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Smart Ways to Create Affordable Housing - Community Coffee to Discuss 830g

The state affordable housing statute called 830g is facing amendments at the state level. Learn more.

Fairfield, like many towns in Connecticut, is faced with the dilemma of having little affordable housing and limited open space that is appropriate for new housing development. In an attempt to address this situation, the state passed a law in 1989 providing incentives for developers to build affordable units. It is clear that this well-intended statute, 8-30g, has gone too far in favoring developers.

The recent outcry over proposed affordable housing on Homeland Street highlights the problems that need to be addressed. Under 8-30g, municipalities where less than 10 percent of the housing stock is designated as affordable are subject to its requirements. Fairfield falls into this category. That means local zoning officials cannot deny permits for affordable housing unless there is a threat to public health and safety. The burden is on our Town Plan & Zoning Commission to make a compelling case for denial.

Homeland Street residents are concerned about the possibility of having three new units squeezed onto one lot in a quiet neighborhood of small, narrow streets. One of the units would be part of a duplex and classified as “affordable housing” under the state’s income eligibility guidelines.

“Many of these developers are not motivated by a desire to create more affordable housing. They are motivated by profit,” said Rep. Kim Fawcett. “They are using 8-30g to do an end run around local zoning and environmental laws that other developers must abide by.”

Yet the lack of affordable housing throughout Connecticut is a serious problem, both for individuals and employers who rely on a diverse workforce in the communities where they do business.  Rep. Fawcett cites a few possible solutions:

  • Allow towns to apply for an exemption from 8-30g if their local boards have created and passed an affordable plan whose goals are to increase the diversity of housing stock in accordance with Smart Growth principles. This might look like an approved overlay district where there are incentives for builders if they develop units in more densely populated areas along mass transit routes.
  • Amend the statute to broaden the definition of affordable housing. Only 2.4 percent of Fairfield housing units qualify as “affordable,” though a case can be made that rents for some existing units are, in fact, low enough to be considered affordable.

“The first proposal is important because it recognizes the need for affordable and diverse housing stock while at the same time allowing towns to have local control over where more dense developments occur. It also could help the state reach the original goals of 8-30g by more clearly guiding development projects throughout Connecticut,” said Rep. Fawcett.

Join Kim for a discussion of housing and zoning statutes, including the 8-30g statute that allows developers to bypass the town's density limits. Learn the facts about this controversial law and what it means for your neighborhood. See you at Congregation Ahavath Achim, 1571 Stratfield Rd., Fairfield! Thursday, September 27th at 9:00 am.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Diane S. September 20, 2012 at 12:33 PM
In 2011 on the Appropriations Committee, Kim missed 23 out of 33 public hearings. In 2012 Kim missed 17 of 21 public hearings. In 2012 on the Energy and Technology Committee Kim missed all 4 public hearings, not attending any of them. In April 2012 when the legislature was in session Kim thought it was more important to go on a 7 day school trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos islands thus causing her to miss the extremely important vote on S.B. 280, an act revising the Death Penalty for Capital Felonies. I ask you to look at this law and see all the important provisions that concern the residents of CT. Her vote was cast as absent. This is a link to a gov’t website showing the votes she missed while away: http://cga.ct.gov/2012/jnl/H/2012HJL00411-R00-JNL.htm There are many issues that face the residents of CT and I’m not saying one party’s thoughts and ideas are always right. There should be compromise and bipartisanship. Kim doesn’t feel this way. In 2011 she voted 98% of the time with her party and in 2012 97% percent of the time. Kim also wasn’t present and didn’t cast a vote for paid sick leave. Kim voted for the legalization of marijuana, allowing DUI convicts to serve their time at home, a rise in gas taxes, and incredibly Kim voted in favor of H.B. 6650 a law stating that people convicted of violent crimes and those committing sexual assault on a minor can earn early release credits.
Bud Morten September 20, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Kim should give credit for "her" ideas where credit is due, in this case to her opponent, Chris DeSanctis, who published on this topic almost a month ago. http://fairfield.patch.com/articles/letter-fairfield-and-affordable-housing
Diane S. September 20, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Kudos Bud.... Kim you have to realize people are watching!
Rick Fawcett September 21, 2012 at 12:48 AM
How about checking out my wife’s website www.kimfawcett.com, you will see this original story posted on September 1st along with many other important issue statements.  You can even view the personal endorsement videos talking about the work she is doing to help our town.
Bud Morten September 21, 2012 at 03:18 AM
How about checking out Chris DeSantis' affordable housing analysis and recommendations posted on August 22nd if you are interested in the source of Rep. Fawcett's proposals posted on September 1st. http://fairfield.patch.com/articles/letter-fairfield-and-affordable-housing

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