Kupchick, Devlin Hwang, & Boucher hail affordable housing reform

Co-chair of the General Assembly Housing Committee State Senator Tony Hwang (R-28), Senator Toni Boucher (R-26), Reps. Brenda Kupchick (R-132), Laura Devlin (R-134)  said that many months of negotiating a bipartisan proposal paid off this week when HB 6880 as amended, which reforms Connecticut’s affordable housing system, passed the Senate and House of Representatives and now awaits Governor Malloy’s signature to become law.

Sen. Hwang and Rep. Kupchick, who is the head House Republican on the Housing Committee were integral in the bipartisan negotiations to craft the bill.

Reforming our state’s affordable housing laws has long been a priority for me; As the head Republican on the Housing Committee for the last five years, I have made 8-30g improvements a top priority,” said Rep. Brenda Kupchick. “The bill that passed the General Assembly gives towns more incentives toward to achieve a moratorium on affordable housing preventing predatory developers from bypassing Fairfield’s zoning boards. I hope Governor Malloy will sign this bipartisan legislation.”

Rep. Laura Devlin said, “This is a good first step in the right direction for returning authority over developments to municipalities for the benefit of the community, while still making sure we provide sufficient affordable housing for people that want to live and work in Connecticut.”

“I thank my colleagues in the House of Representative for their successful passage of statutory reform that will motivate our state and municipalities toward greater access and inventory of workforce and affordable housing for Connecticut residents,” Sen. Hwang said.  We move one step closer toward our goal to increase housing opportunities for everyone in Connecticut and encourage a diverse and dynamic residential community that will foster economic, educational, and cultural growth.  Another objective met will allow more local zoning and planning input in developing affordable & workforce housing projects that are compatible with community character and zoning statutes.  I also want to extend my gratitude to all stakeholders for their passion and participation in making this important housing reform possible.”

The bill makes several critical reforms to restore the ability of many communities throughout Connecticut to make comprehensive zoning and planning decisions.

The nearly 30-year-old 8-30g language has become an emotional issue for many communities because of the broad latitude it gives developers to build under the auspices of increasing affordable housing inventory. Developers can place dense, multi-family projects into single-family neighborhoods, or take land set aside for office buildings and make it into residential properties with set aside percentages far below median income housing. These sometimes controversial development projects often change the town’s character and disrupts neighborhoods.

Under the current 8-30g law, a local zoning board can reject such a plan only if the project represents a threat to public health and safety that outweighs the need for affordable housing. Often, projects rejected by local planning and zoning boards are approved on appeal to the Land Use Litigation Docket, a branch of the state Superior Court.

“Municipalities need to be able to control their own destiny and shape how developments impact communities,” Sen. Boucher said. “If municipalities create their own plans for affordable housing, those communities commit to expanding the amount of affordable housing available while also creating well-thought out developments that will be more easily accepted by neighbors.”

The provisions of the bill are:

  • Lowers minimum number of Housing Unit Equivalent (HUE) points smaller municipalities must  obtain to qualify for a moratorium from 75 points to 50 points
  • Encourages the development of family units and senior units tied to family housing, and family units located in incentive housing zones
  • Makes income-restricted units in an Incentive Housing Zone (IHZ) development eligible for points toward a moratorium.
  • 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).
  • Establish a 2nd moratorium for municipalities with at least 20,000 dwelling units after qualifying for 1st reprieve.
  • Requires towns to adopt strategic plans to state on how they will increase the amount of affordable units within their community.
  • Contains a five year sunset provision

Senator Tony Hwang represents the communities of Fairfield, Easton and Newtown along with portions of Westport, Weston.

Senator Toni Boucher represents the communities of Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, Wilton.

House Housing committee Chair Larry Butler (D-Waterbury), with Housing Ranking member State Rep. Brenda Kupchick (R-Fairfield), State Rep. Laura Devlin (R-Fairfield) and Senate Co-chair of the Housing committee State Sen. Tony Hwang celebrate final legislative approval of the Affordable Housing Reform bill by the State Senate.

House Housing committee Chair Larry Butler (D-Waterbury), with Housing Ranking member State Rep. Brenda Kupchick (R-Fairfield), State Rep. Laura Devlin (R-Fairfield) and Senate Co-chair of the Housing committee State Sen. Tony Hwang celebrate final legislative approval of the Affordable Housing Reform bill by the State Senate.

About author

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© HAN Network. All rights reserved. Fairfield Sun, 1000 Bridgeport Avenue, Shelton, CT 06484

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress