Milford announces moratorium on 8-30g affordable housing
Milford Mayor Ben Blake announced Monday that Milford has met the state requirements for an affordable housing moratorium, which means developers hoping to build in Milford using the 8-30g affordable housing statute won’t be able to do so.
During the four-year moratorium, effective until Aug. 20, 2023, with eligibility for an extension to Aug. 20, 2028, Milford will “no longer be subject to the harshest elements of the state’s affordable housing law which allows for abuse by predatory developers who threaten to bypass local zoning regulations for monetary gain,” Blake said during a press conference Monday.
He said the “moratorium returns control of planning and development to the city.”
The moratorium does not apply to developments that have already been approved or filed, only to newly filed applications.
There are two ways to achieve a moratorium, either by having 10 percent of all housing 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.
The mayor thanked everyone who helped, with a special shout out to former state Sen. Gayle Slossberg, co-chairwoman of the Housing Committee, and state Rep. Kim Rose, vice chairwoman, in July of 2017 when the Senate and House pushed through a reform to the 8-30g affordable housing statute that made it easier for cities to reach moratorium level.
Among other changes, the bill made Ryder Woods, a mobile home community in Milford, count toward Milford’s application for a moratorium. That development alone gave Milford more than 200 points.
Rose, D-118, attended Monday’s press conference at Milford City Hall, along with state Sen. James Maroney, D-14, and state Reps. Charles Ferraro, R-117, and Kathy Kennedy, R-119. All said the moratorium is a win for the city.
Rose said years ago she was told that no one was ever going to change the state’s affordable housing law.
“To me those were fighting words,” she said, adding that she and Slossberg led “an historic override” of then Gov. Dannel Malloy’s veto of the revised bill.
At the time, Malloy decried the bill, saying it would “perpetuate the harmful effects of bad economic policy and institutional segregation, damaging our state’s economy and its moral foundation,” according to the Connecticut Mirror.
In announcing the moratorium this week, Blake said the city supports the original intent of the 8-30g law, to provide housing to those wishing to live in and be part of a community otherwise not affordable.
“Milford has been afflicted, however, by the unintended consequences of the well-intentioned legislation,” Blake said in a prepared statement. “Developers have circumvented carefully crafted, purposeful zoning regulations to maximize profits.”
He, as well as Milford’s representatives in Hartford, said achieving the moratorium proves that Milford has been conscientious about creating housing that is affordable for seniors and new home buyers.
Darla Lenihan, who lives on Meadowside Road, said she wishes the moratorium had been accomplished sooner. Two developments approved in her neighborhood will leave her single-family home with seven cottages to the right of her backyard, and 15 apartments behind her house.
“At this point, with all this change, I’m shell-shocked,” Lenihan said recently, adding that she feels like her quiet backyard will soon sit in the middle of a development.
“I’m heartbroken,” Lenihan said.
According to Aaron Turner, director of government affairs and communications for the Connecticut Department of Housing, Milford is one of seven municipalities that have applied for a moratorium and currently have one in place. The others are Wilton, Darien, Farmington, New Canaan, Brookfield and Westport.