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

//

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. 

More

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? How can we better integrate Connecticut? Towns can do this by just being welcoming to people. Like I said in the beginning — I’m Black, I’ve got children, we can move anywhere in Connecticut that we can

More

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

More

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

More

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

More

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

More

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

More

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,”

More

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

More

Cottage Road Housing Development in Madison to Break Ground in 2022

/

MADISON — The 1808 home of Henry Josiah Meigs at 131 Cottage Road is slated to become part of Wellington at Madison, a 31-unit housing complex with 24 affordable and 7 market rate units situated on 2.6 acres.  The project is a collaboration between HOPE Partnership, a Connecticut nonprofit that develops affordable housing, and the Caleb Group, a nonprofit that has created affordable housing communities in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.  “The way it’s designed is smaller buildings that really actually do give you that community and village kind of feel to it. It isn’t a five-story building. It

More

New Britain Announces Loan Program for First-time Homebuyers

NEW BRITAIN — The City of New Britain is accepting applications for a program that grants loans to individuals and families who earn under a threshold income and want to purchase a home. The funding, which comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, acts as a second mortgage for people who already have taken out loans under Fannie Mae, the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, the Federal Housing Authority and other programs.  New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart said that in light of the housing boom in Connecticut, she felt it was time to revive the program, which had

More

A Decades-Old Homeless Encampment, Health Concerns and a ‘Housing Carousel’

/

WATERFORD — On Thursday morning, a man named Adam and Waterford Police Lt. Marc Balestracci stood talking in the woods as a decades-old homeless encampment just off the Post Road was cleaned out. “I just wish you would consider some of the opportunities that are being offered. Even if you disagree with the whole idea of moving temporarily,” Balestracci advised Adam, who wore a stethoscope draped around his neck and is known as “Doc” in the homeless community.  “‘Temporarily,’ ah, see, the problem is that this whole process is temporary,” Adam replied to Balestracci, who stood near a tree with

More

$13.3 Million for Twelve Small Cities Across Connecticut

Twelve municipalities across the state received federal grant funding totaling $13.3 million through the Community Development Block Grant Small Cities program, Gov. Ned Lamont and Connecticut Housing Commissioner Seila Mosquera-Bruno announced on Friday.  Administered by the Connecticut Department of Housing with funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the program funds projects that develop housing and infrastructure in smaller communities to primarily benefit lower-income residents.    “These grants go a long way toward improving neighborhoods so that we can make our communities more attractive and encourage continued growth for the benefit of all of our residents,” Gov. Ned

More

As Winter Approaches, Connecticut Works Toward Safer Solutions for Homelessness

Connecticut is again looking to increase space available for people without shelter this winter to stay in motels amid fears that church basements and other traditional warming centers aren’t equipped to prevent the spread of COVID-19. When the virus began to spread quickly throughout Connecticut in March, the state contracted with hotels to move people out of crowded, congregate living spaces out of concern for COVID outbreaks among people without housing. In a similar effort, the state is using federal money to contract with hotels to keep warming shelter capacity at pre-pandemic levels this winter. In Middletown, the state has

More

Housing Advocates Press for Added Funding as Aid Program Relaunches

The Connecticut Department of Housing is once again accepting applications for a program that offers up to $4,000 in rental assistance to individuals who have suffered economically from the effects of the coronavirus. Yet advocates and housing counselors are concerned that the available funding will not be enough to match either the number of people in need of assistance or the amount of debt that individual tenants find themselves facing.  The program, known officially as the Temporary Rental and Housing Assistance Program, began in mid-July, but was shut down six weeks later after being overwhelmed with applications. The program reopened

More

Mixed-Income Housing Development Approved for Site of Former Campbell Grain Building in Pawcatuck

/

STONINGTON — The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved a five-story, 82-unit mixed-income housing project for the long-blighted site of the former Campbell Grain building in Pawcatuck, during a virtual meeting Tuesday night.  Winn Development, a division of Winn Companies of Boston, proposed the project under the state 8-30g statute for the 1.89-acre site at 15 Coggswell Street and 27 West Broad Street in Pawcatuck. In 2019, 5.93 percent of the housing stock in Stonington was classified as affordable under state statute. The proposed project will lease 30 percent of the units at market rates and 70 percent will be restricted

More

Diebolt Details Planned Housing Development in Old Lyme

/

OLD LYME — “I’ve lived in town for 30 years and it seems like a great opportunity for what the town needs. We’re going to ‘do well by doing good.’ What we’re trying to do is make something that we’re proud to build and own and to provide as another housing alternative,” said Mark Diebolt, owner of the 20.6-acre parcel at 49 Hatchetts Hill Road where he and two partners plan to build a large apartment complex that will include 30 percent affordable units qualifying under the 8-30g statute.  “It’s going to look like a New England village,” said Diebolt

More

224-Unit Housing Development Considered for Hatchetts Hill Road in Old Lyme

/

OLD LYME —  At its Sept. 21 meeting, local resident Mark Diebolt will discuss plans with the Affordable Housing Committee to build a 224-unit, 11-building residential complex at 49 Hatchetts Hill Road, a 20.6-acre site just south of I-95 near exit 71. The complex is expected to include 30 percent affordable housing under state statute 8-30g. Vice-chair Karen Winters told committee members at an Aug. 31 meeting that Diebolt was interested in speaking with the committee, and with other town commissions, about the project.  Committee member Harold Thompson said that he had already spoken with Diebolt about the need for

More

Hope Partnership Housing in Essex to Finish by End of February

ESSEX — On Wednesday afternoon, the sheetrock was up in several of the apartments under construction on the second and third floors of the long, brick building at 90 Main Street known as Spencer’s Corner.  The $5.1 million project, called The Lofts at Spencer’s Corner, invests $4.5 million in construction costs to redevelop one of the central commercial properties in the village of Centerbrook.  “This is exciting, I hadn’t seen these spaces yet,” said Loretta McCluskey, operations manager for Hope Partnership, Inc., as she walked into one of the units under construction.  McCluskey led the way through a sawdust-scented hallway

More

$6.9 Million Federal Grant Announced for Low-Income Housing in Connecticut for People with Disabilities

HARTFORD — The Connecticut Department of Housing announced Tuesday that it has received a large federal grant to support rental housing for people with disabilities who have extremely low incomes. The $6.9 million grant will provide an additional 113 new units of housing. According to a press release, the funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development “will support up to five years of rental assistance for approximately 113 units of housing in buildings participating in project rental assistance through HUD’s Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities program.” Currently 70 households of people with disabilities receive rental assistance

More

Sara Bronin Steps Down After 7 Years on Hartford’s Planning and Zoning Commission, Sets Sights on Housing Statewide

“Zoning first arose 100 years ago in the 1920s to help to order the city, to separate uses from each other and frankly to separate people from people,” said Sara Bronin. “While Connecticut did not have explicit racial zoning like many Southern cities did, the effects of Connecticut zoning laws have been no less discriminatory in effect.”  Bronin, an architect and law professor at the University of Connecticut, has stepped down as chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission of the City of Hartford, in part to work with DesegregateCT, a coalition of more than thirty organizations focused on statewide

More

ADUs, Affordable Housing and the ‘Missing Middle’ Agenda for Southeast Connecticut

“In the housing and planning world, there is a larger conversation nationally around accessory apartments as sort of an easy way to expand the low cost housing supply in communities,” said Sean Ghio, policy director for Partnership for Strong Communities, a Hartford-based nonprofit founded in 1998 with a grant from The Melville Charitable Trust to advocate on issues of affordable housing and homelessness. In zoning terms, an accessory apartment, also known as a granny flat, in-law suite, guest cottage or garage apartment, is an “Accessory Dwelling Unit,” or ADU, which is a secondary, smaller housing unit on a residential single-family

More

State Announces Grants for Towns to Develop ‘Proactive’ Plans under 2018 Affordable Housing Mandate

HARTFORD — The Connecticut Department of Housing has announced grants to 43 municipalities for technical assistance in developing affordable housing plans required under the 8-30j state statute.  The law, enacted in 2018, requires every municipality to “prepare a plan to increase affordable housing, beginning in 2021.” The plan will “specify how the municipality intends to increase the number of affordable housing developments in the municipality” and must be prepared or amended and adopted at least once every five years.  The state opened the grant application process from March 9 to June 30 to small municipalities with populations below 50,000. Eligible

More

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

More

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

More

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

More

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

/

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

More

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

More

The Big and Small of Affordable Housing Solutions for Connecticut

/

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

More

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

/

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

More