Rose announces hearing on affordable housing law

The state legislature’s Housing Committee will hold a public hearing in New Haven next week concerning the affordable housing statute, which was a hot topic in Milford over the past year and more.

State Rep. Kim Rose (D-Milford), vice chair of the legislature’s Housing Committee, said the hearing will address the affordable housing statute with an eye toward finding “a sustainable solution that will help Milford and other towns with the affordable housing mandate.”

“The existing law, otherwise known as 8-30g, has been used by contractors to bypass local zoning laws, creating serious concerns for neighborhoods in Milford and other cities and towns,” Rose said in a press release.

Last February, Rose led a meeting with local officials and Housing Committee Co-Chair Larry Butler (D-Waterbury) in Milford, where they toured affordable and public housing developments and discussed specific needs in Milford. “Both my former colleagues, James Maroney and Paul Davis were equally invested in this issue. Together with Senator Slossberg, we were able to make a strong case to take us where we are today,” Rose said.

An affordable housing moratorium crafted to temporarily halt affordable housing projects was in place in Milford in 2014, and ended with the new year.

The moratorium, spearheaded by state Sen. Gayle Slossberg, put a one-year halt on housing projects filed under the state's affordable housing law if at least 6% of the community's housing qualified as “affordable” under the state law. It also put a one-year halt on court appeals for affordable housing projects that had been denied.

When the moratorium was proposed, 6.05% of Milford's housing qualified as affordable under state law.

There was other activity on the affordable housing front in Milford in 2014. Milford's Planning and Zoning Board unanimously voted to deny an affordable housing proposal that would have placed eight apartments on a .62-acre piece of land on New Haven Avenue, citing health and safely concerns.

In July, a 257-unit housing plan on Bic Drive that city officials had expected would be approved was denied because of the affordable housing moratorium. The Planning & Zoning Board unanimously rejected an application from Garden Homes Residential of Stamford, which was attempting to submit an apartment plan for 460 Bic Drive under the state's affordable housing law.

Shortly after that, Richard Freedman, president of Garden Homes Management Corp., wrote to the Office of Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity, accusing the city and state officials of unfair housing practices.

Garden Homes recently returned to the Planning and Zoning Board with the application because the moratorium has ended.

Rose said several proposals have been submitted to the Housing Committee that will be heard at the public hearing on Thursday, Feb. 5, from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Board of Alders Chambers in New Haven, 165 Church Street (2nd floor).

“I strongly encourage all residents and homeowners concerned about this issue to save the date and come join us for this critical discussion,” Rep. Rose said. “This is our chance to have our voices heard. We have the power to make a difference.”