Slossberg Announces Committee Passage of Affordable Housing Reform Bill
Legislation submitted by Milford’s legislative delegation aims to prevent abuse of Connecticut affordable housing law
Senator Gayle Slossberg (D-Milford) cast her vote in support of a bill she introduced that aims to empower residents and prevent developers from forcing unreasonable housing developments into Connecticut communities. The bill has now passed in the General Assembly’s Housing Committee, on which Slossberg serves as a Co-Chair, and moves on to the floor of the Senate.
“This law establishes common sense, reasonable changes that do not undermine the Affordable Housing Act, but provide a measure of fairness to communities that are subject to the Act’s provisions,” said Senator Slossberg. “We need to continue promoting the creation of affordable housing options in our state, but not allow developers to use existing statutes to force the approval of ill-advised construction projects. At the public hearing on this bill, we heard from many residents of Milford and other communities who know all too well that the current housing law is being exploited by greedy developers. This law eliminates loopholes to ensure our state is better equipped to promote the original goals of the Affordable Housing Act.”
Of the 175,000 affordable housing units built in Connecticut since passage of the Affordable Housing Act, only 5,000 are a result of the Affordable Housing Appeal Act, commonly referred to as 8-30(g). Accordingly, the Appeals Act has produced a very small number of units of affordable housing in relation to the state’s overall effort to increase affordable housing.
Connecticut is the only state in the country that allows private developers carte blanch to disregard local zoning rules. No other state with affordable housing procedures allows private developers such unlimited power to force through construction proposals that supersede local zoning rules. Most of the problems reported by communities relate to private developers abusing the vast power they have been given by 8-30(g).
Senate Bill 535 makes common sense changes to the 30-year-old statute that has had very little update over its lifetime. The new law aims to address some of the abuses by:
- Limiting developments on small parcels
- Allowing towns to adhere to sound planning principles of design
- Ensuring appeals are heard by a rotation of judges rather than just one judge making every decision, and concentrating power in the hands of one person
- Requiring developers to pay their taxes
- Counting units more equitably