Mayor Blake urges changes to affordable housing law

Mayor Ben Blake brought the affordable housing fight to Hartford recently, calling for relief from the “unintended and unfortunate consequences” of Connecticut General Statutes Sec. 8-30g, according to a press release issued by the mayor’s office.
Blake presented testimony commending the State’s Housing Committee for raising a bill to address outdated affordable housing laws across Connecticut.

While outlining suggested revisions to the legislation and supporting the amendments to a bill proposed by Senator Gayle Slossberg, Blake maintained that the original intent of 8-30g – to assist low to moderate income persons – has been lost.

Instead, he said developers are cleverly using the statute to circumvent local zoning regulations.  By allowing developers to bypass prudent zoning laws, Blake argued that the state law is encouraging inappropriate development. Structures too dense for local neighborhoods are crammed into small parcels where they just don’t fit.

Blake laid-out extensive data and analyses documenting the abundant affordable housing stock that exists in Milford, and reaffirmed that “we have numerous affordable apartments, many well-below the financial qualification threshold identified by statute.

“Many of our affordable properties pre-date zoning and housing laws, which require a deed-restriction in order to be officially considered affordable under current law,” Blake said. “This artificial statutory condition creates an uneven playing field, making it difficult for certain Connecticut communities to qualify for a moratorium or exemption under 8-30g.”

Blake called upon the legislative committee to consider additional ways this

statute might be amended to better meet the needs of communities like Milford.

He suggested the following four points:

The standard for moratorium and exemption qualification should be identical.

Family units and elderly units should be awarded the same points.

Developers should be subject to local zoning regulations regardless of affordability.

Open land in a municipality, or more importantly the lack thereof, should be taken into account when applying a minimum percentage requirement to the affordable housing stock.

“Quite frankly,” Blake said, “Milford does not have the land which may be available in other Connecticut municipalities, and this blanket minimum percentage places our city at a great disadvantage.”