Alderman addresses use of affordable housing law
Editor's Note: The following letter by Alderman Bryan Anderson was sent to the state Housing Committee, with a copy to the Milford Mirror for publication.
Dear Sen. Slossberg, Rep. Butler, Housing Committee members:
Please forgive me for not being able to testify in person. My employment as a New York City educator prevents me from giving remarks in Hartford, but the importance of this issue does require my comments for the record.
As a boy, the relative calm and order of my suburban neighborhood was torn asunder by unscrupulous real estate speculators who made intentional late-night phone calls designed to frighten homeowners into selling their homes. At times, even arson was threatened. These experiences were not isolated to my community. They were widespread. Greed was the motive. So much so, that it led to Congressional adoption of the Fair Housing Bill of 1968, which is still the law of the land in 2017.
As a former public housing director and housing specialist, I can attest that certain popular housing programs were designed to insure economic dispersal and integration, yet over many years, savvy real estate investors, multifamily housing owners, and developers used their influence to insure a concentration of mortgage subsidies, certificates and vouchers were targeted within certain neighborhoods. Again, greed was the motive.
With respect to CGS 8-30g, which many of you have looked to amend, it is important for municipalities that have made progress in meeting statutory goals to be treated more fairly under statutory language than those municipalities having made little or no progress since the statutes' enactment. The City of Milford is a city of diversity with a variety of housing options, including "affordable" rental units and condominiums and houses for sale on the lower economic scale. For developers to dictate the location and number of units without taking into account local needs and desires, or worse, to threaten municipal leaders with phrases such as, "If you don't approve my application, I will refile it under the 8-30g statutes", is reprehensible. Again, greed triumphs.
Therefore, I hope that you will adopt language that creates a tiered format for municipalities to achieve housing unit goals based on what they have accomplished to date, and one that incentivizes their participation.
Thank you for your consideration.
Bryan N. Anderson
Alderman, City of Milford