Fairfield lawmakers hail 8-30g veto override vote

State Reps. Brenda Kupchick (R-132) and Laura Devlin (R-134) along with State Senator Tony Hwang (R-28) hailed the General Assembly for their vote to override Governor Malloy’s veto of 8-30g affordable housing reform legislation. After the governor announced his decision to veto the bipartisan compromise bill to revise the 8-30g statute on July 14, Senate and House leadership chose to take up the issue of overriding the veto at a special session on Monday.

To override a gubernatorial veto of the 8-30g reform bill, the General Assembly needed the support of 2/3 of both chambers to override the veto, the measure passed by a vote of 101-40 in the House and a vote of 24-12 by the State Senate.

Senator Hwang is the co-chair of the Housing Committee and Rep. Kupchick, who is the lead House Republican on the Housing Committee were integral in the bipartisan negotiations to craft the bill.

Rep Kupchick said, “With this veto override, Connecticut achieves the first affordable housing reform in 30 years. While the new law doesn’t include everything proponents wanted, the changes provide towns a better opportunity to create their own affordable housing development plans that communities can embrace and receive more points toward a moratorium under the revised 8-30g statue and stave off predatory development.”

Sen. Hwang said, “The reform fight represented ‘the way the system should work: with transparency, with a sharing of ideas and common goals, and with the will to create positive and lasting change for Connecticut.’ We were disappointed by the governor’s veto, but we were not deterred. The support for these reforms from Democrats and Republicans was overwhelming, and we kept fighting. We want to increase housing opportunities for everyone in Connecticut and encourage a diverse and dynamic residential community that will foster economic, educational, and cultural growth. We want to allow more local zoning and planning input in developing affordable and workforce housing projects that are compatible with community character. With this veto override vote, the legislature is taking a step in that direction.”

Rep. Devlin said, “I applaud the hard fought work of Brenda and Tony as leaders in the Housing Committee. This legislation was not a complete rewriting of the affordable housing statutes, it simply helps put into place a series of equitable, common sense changes that modernize and update the 8-30g statute without undermining the true good meaning intend of the Affordable Housing Act and providing a measure of fairness to communities, like Trumbull & Fairfield, which are subject to the current law and its significant deficiencies.”

With the overrides, the bill will now become Connecticut law, in spite of the governor’s objections. The bill was a modest step towards affordable housing reform which hoped to offer towns an attainable goal of developing and reaching a moratorium.

The provisions of the bill are:

  • Lowers minimum number of HUE points smaller municipalities must obtain to qualify for a moratorium from 75 HUE points to 50 HUE 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 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).
  • Makes affordable housing moratoriums more achievable for midsize cities, when they are applying for a second moratorium and would last for 5 years. The current threshold to qualify for a moratorium is 2%, this bill lowers that threshold to 1.5%. While this goal is still very difficult to attain. It is a step in the right direction.
  • Requires towns to adopt plans to state how they will increase the amount of affordable units in the town.
  • Contains a five year sunset provision

Under the current 8-30g statue, towns like Fairfield had very little chance of ever achieving the high bar for a moratorium that allowed predatory developers to sidestep local zoning laws. It’s clearly been a difficult and complicated issue to work on with the majority in the legislature not in favor of any changes.

State Rep. Larry Butler (D-Waterbury), State Rep. Brenda Kupchick (R-132), State Senator Tony Hwang (R-28) and Laura Devlin (R-134).

State Rep. Larry Butler (D-Waterbury), State Rep. Brenda Kupchick (R-132), State Senator Tony Hwang (R-28) and State Rep. Laura Devlin (R-134).

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