‘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.