Town of Mansfield and UConn Leaders Agree to Pursue a Joint Framework for Development
UConn Will Drop Opposition to Haven Housing Development at Four Corners
MANSFIELD, CT SEPTEMBER 1, 2021--Leaders of the Town of Mansfield met with University of Connecticut Interim President Dr. Andrew Agwunobi and his staff Tuesday to work toward resolving concerns over UConn’s role in local development. As a result of the session, the Town of Mansfield and UConn officials agreed to develop next steps toward a unified approach to development in Mansfield that benefits both the university and the town.
In this second meeting with town officials, the Interim President shared with Mansfield Mayor Antonia Moran, Deputy Mayor Ben Shaiken and Town Manager Ryan Aylesworth that UConn is withdrawing its legal opposition to a proposed development known as Haven at Four Corners on Rte. 195 west of the intersection with Rte. 44. The Haven project includes nearly 400 dwelling units and approximately 15,000 square feet of commercial space, and its special permit is under review in Mansfield.
Beyond the current proposed projects, discussions will move forward immediately between the Town of Mansfield and UConn about establishing a framework collaboratively to guide the approach to development.
“We appreciate that Dr. Agwunobi recognizes our concerns and understands the need for Mansfield and UConn to work together on creating the right kind of development plan for both of us, “says Mansfield Mayor Moran. “With our federally designated Opportunity Zone, the largest in Connecticut, UConn and Mansfield need to agree on what will enrich this community that we share, and work together to make it happen. By dropping the opposition to the Haven project, UConn helps us signal to developers that Mansfield is open for business. We appreciate that.”
Mansfield officials have aggressively protested to the President’s office, the UConn Board of Trustees and to the Governor’s office about UConn’s recent purchase of 19.23 acres, including 14.8 acres within an area zoned for higher intensity mixed commercial and residential uses. In addition to removing the parcels from the Town’s tax rolls permanently, the purchase stopped a plan to build 358 units of multi-family housing by Capstone Communities that would have also provided $1.4 million in seed money for an affordable housing project in Mansfield coordinated through the Mansfield Non-Profit Housing Development Corporation.
“After such a long, positive relationship with UConn, we were blindsided by the purchase of the Capstone project property designated for development, and the loss of that funding for affordable housing is a tremendous blow,” says Mayor Moran. “Accommodating students, faculty and our residents with adequate, affordable housing is a high priority for our community. We want to be able to offer families, seniors, young professionals and students a way to live and work in this community. Housing development must be part of our growth equation here in Mansfield.
“I’m hopeful we can get this relationship back on track given Dr. Agwunobi’s renewed commitment to work with us,” she adds. “With our combined resources--UConn, its Tech Park and Innovation Partnership Center and the Town of Mansfield-- we have so much to offer prospective businesses. We are eager to get this development framework established.”
Dr. Agwunobi and Mansfield leaders agreed to begin discussions immediately on the development framework.
“UConn deeply values our partnership with the Town of Mansfield, and we believe that whenever possible a collaborative approach to local residential and commercial development will yield the best results,” Dr. Agwunobi said.
For details on the proposed Haven at Four Corners project, visit the Town of Mansfield's website at: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/89b1735a27444d54a409d9e04b99a51c