Affordable Housing Appeals Act

Recent Articles

‘It’s a Win-Win’: New Canaan Earns Four Years of Relief from Developers’ Loophole in State Affordable Housing Law

New Canaan on Tuesday received state approval for four years of relief from a law that allows developers to skirt local planning decisions by designating a certain percentage of units in new projects as “affordable.”

The Department of Housing issued the town a “Certificate of Affordable Housing Completion,” according to a notice published in the Connecticut Law Journal. It provides for a temporary moratorium from the requirements of the Affordable Housing Appeals Act—a state law often referred to by its statute number, “8-30g,” that long has loomed over New Canaan and other lower Fairfield County towns. First Selectman Rob Mallozzi called the moratorium—earned by New Canaan because it has added a significant amount of affordable units to its overall housing stock, almost all at Mill Pond—a “home run on two fronts.”

“Not only do we get the pressure out from beneath us from outsiders who may not have a New Canaan-centric desire to build housing that’s not in keeping with the feel of the town, but we also got an increase in our affordable house stock, and can offer housing to more people than we could six or seven years ago,” Mallozzi said. “So it’s a win-win and we were able to do it on our own terms, and that is huge.”

New Canaan has added about 90 units of affordable housing since 2010, Mallozzi said. The specter of 8-30g loomed over the Planning & Zoning Commission at the time New Canaan approved the redevelopment of Jelliff Mill into condos—an agreement that followed a lengthy, contentious legal battle and in the end required the builder to put money into a town fund that’s used for affordable housing development. Continue Reading →

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Officials: Millport Building Project on Track, Relief from Developer Loophole in Sight

The first phase of a large-scale plan to create more public housing at Mill Pond is underway and on track for completion by year’s end, officials say—a widely anticipated project that’s expected to trigger temporary relief for New Canaan from a state law that allows developers to skirt local planning decisions. Under the Affordable Housing Appeals Act, towns where less than 10 percent of the housing stock qualifies as “affordable” by the state’s definition (New Canaan’s is at about 2.4 percent), developers may bypass Planning & Zoning by designating a percentage of units within proposed new structures as affordable. Ten percent is a rigorous standard that towns such as New Canaan are unlikely to meet, mostly because the state in calculating “affordable” lumps the town into the sprawling geography of the “Norwalk-Stamford Metropolitan area.”

Yet there’s a way to get relief under a provision (a complicated provision) in the state law. Under the provision, types of housing are assigned a certain number of points based on variables such as how much they cost (in mortgage payments or rent) and whom they serve (seniors or families). If a town amasses enough “housing unit equivalent” points, it can earn a four-year exemption. Continue Reading →

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Plans Filed for Building Project at Millport That Would Give New Canaan Relief from Developer Loophole

A plan to add 33 units to the public housing development at Mill Pond would trigger temporary relief for New Canaan from a state law that often amounts to a loophole for developers seeking to skirt local planning decisions, officials say. Under the Affordable Housing Appeals Act, towns where less than 10 percent of the housing stock qualifies as “affordable” by the state’s definition (New Canaan’s is at about 2.4 percent), developers may bypass Planning & Zoning by designating a percentage of units within proposed new structures as affordable. Ten percent is a rigorous standard that towns such as New Canaan are unlikely to meet, officials say, since the state in calculating “affordable” lumps the town into the sprawling geography of the “Norwalk-Stamford Metropolitan area.” Yet there’s a way to get relief under a provision (a complicated provision) in the state law. Under the provision, types of housing are assigned a certain number of points based on variables such as how much they cost (in mortgage payments or rent) and who they serve (seniors or families). Continue Reading →

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