Legislators override Malloy's housing veto

Senator Gayle Slossberg (D-Milford) and her colleagues in the Senate and House of Representatives voted Monday to override Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s veto of HB 6880, a reform to the 8-30g affordable housing statute which originally received an overwhelming, bipartisan vote of 30-6 in the Senate and 116-33 in the House of Representatives. The veto passed with the required two-thirds majority in the Senate by a vote of 24-12 and a vote of 101-47 in the House, according to a press release from Slossberg.

“The facts have spoken on this issue, and the people of Connecticut have been vocal in their support of reform. I am thrilled that we were able to pass the override and put this change into law,” said Senator Slossberg. “The current 8-30g law gives private developers the power to ignore local zoning decisions and site their developments wherever they choose. This disproportionate power given to developers has not helped Connecticut grow our affordable housing stock, and we are putting an end to it today.

The new law also makes critical changes to the threshold needed to qualify for a moratorium. Since the inception of our affordable housing law, no midsize city has ever succeeded in meeting the threshold. Doing so would require a rapid increase in housing construction that is unimaginable even in the best of economic times. It has become very clear to local leaders and community residents that reform is needed, and I am glad we were able to deliver that.”

The bill makes several critical reforms that would restore the ability of communities like Milford to make sound planning decisions. First, the bill makes Ryder Woods, a mobile home community, count toward Milford’s application for an affordable housing moratorium. Including this affordable, livable community recognizes the reality of housing opportunities in Milford and will bring the city very close to securing a moratorium.

Second, the bill makes affordable housing moratoriums more achievable for midsize cities. 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, lowering the threshold recognizes that it was set at an unattainable level, placing communities of this size at great hardship.

Third, midsize cities like Milford will be able to get a 5-year moratorium for their second moratorium instead of the current four years. This will allow Milford and similar communities the time to ensure their housing stock is kept at target levels to qualify for future moratoriums.

Additionally, the bill will:

  • Lower the amount of ‘Housing Unit Equivalency’ (HUE) points a municipality must attain before a moratorium can be declared from 75 to 50;

  • Award bonus HUE points for family units that contain at least three bedrooms, elderly units when 60% of an affordable housing completion certificate is tied to family housing, and family units located within an Incentive Housing Zone (IHZ);

  • Count affordable housing that is developed in an IHZ; and

  • 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).