Affordable Housing: State Moves To Dismiss Town’s Lawsuit

Saying the town’s application for relief from an affordable housing law does not amount to a “contested case” under Connecticut law—and therefore their own denial of that application is not appealable—state officials on Friday filed a motion to dismiss the municipal government’s lawsuit against the Department of Housing. The town applied last July for four years of relief from the state affordable housing law commonly known by its statute number, 8-30g. In towns that cannot meet a threshold whereby 10% of all housing stock qualifies as “affordable,” applicants for housing developments where a certain percentage of units are set aside at affordable rates may appeal to the state after they’re denied by a local Planning & Zoning Commission. 

The town had qualified for a four-year moratorium in 2017, with the denser redevelopment of the New Canaan Housing Authority-owned apartments on Millport Avenue, and hoped to qualify for another through the redevelopment of the Canaan Parish complex at Lakeview Avenue and Route 123. Yet financing difficulties with the project emerged in April 2019, and then the COVID-19 pandemic caused further delays, officials have said. 

As a result, the window opened for 8-30g applications here in mid-2021. Since February 2022, New Canaan has received three such applications.

‘People Are Really Upset About This’: Town Council Pushes Back on Snub of VFW’s Funding Request

Members of the Town Council are pushing back on decisions made by other municipal bodies that deny a request from local veterans for funding through the American Rescue Plan Act. The Boards of Selectmen and Finance both voted in support of a $582,600 ARPA package for nonprofit organizations that left out a $15,000 request from the local VFW. During their own July 20 meeting, Town Councilmen tried to get answers as to why the snub occurred and to urge the selectmen and finance board to fill the funding request. “If it wasn’t for our veterans this town would not exist,” Councilman Kimberly Norton said during the meeting, held in Town Hall and via videoconference. “So I think it’s of paramount importance that we take this seriously, and all of these people are volunteers that volunteered their service to our country, and then volunteered in our parade, and mapping the graves of the veterans in the cemetery.

‘She Puts Party First, Before Other Things’: Town Councilmen Voice Concerns about Maria Weingarten in Divided Vote on Finance Board Appointment

In an unusual discussion last week, some members of New Canaan’s legislative body voiced concerns about the qualifications and partisanship of a prospective member of an appointed municipal body. While Maria Weingarten can be admired for her outspokenness and strong opinions, she as an alternate member of the Board of Finance has already had to recuse herself from some important votes related to a proposed affordable housing development at 751 Weed St. and is also an activist on some education-related issues, Town Councilman Hilary Ormond said during the legislative body’s regular meeting July 20. It also is unclear just how Weingarten is qualified to serve as a regular member of the finance board, Ormond said during the meeting, held at Town Hall and via videoconference. “I’m not entirely clear what her qualifications are,” Ormond said.