Milford mayor ‘extremely discouraged’ by veto
MILFORD >> Mayor Ben Blake and state Rep. Kim Rose, both Democrats from Milford, have expressed their concern over Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s decision to veto.
Blake, in a press release, said he is extremely discouraged and Rose, a four-term state representative, said in a press release that she was disillusioned.
Blake, an outspoken opponent of the current law, has contended that the statute was written to allow for abuse by developers who look to flout local zoning regulations for their own personal gain, the release said.
“I understand the spirit of Connecticut’s affordable housing law, and consistent with that spirit, Milford has exceeded all expectations for providing housing affordability,” Blake said in the release.
While Malloy says that “the Milford-Ansonia-Seymour metropolitan area is one of the five most expensive areas to live in,” Blake points out that Milford is a working-class community where 32.72% of the households are low- and moderate-income, the release said.
In addition, Milford is one of only 12 municipalities in the state designated to receive federal HUD funds to assist its elevated level of low- to moderate-income residents.
Blake cites Milford’s diverse housing stock, which includes low income, affordable, Section 8 housing, and five significant public housing complexes to support individuals of various income levels.
Blake points to how Milford has converted decommissioned schools and repurposed other public facilities to create senior and affordable housing.
“Yet even after the great lengths to which Milford has gone to create housing for young professionals, working families, and our senior population, we still haven’t reached the artificial thresholds and don’t make the arbitrary quota set by people in Hartford nearly 30 years ago.
“Our ability to adopt and live by sound planning principles and our right to local, self-determination has been hijacked. This law is misguided and must be rewritten,” he said.
As §8-30g is drafted, Milford is not getting credit where proper credit is due, he said.
As a mature community dating back to 1639, many of affordable properties were developed prior to the law’s cut-off, which only credits those affordable units that were deed restricted after 1990, the release said.
This artificial statutory condition distorts the actual affordability of Milford’s housing stock. Moreover, the present statutory formula creates an uneven playing field making it difficult for certain mature Connecticut communities, like Milford, to qualify for a moratorium or exemption under CGS § 8-30g, it said.
While Malloy contends that “all a community has to do is show that deed-restricted affordable units represent 2% of the housing stock,” this position is misleading and doesn’t take into account the development maturity of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities, Blake said.
While Milford exceeds the income requirements for exemption and/or moratorium, the state doesn’t “count” Milford’s affordable housing built before 1990 and/or not deed restricted.
“The proposed improvements to the Affordable Housing Law were taken up this legislative session and adopted by both houses with wide margins.
“The governor’s veto stands in stark contrast with the broad, bipartisan support for the long overdue improvements to the law. Clearly, this fight is not over and it will not be over until our voices are heard and Connecticut corrects the serious flaws in the Affordable Housing Law and brings greater fairness and consistency to the process,” Blake said.
Rose, House vice chairwoman of the legislature’s Housing Committee and assistant majority whip, issued a prepared release.
“We struggled to craft a bill that would help Milford, yet not jeopardize the building of affordable housing throughout the state.
“While I am disillusioned with this setback, I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in the Senate to accomplish what my constituents have been asking for so long.
“Nothing in this bill would have hindered the building of affordable housing so I am very disappointed at this veto and the governor’s total disregard for our neighborhoods in Milford that have been suffering from continued unscrupulous development.
“Over seven years of work to negotiate sensible changes to SS8-30g and to help Milford reach a moratorium have been effectively postponed with this veto,” Rose said.
Rose said the vetoed bill would have:
• Allowed Ryder Mobile Home park to be included in the city’s count toward affordable housing stock.
• Contained a five-year sunset provision.
• Lowered minimum number of HUE points smaller municipalities must obtain to qualify for a moratorium from 75 to 50 HUE points.
• Encouraged the development of three-bedroom family units, senior units tied to family housing, and family units in incentive housing zones.
• Made income-restricted units in an IHZ development eligible for points toward a moratorium.
• Awarded 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.
• Changed the definition of Median Income applicable to IHZs to conform to 8-30gs definition (the lesser of state median income and the area median income as determined by HUD).
• Made 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. It is a step in the right direction.
Rose is also a member of the Internship and Veterans Affairs committees, and co-chairwoman of the Women’s Caucus.