“This Administration has continuously undermined the quality of life and culture in The Annex and Morris Cove,” said Democrat Shafiq Abdussabur. “Just because they’re over the bridge doesn’t mean they’re not New Haveners. My plan for the East Shore tackles longstanding issues head-on and provides a way for us to work together and improve the well-being of all residents.” Abdussabur spoke on iHeart Radio about his plans for the East Shore last week. To listen, check out his interview on the Vinnie Penn Project. The campaign platform is provided below:
A Better East Shore
Implement Airport Zoning – With Tweed New Haven Airport’s expansion looming, those directly affected by the jet fumes, noise pollution, and increased out-of-town traffic must be compensated for the impact on their quality of life. As Mayor, Shafiq will work with the Board of Alders, Board of Zoning Appeals, City Plan Commission, and the Economic Development Administration to implement a long overdue study to rezone parts of Morris Cove and The Annex as airport impact zones. This would include a lower mill rate compensating East Shore residents for their hardship while following FAA purchase assurance and sales assistance strategies to mitigate any potential impact on property values from the rezoning without putting taxpayers and property owners on the hook.
Transparency in Home Area Improvements – As Mayor, Shafiq will be transparent about mitigation measures for the surrounding neighborhood that is negatively impacted by noise and air pollution from the airport and will push to expand the number of homes eligible for protective improvements. The City will evaluate all residents needing home improvements, and a map of the new radius will be made public.
A New Environmental Impact Study –The environmental assessment put out by Tweed Airport puts corporate profits over New Haven residents and is a clear case of environmental injustice. As Mayor, Shafiq will work with Tweed, the community, the Mayor of East Haven, and environmental and subject matter experts, including from the Yale School for the Environment, to produce a new study about the actual impacts of airport expansion.
Amend the Tweed Community Benefits Agreement – The 43-year Tweed community benefits agreement needs to be redrawn. Out of a $100M investment, only $5M is for noise pollution reduction, environmental improvements, and traffic calming. This amount is to be shared by East Haven and New Haven. The Abdussabur Administration will explore amending the lease agreement with Avports and present amendments to the Board of Alders for approval.
Wetlands Analysis – The Environmental Assessment produced by Tweed Airport’s own consultants suggests that the destruction of wetlands from the expansion will be offset by creating new capacity for the airport to store water. However, this has not been evaluated by independent wetlands experts. As Mayor, Shafiq will lead a wetlands analysis with subject matter experts and DEEP to fully understand this dimension of the project and how best to mitigate negative impacts. In an area already prone to flooding, the public must fully understand the long terms cost that will come with the loss of these wetlands on surrounding homes as we face intensifying storm seasons year after year. We also deserve a true accounting of how replacing critical habitats with new spillways will affect biodiversity and the region's longer-term ecological health. The public deserves real answers they can trust from the most qualified voices, not just rubber-stamped reports written by consultants with a clear profit motive to look out for their client's interests above all else.
Embrace Lighthouse Point Park – As New Haven’s only revenue-generating park, this landmark must receive the upkeep and resources necessary to attract visitors and be enjoyed by residents throughout the regular season. As Mayor, Shafiq would increase admission fees for out-of-town visitors to support park operations and support more recreational activities for residents, such as kayaking and paddle boarding.
Safer Spaces and Better Infrastructure – Flooding has always been an issue in the East Shore neighborhoods. With temperatures and sea levels on the rise, there is no question that there should be major infrastructure investments to mitigate the impact of climate change. The Abdussabur Administration will work with federal and state partners to secure funding for upgraded tide gates and complete unfinished projects like the Pardee Seawall barrier, which is regularly damaged and poses an ongoing safety hazard for children and families using the park.
Rebuild Cultural Ties and Facilitate Cultural Reconciliation – Residents in the East Shore and throughout the city feel the current Administration disregards their cultures. Italian-Americans witnessed this firsthand when the Administration was not fully transparent about the statue removal at Wooster Square Park. As Mayor, Shafiq will work with the Department of Arts, Culture, and Tourism; cultural stakeholders like the New Haven Italian-American Heritage Group; and the Parks Commission to embrace all of New Haven’s cultural communities. Public cultural reconciliation spaces will create opportunities to explain the history, meaning, and significance of specific historical figures and why other cultures may see them differently. Creating cultural reconciliation spaces will enable communities to learn about each other, understand and respect differences, and heal together.