New Canaan Housing Authority

Recent Articles

Town Starts Allocation of Funds for Denser Redesign of Canaan Parish Affordable Housing Complex

Officials on Tuesday took a step toward securing four additional years of relief from a widely criticized state law that allows developers to skirt local planning decisions in towns such as New Canaan, where a low percentage of all housing stock qualifies as “affordable” under the state’s narrow definition. The Board of Selectmen voted 2-0 to approve $170,000 to be transferred from a specially designated town fund to the New Canaan Housing Authority. That agency is working with Canaan Parish, a Section 8 housing complex at Lakeview Avenue and Route 123, on plans to redevelop the apartments there with greater density in order to better use the land there and help New Canaan achieve a second four-year “moratorium” under the state law. Early-stage plans call for the 60-unit development to get to about 100 total units, Housing Authority Board Secretary Bernard Simpkin told the selectmen at their regular meeting, held in Town Hall. “We’ve already chosen an architect and now the next stage is doing the design, the engineering and all those things,” Simpkin said. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

‘It’s Going To Be Hard’: New Canaan Faces Long Odds on Achieving Third Affordable Housing Moratorium, Officials Say

Though New Canaan this summer qualified for four years of relief from a state law that allows developers to skirt local planning decisions by designating a certain percentage of units in new projects as “affordable”—and could be positioned to achieve a second four-year “moratorium” under that law—it’s unclear now whether or how the town will be able to continue doing so. The major difficulty, according to the chairman of the New Canaan Housing Authority, is the high cost and scarcity of land in town that could take a fair-sized (say, 20-unit) affordable development. “Land of any sort of sizeable acreage that is on sewer and water, is certainly subject to an [affordable housing] ‘cramdown’ from a developer, and it’s also therefore valuable to them,” Scott Hobbs told members of the Planning & Zoning Commission during their regular meeting, held Aug. 29 at Town Hall. “And knowing that someday we will run out of moratorium time, so the odds that we could buy a piece of property like that, is going to be hard. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , ,

‘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 →

Filed under: , , , , ,

‘We Felt That It Was Not Humane’: Housing Authority Rescinds ‘Declawing’ Requirement for Residents’ Cats

Responding to concerns from animal welfare advocates, officials from the New Canaan Housing Authority say they’re moving away from a requirement that residents of affordable rental units at Millport Avenue have their cats “declawed.”

Banned in many countries, declawing typically involves amputating the last bone of each toe on a cat—the equivalent of cutting off each finger at the last knuckle on a person, according to the Humane Society of the United States. (more…) Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Demolition of Final 18 ‘Old’ Housing Units at Millport Imminent; Plan To Rebuild with 36 New Units by Year’s End

The New Canaan Building Department has received applications to demolish 18 public housing units toward the rear of the large complex that fronts Mill Pond—a signal that plans are underway to complete the final phase of a massive rebuilding project there that started about eight years ago. Once the Millport Avenue project is complete, the New Canaan Housing Authority will have increased the total number of units there from 32 to 112, officials said. The 18 units located “up the hill” at Millport, in the neighborhood’s parlance, will be razed and rebuilt with 36 total apartments, half of which will remain federally defined “public housing” while half will become “affordable housing” under state statutes, according to Scott Hobbs, chairman of the Housing Authority Commission. Those who live currently in those 18 units will move into some of the 73 recently completed apartments, located in new buildings that front Millport Avenue. The town issued Certificates of Occupancy for those new units, and—with an expert’s help—is pursuing a four-year moratorium from a state law that developers may use to skirt local planning decisions. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , ,