Stratford’s legislative delegation, including State Representatives Laura Hoydick (R-120), Ben McGorty (R-122), and Joe Gresko (D-121) helped usher through critical affordable housing legislation during a late evening session of the House of Representatives Tuesday evening, aimed at easing the ability of Stratford and other communities to gain exemptions from certain affordable housing requirements under the states 8-30g statutory requirements.
“Communities that are working toward achieving the required affordable housing stock are, ironically, sometimes hampered in achieving that goal by these very 8-30g provisions,” said Rep. Hoydick. “Here in Stratford we are making serious, good-faith attempts to develop the requisite affordable housing stock, and the compromise of local authority and exposure to legal challenges that the current law provides assures our town will spend more time dealing with those challenges than implementing a workable solution. We need to balance our affordable housing goals with the need for assuring that responsible growth takes place in Stratford.”
“This bill makes sensible changes to our outdated affordable housing laws, which have for years have made it difficult for our local communities to make land use determinations in their best interest,” said Rep. McGorty. “These changes allow our communities to continue their work toward making sensible good-faith affordable housing choices while relieving them of numerous impediments to doing so.”
“The bill creates incentives for municipalities that establish incentive housing zones where the municipality gets to select where the housing is located,” said Rep. Gresko. “Cities and towns close to reaching moratorium thresholds can avoid predatory developers as a result of this legislation.”
Currently, each municipality is required to have 10% of its housing stock designated as “affordable” and current law allows developers to submit projects under the statute. If a municipality does not meet the requirements of the statute, the burden is on the municipality during the appeals process to prove the denial was for a health or safety concern. This bill makes it easier for a municipality gain an exemption, and to combat predatory developers aiming to exploit provisions of the affordable housing statutes that allow them to circumvent local planning and zoning authorities, while promoting the proper creation of affordable housing.
In addition, the bill:
- Contains a five-year sunset provision
- Lowers minimum number of housing unit equivalent (HUE) points smaller municipalities must obtain to qualify for a moratorium from 75 HUE points to 50 HUE points
- Encourages the development of three-bedroom family units, senior units tied to family housing, and family units located in incentive housing zones
- Makes income-restricted units in an IHZ development eligible for points toward a moratorium
- Award bonus HUE points for family units that contain at least three bedrooms, elderly units when 60% of an affordable housing completion certificate is tied to family housing, and family units located within an Incentive Housing Zone
- Changes the definition of Median Income applicable to IHZ’s to conform to 8-30g’s definition (the lesser of state median income and the area median income as determined by HUD)
- Makes affordable housing moratoriums more achievable for midsize cities. The current threshold to qualify for a moratorium is 2%, this bill lowers that threshold to 1.5%.
The measure now heads to the State Senate for action there. This session of the Connecticut General Assembly adjourns midnight next Wednesday, June 7th, 2017.