New Canaan Housing Authority

Recent Articles

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 →

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New Canaan To Tap Expert in Getting Out from Under Developer’s Affordable Housing Loophole

Officials are tapping an area expert to help put together an application that they hope will exempt New Canaan from a state law that could open the town to unwanted building projects. The Board of Selectmen at a regular meeting Tuesday will vote on a fee appropriation of $6,000 to $12,000 for Ridgefield’s recently retired town planner. Betty Brosius oversaw Ridgefield’s handling of more than 10 applications submitted under the Affordable Housing Appeals Act, often referred to by its statute number, “8-30g.”

As New Canaan nears issuance of Certificates of Occupancy for rebuilt affordable housing units at Mill Pond, the town is preparing an application to the state that would garner a four-year moratorium from 8-30g. It will be the first time New Canaan has ever prepared such an application, First Selectman Rob Mallozzi told NewCanaanite.com when asked about the agenda item. “Betty was a drive force in Ridgefield and we are very, very happy to have her,” Mallozzi said. Continue Reading →

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Officials Study ‘Canaan Parish’ Apartments for Possible Affordable Housing Redevelopment

Town officials say they’re looking into whether a privately owned, 1979-built apartment complex on Lakeview Avenue could be right for redevelopment with a greater number of affordable units. Located near the corner of Route 123, Canaan Parish includes 60 apartments and its tenants get rental assistance through the Section 8 federal housing program. It is owned by Stamford-based New Canaan Neighborhoods Inc., whose president is town resident Chris Hussey, according to Connecticut Secretary of the State records. According to Scott Hobbs, who serves as chairman of the New Canaan Housing Authority, the site likely “is not as well utilized as modern layout would, so if we could rejuvenate some of it, it would make sense.” “The reality is that it would make more sense to tear it down and rearrange everything and get more units in there,” Hobbs told members of the Board of Finance at their regular meeting Tuesday night, held at Town Hall. “And I believe by doing that, we hopefully would possibly get to the second moratorium.”

He referred to a four-year moratorium from the state’s Affordable Housing Appeals Act, often called by its statute number, 8-30g. Continue Reading →

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‘A Logical and Mandatory Thing’: Millport Avenue Developers Address Concerns About ‘Loom Factor’ of Four-Story Structures

Though neighbors of the public housing development at Mill Pond and at least one member of the Planning & Zoning Commission had voiced concerns about the height and aesthetics of proposed four-story buildings there—concerns that some now say were well-founded, as the units take shape—the new structures will look better once they’re finished with stonework, balconies, trim and landscaping, the project’s architects say. At least as importantly, given the need for elevators and the challenges of expense and space that they bring—particularly when dealing with affordable housing—going “up” in height and leveraging density is an economic and architectural reality, according to Scott Hobbs, chairman of the New Canaan Housing Authority Commission. “In the case of affordable housing, it is especially tricky because it is hard to make it work economically even with seed money from the town and grants from the state,” Hobbs told NewCanaanite.com. “It’s still hard to make it work and you need to get to density, otherwise you cannot pay for the construction. At the end of the day four stories, while large, is still within what is acceptable. 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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