land conservation zone. When FAR came along, you might think that it would take into consideration these two acre lots – you’d be wrong. FAR crushes conservation home houses and Bloomer and friends make no apology.
 
I can’t say with certainty what 409 Round Hill would be worth if a buyer could add on to it, but I’m confident it would be a hell of a lot more that the present asking price. The owner has been screwed, all without any benefit to the town. Are we addressing this issue? Are you kidding? The P&Z is doing its damnedest to make it worse.

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Sales

After 1033 days on the market, this Round Hill property as finally sold, for $7 million. That’s a hefty sum, but a substantial discount from its 2005 price of $10.9, and even further off the 2008 price of $11.5. I’ve never understood the strategy of raising a price when a house won’t sell, but it’s done all the time, almost always without success.

35 Mianus View Terrace

This renovated 1896 beauty in Cos Cob, on the contrary, asked $1.135 in February and found a buyer in 63 days, selling today for $1.125. Obviously we’re in different price categories here, and apples aren’t oranges, but I’d rather have my house on the market for two months than years and years.

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They would have been a lot cheaper than the CIA

A UCLA geography class predicted in 2009 that there was an 89% chance that Osama was hiding in Abbotabod. At the very least, maybe someone at the CIA should sign up for this class.

UPDATE: never mind! Between posting this and reader Jimbo coming across it, the original article was corrected – it now no longer mentions Abbotabad, and merely claims an accuracy of 300 KM from Tora Bora. Not nearly as impressive, obviously. The CIA can stay in Virginia.

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