Milford P&Z approves affordable housing plan

Milford City Hall, Spring 2021

Milford City Hall, Spring 2021

Hearst Connecticut Media

MILFORD — Some 45 percent of renters and 26 percent of homeowners are considered cost-burdened across the city, according to a 71-page report provided by South Central Council of Governments and RKG Associates Inc.

In response to this issue — and to fulfill a state mandate — the Planning and Zoning Board, at its meeting May 3, approved the city’s Affordable Housing Plan. According to David Sulkis, city planner, all municipalities are required to update the plan every five years.

In its plan, the city set goals to address its housing needs, including preserving and maintaining existing affordable housing stock, increasing the diversity of residents in Milford by ensuring the availability of housing with a mix of housing types at a variety of price points and providing housing options that support seniors who would like to remain in Milford.

The journey to create the affordable housing plan started on Feb. 2, when city officials hosted a forum to discuss what affordable housing means for the city.

Currently, the city is halfway to achieving the state’s mandated 10 percent affordable housing threshold, and continues, to permit large multi-family structures and support local homeowners in maintaining housing at affordable price points.

The report considered those spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing needs, and having less than 70 percent of their income remaining for other necessities, as burdened by their housing cost. In the state, about 48 percent of renter households and 32 percent of owner households are considered to be burdened by their housing costs.

To not be considered cost-burdened in Milford, a household must have an income of at least $56,922. According to the report, eight out of the 10 highest employment occupations, such as food service, transportation workers, office support jobs and sales jobs, pay less than $60,000 a year.

According to the report, the majority of residents who responded to the SCRCOG survey said there is not enough supply of rental housing, particularly senior/age-restricted, and affordable/workforce types, as well as one- and two-bedroom units.

And in terms of public sentiment, the majority of residents indicated that rental housing would have a positive impact on local businesses and on the community as a whole, and a negative impact on public services, public finances and traffic volumes, according to the survey.

In February, officials took to the streets to tour what is already in place and where housing would be best suited in years to come.

The report said the city highlighted four areas where housing investment may be supported — the train station area, Bridgeport Avenue Area, Monroe Street area and Naugatuck Avenue.