Editor's Note: Since the following letter is based on comments made by Mayor Ben Blake, the Milford Mirror asked Blake to confirm its contents. The mayor approved the letter as one that reflects his beliefs and statements.
To the Editor:
I recently spoke to Mayor Blake about the number of affordable applications in Milford. The mayor shared with me he was deeply disappointed that improvements to the affordable housing statute, CGS Sec 8-30g were not enacted in the state’s last Legislative Session. He believes Milford receives a disproportionate number of 8-30g development applications.
Mayor Blake told me he does not disagree with the spirit of the law; in fact, he supports it. He is hopeful that Milford remains affordable enough for our children to manage to remain in Milford and raise their families here as well.
The mayor takes issue with the technicalities of the law and the way affordable inventories are counted. To that end, last year he impaneled a team to tally the number of units that meet the state’s affordability requirements. Last week he called a special meeting of the state delegation to discuss the failures of the last session as well as plans and tactics to amend the statute in the future.
The mayor is also collaborating with local property owners, seeking their assistance in placing deed restrictions on existing properties in an effort to boost the city’s affordable housing inventory.
As he pointed out to me, these applications can be denied all day long, but ultimately, they end up in court. The Pond Point case is a prime example: the developer’s appeal was successful at the Superior Court level, and the city is left bearing the legal costs. That approach does not help anyone.
The mayor is looking to work with our state delegation to change the law so that 40 year deed restrictions are no longer the standard by which affordable inventories are assessed. At the same time, he continues to meet with local property owners to explore every opportunity to meet the current inventory expectation and put an end to shoe-horning further developments into neighborhoods which can’t accommodate the size, density or character of the project.
Joannie Rousseau