Carol Martin Explains Shuttering of Thirty-Nine-Year-Old Affordable Housing Alliance

After 39 years, the Affordable Housing Alliance, formerly known as the Connecticut Housing Coalition, is dissolving as an organization, leaving questions and pointing to new directions to solve Connecticut’s housing inequities.  “At AHA, for over 30 years we took many steps towards increasing opportunity in our State. Unfortunately, we have come to realize that the challenges we have been wrestling with now require much larger resources than what we were able to assemble,” explained Carol Martin, president of the board, in a June 29 letter announcing the decision.  The organization was founded in 1981 with a mission to “lead Connecticut’s

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Real Estate Market Rebounds Sharply in Lower Connecticut River Valley

Across Chester, Essex, Deep River, Old Saybrook, Lyme and Old Lyme — after a sharp drop in listings and closings in March — the real estate market has quickly rebounded despite continued shutdowns ordered in response to the coronavirus pandemic. According to Coldwell Banker, April sales are up 22 percent compared to March. “What we are seeing now is that things are picking up in the past two weeks with a dramatic increase in out-of-state people looking for houses,” explained Jamie Childs, a Senior Real Estate Advisor at William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty in Essex. “We think people are trying

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With Seven New Cases of COVID-19 Identified in Southeast Connecticut, State Declines to Release Town-by-Town Numbers

There are now seven identified cases of COVID-19 in Middlesex and New London counties, and those numbers are only expected to increase in the next few days. Two of those cases are in Killingworth, and one each in Clinton, Haddam, and East Lyme. Other cases are have been identified in the Chatham Health District. In response to a request for town-by-town data on COVID-19 infections, the Connecticut Department of Public Health declined to provide that information, but said that the data will be available next week when a heat map displaying cases in all 169 towns is released. “We were

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Renovated Former Lyme Academy Housing Renting Near Historic District in Old Lyme

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OLD LYME — The former housing complex for Lyme Academy of Fine Arts has been renamed Southwick Commons and the renovated townhouses are for rent. The two buildings at 77 Lyme St., just off the historic district in Old Lyme, include 12 two-bedroom townhouses under renovation or recently completed. Rick Weiner, the listing agent with William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty, said the rents range from $1,850 to $2,150 per month, which does not include utilities. The units have either two or two and a half bathrooms and one garage space. According to Weiner, the units are renting quickly, with six

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Old Lyme Affordable Housing Committee Elects Officers, Pushes Transparency

OLD LYME — The Affordable Housing Committee created three subcommittees Monday night. One will focus on the town’s current affordable housing inventory and available land sites, another on the Connecticut 8-30g statute and the third on experiences and best practices of other towns in developing affordable housing. As a preliminary matter, the committee elected as chair Michael Fogliano, who suggested the three-part approach to achieving the committee’s charge. “We’re on a nominal six-month to one year timeline so we are designed to sunset,” he said of the committee, which the Board of Selectmen appointed in January. Karen Winters, who was

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The Big and Small of Affordable Housing Solutions for Connecticut

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With apologies to Oxford philosopher Isaiah Berlin – who half-seriously split all of human thought into foxes and hedgehogs – those who advocate for a variety of smaller ideas and those who embrace larger singular solutions – if ever there was a ‘hedgehog,’ it’s 8-30g, the state’s 30-year-old affordable housing statute, which grants developers a favorable appeals process if an application for an affordable housing project is rejected without sufficient cause. Like a hedgehog with its quills, that statute gives developers near carte blanche to construct affordable housing in towns with less than 10% qualifying housing. According to Michael Fogliano’s

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Old Lyme Affordable Housing Committee Holds First Meeting, Questions 10 Percent Goal

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OLD LYME — The newly-appointed Affordable Housing Exploratory Committee held its first meeting Monday night, with members sharing that they do not think that the town would necessarily be able to meet the statewide goal of 10 percent affordable housing, but that Old Lyme could do more for teachers, service workers, and longtime residents. The committee, appointed by the Board of Selectmen in January, was charged with researching the resources, regulations and issues of affordable housing as they relate to Old Lyme, and to recommend a housing strategy to the town. Committee member Thomas Ortoleva said early in the meeting

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The Civil Rights Case for Equitable Housing

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The struggle for equitable housing is inseparable from — but not identical to — the decades long civil rights movement in the United States. No doubt that’s in part the reason that, “Separated by Design,” the recent multipart series on affordable housing by Jacqueline Rabe Thomas is couched in a vocabulary of civil rights. “Housing segregation,” as Thomas phrases the issue of affordable housing. And to be sure, there is ample evidence that the WWI-era introduction of zoning laws in the United States went hand in hand with racial segregation. Until a landmark 1917 decision by the United States Supreme

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Apartments, Commercial Property Values, Jump in Latest Grand Lists — 2.36 Overall Drop in Old Lyme

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The total value of taxable property in Old Lyme decreased by 2.36 percent, or about $37 million — from $1,585,659,738 to $1,548,200,464 — following the once-every-five-year town-wide revaluation. The 2019 grand lists of four other towns in the area — East Lyme, Essex, Lyme, and Old Saybrook — each showed small year-over-year increases compared to 2018. The 2019 grand list — an inventory of assets in town subject to local taxes — will be used during the town budget process to calculate the mill rate for local taxes in fiscal year 2020-21. The value of a property in a town

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Inland Wetland Commission Meets to Discuss 108-unit Housing Development in East Lyme

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EAST LYME — At its meeting on Monday night, members of the Inland Wetlands Commission questioned plans for a 108-unit affordable housing development on North Bride Brook Road that would in part extend into a 100-foot wetlands setback along the project’s western extent. At the meeting, attorney Harry Heller, of Uncasville, represented the developer, Jason Pazzaglia of Pazz & Construction, of East Lyme, who has proposed a housing development for the 20-acre site at 90 North Bride Brook Road under the state’s 8-30g statute for affordable housing. The development would consist of 11 buildings of eight units and two buildings

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