State Senator Toni Boucher (R-26) applauded the recent move by both houses of the Connecticut General Assembly to override the governor’s veto of changes to the state’s 30-year-old affordable housing statute. The legislation requires municipalities to adopt strategic plans for increasing affordable housing while maintaining more control over the developments.

“For years, town had little or no recourse when predatory developers wanted to build large, densely-populated housing projects without conforming to local zoning laws,” Sen. Boucher said. “By requiring municipalities to develop their own plans for addressing affordable housing, this legislation gives local community members and leaders a stake in what is developed in their communities. This promotes well-thought out community development with a vision for the future success of the area, not just the profits to be made by selling as many units as possible.”

Sen. Boucher said she is disappointed that the Governor initially vetoed the legislation because it was a true bi-partisan collaboration between legislators and local community leaders.

“This has been many years and months in the making,” she said. “We did not eliminate affordable housing requirements from the statutes. We updated a 30-year-old, one-size-fits-all piece of legislation to respond to the fact that each community is unique and has its own character. Communities should be able to maintain that character.”

Under the prior legislation, communities with less than 10 percent of housing stock available as affordable, developers had the right to build larger, denser housing projects without conforming with town zoning laws, as long as 30 percent of the housing built is “affordable rate.” Because of this state law, a developer whose plan is rejected by town planning and zoning commissions for non-conformity to town regulations, could sue and potentially win in court for the right to build outsize housing using the state statute 30G as justification.

The new law:

  • Lowers minimum number of Housing Unit Equivalent (HUE) points smaller municipalities must  obtain to qualify for a moratorium from 75 points to 50 points
  • Encourages the development of family units and senior units tied to family housing, and family units located in incentive housing zones
  • Makes income-restricted units in an Incentive Housing Zone development eligible for points toward a moratorium.
  • Changes the definition of Median Income applicable to IHZ’s to conform to 8-30g’s definition (the lesser of state median income and the area median income as determined by HUD).
  • Establish a 2nd moratorium for municipalities with at least 20,000 dwelling units after qualifying for 1st.
  • Requires towns to adopt strategic plans to state on how they will increase the amount of affordable units within their community.
  • Contains a five year sunset provision

Sen. Boucher represents the communities of Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.