Fairfield delegation makes case to modify affordable housing law

The head Republicans on the legislature’s Housing Committee, state Rep. Brenda Kupchick (R-132 Fairfield) and state Senate Tony Hwang (R-28) listened to testimony on the state’s affordable housing (8-30g) law, including testimony from state Reps. Laura Devlin (R-134) and Cristin McCarthy Vahey (D-133).

The five-hour public hearing was held Feb. 5 in the Board of Alders Chamber in New Haven.

The existing law, enacted in 1990 and known as 8-30g, has been used by developers to bypass local zoning laws and, in the process, created serious concerns for neighborhoods in Fairfield and other towns and cities across Connecticut.

Questioning state Housing Commissioner Evonne Klein, Rep. Kupchick said, “In Fairfield, 100 units of affordable housing had been renovated inside and out, but it is not included in the housing stock for purposes of making the state goal because of its age.”

Rep. Kupchick told Commissioner Klein there should be some protocol to evaluate situations like this in favor of the town. In another instance, 38 units of blighted housing were razed and replaced with 50 new units, but Fairfield only got credit for the 12 additional units.

Devlin testified on a bill to allow senior housing to get a full point credit for affordable housing.

“Seniors who live on fixed incomes are one of the states “most vulnerable” populations,” said Devlin. “The current affordable housing law discourages new construction of housing for seniors.”

Senator Hwang said, “This is the kind of open, inclusive and civil dialogue that has to take place, to bring people together around a common goal of increasing affordable housing in ways that works for every community — urban and suburban. And it was refreshing and encouraging to hear from so many people with different and valuable perspectives. The testimony will be critical as the committee works together in considering the many proposals related to 8-30g. I am confident that the cogent and compelling testimony tonight resonated with committee members and will help serve as a catalyst for much-needed relief from this statute, which is laudable in philosophy but severely flawed in practice.”

Rep. McCarthy Vahey submitted testimony saying, “Allowing deed restricted properties to remain so in perpetuity will help to provide long term stability for our existing affordable housing options.”

State Rep. Brenda Kupchick (R-132 Fairfield) and state Senate Tony Hwang (R-28)

State Rep. Brenda Kupchick (R-132 Fairfield) and state Senate Tony Hwang (R-28)

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