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Saratoga's affordable housing project challenged

"I believe that this is, to a large extent, 'NIMBY-ism,'" he said, referring to the acronym that stands for "not in my back yard."

In response to complaints that the project would affect the trail or ruin the viewshed, Olsen said there would be 40 feet of landscaping between the townhomes and the trail, and noted the trash and broken trailers that now occupy the strip he proposes to build on.

Olsen is asking the City Council to give the development Planned Unit Development (PUD) status, which would waive some zoning requirements and generally ease the approval process. Comprehensive Plan Committee Vice Chair Nancy Goldberg noted the previous two plans and the current proposed draft recommend eliminating PUDs.

One Saratoga Springs resident said the townhomes would address a number of people that are commonly left out of the affordable housing equation. When affordable housing projects come up, said Celeste Caruso, many people immediately think of hourly wage earners looking for cheaper rental properties. What is not being addressed, she said, is the large number of people in service industries " teachers, policemen and firemen " who cannot afford to buy a home in the city.

"What you're telling these people is that you can save our lives and teach our children, but you can't live here," she said.

The Comprehensive Plan Committee is scheduled to send the final draft plan to the City Council in November.

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