Affordable housing plan ekes by moratorium in Milford
MILFORD — One of the last affordable housing developments — at least for four more years — was passed by the Planning and Zoning Board this week and unlike other public hearings that drew large crowds, not one person spoke against the plan.
Milford Mayor Ben Blake announced in August that Milford had met the state requirements for an affordable housing moratorium, which means developers hoping to build in Milford using the 8-30g affordable housing statute wouldn’t be able to do so for at least four years, or Aug. 20, 2023. The city also may be eligible for an extension to Aug. 20, 2028.
But the small project at 34 Gulf St., a sister project to two other small adjacent complexes, was already in the pipeline when the moratorium took effect.
The owner, 296 LLC., represented by attorney Thomas Lynch, sought a special permit to build 12 two-bedroom units, with four of them set aside for those who meet affordable income guidelines set by the state.
Lynch characterized the development as the third phase of the project. Phases 1 and Phase 2 are 22 units nearby.
Lynch told PZB members that in this case the dwellings improved the area, as two blighted buildings were knocked down. The units are on the side of Gulf Street near Cherry Street and adjacent to the lot where Milford’s original ShopRite was located.
Prior to the moratorium, Milford residents said they felt under siege as plans poured in for affordable housing in many single-family neighborhoods. Some people had misconceptions about affordable housing and others were concerned about quality of life, traffic, safety.
Under the 8-30g “loophole” as it’s known, it’s almost impossible for planning boards to deny projects that include an affordable component because they usually lose in court after expensive appeals.
There are two ways to achieve a moratorium, either by having 10 percent of all housing in a community qualify as affordable under the state law, or through a point accumulation. Percentage wise, about 6 percent of Milford’s housing stock is deemed affordable under the 8-30g law.
However, after canvassing housing units across Milford, city leaders came up with a total of 467 points, which exceeds the 461.48 the city needed to qualify, according Milford Director of Economic and Community Development Julie Nash.
Blake has said the “moratorium returns control of planning and development to the city.”
Lynch told PZB members his client is able to rent the current units for about $2,000 a month and the least that would be paid by a tenant through the state’s affordable housing program is $1,100.