Madison Multifamily Housing Raises Concerns at Inland Wetland Hearing

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MADISON –  An environmental scientist hired by a neighboring condo association warned that a proposed 18-unit apartment building near Hammonasset State Park would likely pollute a pond on the property without enough trees to filter out nitrogen from septic tanks. The proposal for Cottage and Mill Apartments at 35 Cottage Rd. has drawn opposition from neighboring residents, who say the 7,800 square foot, 18-unit building would harm the wildlife in a pond on the site – which is home to frogs, salamanders, and neighbors say hosts migratory birds. The developers behind the proposal – 35 Cottage LLC, registered to Michael

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Developer Takes Madison to Court Over Pared-Down Affordable Housing Approval

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MADISON – The applicants behind an affordable housing proposal in Madison told CT Examiner they plan to appeal a Planning and Zoning Commission’s decision to reduce the size of the housing project as a condition of approval. The commission revised the proposal after it drew opposition from neighbors voicing concerns about traffic on the narrow street, and with the risk of six septic systems in such a small area.  The developers, 92 Scotland LLC, applied for the project under the state’s 8-30g affordable housing statute which  allows developers a workaround from typical zoning constraints like density and setbacks.  The commission

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Old Lyme Property, Once Slated for Affordable Housing, Sold to ‘Overseas’ Buyer

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OLD LYME — A 12.3 acre parcel at 16 Neck Road, which was the subject a contentious application in 2018 to build 37 units of affordable housing, has been sold to an unknown buyer for $1,050,000. The buyer is a newly-formed LLC, 16 Riverview Property Corp., according to town clerk records, with an address matching Westport-based Keystone Capital Corporation, whose president and CEO Frank Nocito told CT Examiner that he had bought the property on behalf of an “overseas” group. He did not provide further information.  “I had very little to do with it. I just happened to be the

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Six Single-Family Houses Planned for Rental in Madison

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MADISON — A local group of developers is proposing to build six single family houses, each 1,000-square-feet in size, on a little over a half acre of land under a state statute that allows affordable housing developers to bypass local zoning approvals. The proposal has raised considerable concern among neighboring residents. Nearly 50 Madison residents signed a letter urging the Planning and Zoning Commission to oppose the project over concerns with additional traffic and potential hazards of burying six septic systems on the .55-acre property. It’s the latest in a string of proposals for multifamily housing that have drawn neighborhood

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100-Unit Apartment Complex Planned in Guilford Under State’s Affordable Housing Statute

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GUILFORD — A plan to build a two-building apartment complex with 100 units in Guilford has been filed under the state’s affordable housing statute, 8-30g. Connecticut Affordable Housing Initiative, a company registered to James McMahon, plans to build the apartments on Hubbard Road, near Interstate 95 in Guilford. The project would include 30 units designated for people making 80 percent or less of the state median income. Town Planner George Kral said the project was the first application the town had received under 8-30g, and that the project would be much bigger than any multi-family housing currently in Guilford. McMahon

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Jury Finds Cromwell Liable for Discrimination, Town to Appeal

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A jury in a federal district court in Bridgeport found the Town of Cromwell liable for more than $5 million in damages for discriminating against a nonprofit serving people with disabilities in a decision issued Friday.   Cromwell Town Manager Anthony Salvatore said the town planned to challenge the decision.  “The Town of Cromwell has several viable grounds for appeal and post-trial motions that are currently being prepared, so we can’t comment further,” Salvatore said.  The nonprofit, Gilead Community Services, provides housing to people with mental illnesses and disabilities in Middlesex County, and attempted to establish a community home for six

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Tax Abatement at Issue as Campbell Grain Moves to Referendum

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STONINGTON — A referendum on Tuesday to stop a previously approved tax abatement for an affordable housing project in Pawcatuck has exposed financial and social rifts in the community that extend into town politics.  At the Aug. 9 town meeting, residents approved by voice vote a $690,748 tax abatement over 10 years for WinnDevelopment, an affordable housing developer that has proposed the construction of 82 apartments — including 65 affordable units— on the long vacant Campbell Grain property, a 1.89-acre parcel at 15 Coggswell St. and 27 W. Broad St. According to the agreement, WinnDevelopment will pay $695,000 in taxes

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Middletown Developer Pitches Big Plans for Mixed-Use, Business and Events Space

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MIDDLETOWN – Stripped down to its brick walls and steel beams, the inside of 545 Main Street is almost a blank canvas for new owner, JR Hargreaves. A lifelong resident of Middletown, who first lived on Ferry Street just a few hundred feet away from the building – Hargreaves has plans to transform a space that for decades was home to an indoor roller skating rink into a mixed-use development combining apartments, office and retail space for small businesses, and a community event space. After months of teardown, the back of the building that housed the roller rink is now

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WPCA Chair Presents a $2.7 Million Sewer Project For Developing Ledyard Center

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LEDYARD – Town officials last week presented a plan that would open up Ledyard Center to multi-family housing developments by using state and federal money to extend a sewer line to the area. At its meeting last Wednesday, the Town Council heard the proposal to complete the $2.7 million project without using any town funds – instead using federal money given to towns from the American Rescue Plan act and a new state matching grant from the Department of Economic and Community Development. Water Pollution Control Authority Chairman Ed Lynch said the plan still needs to be finalized before it

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RPA Report Pitches ADUs as a Big Answer to Affordable Housing

STAMFORD — According to a new report released by the Regional Plan Association, Fairfield County homeowners could create 40,000 new apartments by 2040 simply by building Accessory Dwelling Units and converting large single family homes into duplexes or multiple living spaces. CT Examiner spoke with Marcel Negret, a senior planner at RPA, about what those numbers mean on a practical level for town leaders and homeowners. The estimates are based on a new law, Public Act 21-29, that requires towns in Connecticut to allow accessory dwelling units “as of right” — or opt out before Jan. 2023. Given that 96

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Housing Formula Changes Calculus for Building Affordable Housing in the Region

Despite concerns that a new funding formula would limit investment in affordable housing in the eastern portion of the state, the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority approved a plan to change how the agency scores applications for a highly sought after tax credit program. The new formula, based on census tract data rather than town borders, scores areas where lower-income housing is most needed, based on criteria like the availability of jobs and school outcomes. Stonington, for example, was listed as a very high opportunity town under the old “opportunity map” — a designation that gave affordable housing projects a high

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Supply Delays, Tight Workforce Shape Hot Housing Market in Connecticut

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Tony Brodeur, owner of North Cove Construction in Old Saybrook, said that recently he’s had to wait as long as 23 weeks to get windows for a construction job. Usually, he said, windows would arrive in about 14 days. “Appliances are just as bad,” Brodeur said. The appliances he ordered in March aren’t expected to arrive until October.  His experience isn’t uncommon, according to national industry data and reports from Connecticut and across the country about supply chain issues that have generated delays and price hikes for construction materials. These conditions are contributing to a jump in the cost of

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Eligibility Shift May Limit New Housing, Upset Plans Across Southeast Connecticut

A proposed change in how the state distributes federal subsidies for low-income housing could limit investment in some eastern Connecticut towns, Democratic lawmakers warn, and reshape established patterns of development for others, like Stonington and East Lyme. The Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, which oversees and distributes incentive programs to develop low-income and affordable housing, has proposed changing its “opportunity map” to reflect census tracts rather than municipal-level data to determine eligibility for funding. Projects in areas with higher opportunity scores – based on factors that include school performance and access to jobs – are more likely to receive tax credits,

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The Docks Is Open to Renters, More Buildings to Come

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NEW LONDON — Officials and well-wishers enjoyed the harbor view from the sunny fourth floor deck of The Docks, a new 137-unit building at 500 Bank St., before stepping indoors for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of construction on Thursday.  On the deck, pre-ceremony, Jason Kambitsis, senior vice president of acquisitions and development for AR Building Co. of Pittsburgh, which developed the building, said there had been many concepts for the 2.5-acre site formerly known as Perkins Green.  “Since we’ve been working on this, there were myriad ideas that happened on this property before, but we’ve always looked

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Debating Changes to Connecticut’s Housing and Zoning Laws

On Thursday night, the State Senate approved changes Connecticut’s housing and zoning laws after a lengthy debate, for and against the legislation. Below are a series of voices capturing the spirit of that debate. State Sen. Martin Looney, D-New Haven, argued Connecticut is held back in many ways because of its municipal structure, which dates back to the 17th century, and what he called the state’s “hyper-localism.”  “No one laying out Connecticut today would devise 169 separate municipalities without some sort of organizing or regional construct to help them engage in cooperation,” he said.  Looney said that because the state

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Housing Bill Get Nods in Senate — a Small Step — as Lawmakers Debate Direction

HARTFORD — The State Senate approved a zoning bill on Thursday night that was hailed as “historic” by housing advocates, and a step toward state control of local decision-making by its opponents. The bill passed in the House on May 20 and still requires the signature of Gov. Ned Lamont.  The legislation, approved in a 23-13 vote, includes provisions that allow accessory dwelling units as of right on lots with single family houses and reduce parking minimums, but also allows towns to opt out of some requirements by a ⅔ vote of their Board of Selectmen or legislative board. Among

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Former Mohegan Sun CEO to Build First Multifamily Housing Complex in Haddam

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A 56-unit, market-rate apartment complex will become the first multifamily housing project in Haddam next year, after receiving approval from the town planning and zoning commission last Thursday. The Haddam Planning and Zoning Committee unanimously approved a site plan for a 56 unit apartment complex at 1564 Saybrook Road and 3 Brookes Court, near Bridge Street. The developing company, Elm Tree Partners, is owned by former Mohegan Sun CEO Jeff Hartmann. The project includes three apartment buildings and one community clubhouse. Each will be served by its own septic system to satisfy health code regulations, according to Civil engineer Graham

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Few See ‘Win,’ as House Approves Less Far-Reaching Housing Law

HARTFORD — The House approved an affordable housing bill on Thursday night that cut back on more far-reaching provisions proposed in a number of housing bills previously debated this session — a compromise that satisfied neither housing advocates looking for strong statewide measures nor opponents of state-mandated zoning.   H.B. 6107, as amended, passed with 84 yay votes, 59 nays and 8 members not voting.  State Rep. Cristin McCarthy Vahey, D-Fairfield, who is co-chair of the Planning and Development Committee, presented the bill, which she said reorganizes the Zoning Enabling Act and amends the state land use statute “to provide greater clarity

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Five Questions on Zoning and Housing with Jason Rojas

State Rep. Jason Rojas, D-East Hartford, is a sponsor of H.B. 6611, the “Fair Share” affordable housing bill, which was killed in the Judiciary Committee on May 3. The bill would have assessed affordable housing needs statewide and allocated a “fair share” goal by region based on a formula that included a town’s wealth, median income, and percentage of poverty and multifamily housing stock.  On Friday, Rojas spoke with CT Examiner about housing and zoning issues in Connecticut. He is the vice chair of the Legislative Committee and began serving as House Majority Leader in 2021. What should the state’s

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Housing Activists Call for Action at Rally in Deep River

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DEEP RIVER —  At the front steps of Town Hall on Saturday about 75 people rallied in support of housing equity, zoning reform and S.B. 1024 — a housing and zoning bill that will likely advance to a vote in the General Assembly during the legislative session ending June 10.  Three groups — DesegregateCT, The Valley Stands Up, and March for Justice — co-hosted the “Rally for Housing Justice,” which included speakers who urged attendees to tell their state representatives and senators to support S.B. 1024.  “Legislative leadership must call this bill, we want for it to get a vote. We

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Affordable Housing Advocates Look to Revive ‘Fair Share’ Bill Before End of Session

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On Monday, House Bill 6611, the so-called “Fair Share” affordable housing bill was killed in committee, but State Rep. Jason Rojas, D-East Hartford, who sponsored the legislation, said he is not giving up.  “My strategy is I am going to talk to [State Rep. Craig Fishbein, D-Wallingford] who had threatened to filibuster the bill, which is exactly why it died. I’m actually going to talk to him and see if there’s an opportunity to find some middle ground,” Rojas told CT Examiner on Thursday. The Fair Share legislation would have assessed each town in Connecticut with a goal for affordable

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Madison the Site of a Rally for Local Control of Housing and Zoning

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MADISON — In front of Town Hall Saturday, about 45 people, including local and state legislators and members of CT169Strong, rallied against several proposed housing and zoning bills that they said will transfer local control to Hartford.  “The issues that really resonate in Madison are local control — we’re a very engaged community here, people come out and they have opinions. We are really good at problem solving in a way that works for Madison, so I can’t support anything that takes local control away from us,” said Madison Selectman Bruce Wilson, who was among the speakers at the rally. 

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Steven Mullins Takes 5 Questions on Zoning and Housing

CT Examiner asked five questions on the topic of zoning and affordable housing to Steven R. Mullins, a long-time member of the Planning and Zoning Commission of West Haven. Mullins has been a prominent opponent of S.B. 1024 and several other zoning bills that are currently being considered in the legislature.  What should the state’s role be in providing affordability for Connecticut residents? The way I see it, as it stands right now. I can live anywhere that I can afford to live, and being a minority I’m able to do that. Anyone can live anywhere that they can actually

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Lamont Announces $58 Million Federal Grant to Tackle Homelessness Over 10 Years

Alongside U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge and Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Gov. Ned Lamont announced $58 million in federal dollars to fund affordable housing and services for the homeless in a press conference Wednesday afternoon.  “The Department of Housing and Urban Development has allocated American Rescue Plan funds to those who have borne the brunt of this crisis: people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness,” Fudge said. “Five billion dollars in homelessness assistance has been allocated to 651 grantees, including states, tribal areas and local governments, to help communities increase affordable housing and

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Scaled-back Zoning Legislation Advances in Connecticut General Assembly

HARTFORD — The state legislature’s Planning and Development Committee approved a scaled-down version of zoning legislation proposed by Desegregate CT in an 8-hour zoom session Wednesday. Missing from S.B. 1024, was section 6, which included new rules regarding transit oriented development, language that allowed “as of right” mixed-use and multifamily developments within one-half mile of a town’s primary transit station. Section six also would have allowed multifamily housing or at least two types of “middle housing” within one-quarter mile of at least one main street corridor in towns with a population of at least 7,500.  Also absent from the approved

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Legislature to Hold Wednesday Hearing on Raft of Housing and Zoning Legislation

HARTFORD — A raft of zoning and housing bills introduced in the state legislature since January turn on key points concerning the balance of home rule and state control, as well as issues of housing affordability, racial integration and equity. A number of these bills have received hearings variously in Transportation, Planning and Development, Housing and Budget and Finance committees, and while legislators interviewed by CT Examiner expect that some provisions will eventually pass into law, very few of these bills will receive a vote and fewer still in their current form. “These are works in progress and there’s a

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Housing Development in Madison Sparks Opposition, Legal Fight

MADISON — A proposed seven-unit development at 856 Boston Post Road may comply with the town’s new regulations for cluster housing, but a growing number of town residents oppose the project, including some who have hired an attorney to intervene in the process. The project would renovate the interior of The Ledges into two housing units and add a two-car garage for each unit. The 5-bedroom, 5,586-square-foot house was originally built in 1903 on 1.81 acres. Behind the house, two duplexes would be constructed, each with a two-car garage per unit, in addition to a single unit “gatehouse” home that

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A Rundown of Testimony from Local Residents on New Housing and Zoning Rules Proposed by Desegregate CT

Legislators, local officials and members of the public testified in total for more than 24 hours and submitted an additional 365 letters — splitting roughly 60 percent in favor to 40 percent opposed to Senate Bill 1024. The bill represents the platform of Desegregate Connecticut, an affiliate of the Regional Plan Association and self-described coalition of more than 60 organizations focused on an “overall goal of tackling segregation in land use laws.”  Below are excerpts from letters for and against the bill from residents of southeastern Connecticut:  … I strongly believe that the zoning reforms in SB 1024 will positively impact communities across

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Housing Debate in Legislature Stretches into Day Two

As of 6 p.m. Monday, the debate regarding the controversial zoning bill 1024 in the legislature’s Planning and Development Committee had lasted eight hours, with a few brief breaks to discuss other legislation. At 6 a.m. on Tuesday, the debate continued… “It allows towns to focus development around infrastructure where it already exists in our main streets and train stations in those areas representing less than one percent of the state. Local town boards would write the rules in advance and the staff would administer them — that’s what we mean by ‘as of right,’ not a free for all,”

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A Battle Pitting Local versus State Control at the Heart of Legislation to Change Housing in Connecticut

Local regulation of accessory apartments, mixed-use developments and multifamily housing could change dramatically if new legislation supported by the coalition Desegregate Connecticut is signed into law. Bill 1024 is among a number of housing bills on the public hearing agenda of the Planning and Development Committee of the General Assembly on Monday at 10 a.m.  The bill represents the platform of Desegregate Connecticut, an affiliate of the Regional Plan Association and self-described coalition of more than 60 organizations focused on an “overall goal of tackling segregation in land use laws.”  Among some of its components, Bill 1024 would allow accessory

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