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

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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

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Diebolt Details Planned Housing Development in Old Lyme

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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

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

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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

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Hope Partnership Housing in Essex to Finish by End of Feburary

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

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$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

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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

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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

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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

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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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Developer Explains the Housing and Retail Market in East Lyme

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EAST LYME — “If you drew a big triangle down Route 2 to Groton, and back along I-95 almost to New Haven, there was nothing — no highly-amenitized, new-ish, multi-family communities. And, I think part of that is because the towns that make up most of that big triangle traditionally had not encouraged nor allowed multi-family development of any size,” said Newton Brainard, a Lyme resident, and vice president of Simon Konover Company, in a telephone interview with CT Examiner on January 15.  With 280 new apartments at The Sound at Gateway Commons fully-occupied, and an additional 120 “luxury” apartments

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The New and the Old of It

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If you read the newspapers in America in 1780 or so – just as the modern familiar incarnation of the Christmas holiday is taking shape – you might be surprised to find that already critics and observers are fretting the loss of the true meaning, the spirit, of Christmas, much as they do today – because loss is not a defect or corruption of the winter holiday, but instead has always been a defining feature of modern Christmas feeling and expression. And it is much the same, the historian Peter Fritzsche explained, with New England. “It is New England and

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Wetlands Approval Poses Dilemma for Chester Housing Developer

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CHESTER — At its meeting on Monday, the Inland Wetlands Commission said the developer of Falcon Crest, a proposed 55-and-older residential complex at 88 Winthrop Road, will need to obtain a subdivision permit from the town before the commission will proceed with its recommendation on the project. If the town grants the subdivision permit, then developer Joseph Mingolello, principal of Connecticut Concrete Solutions LLC of Higganum, will be required to come before the Inland Wetlands Commission for approval of each of the project’s five lots proposed for the 34-acre triangular-shaped parcel bordered by Winthrop Road/Route 145, Butter Jones Road and

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Old Lyme Selectmen Appoint Affordable Housing Committee, Discuss Annual Town Meeting

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OLD LYME — The Board of Selectmen appointed a special committee on Monday night tasked with researching and making recommendations on affordable housing in Old Lyme. The selectmen voted to appoint seven town residents as regular members of the Affordable Housing Exploratory Committee: John Coughlin, Michael Fogliano, Thomas Ortoleva, Harold Thompson, Tammy Tinnerello, Karen Winters, and John Zaccaro. Two alternate members were also selected: Peter Cable and Jennifer Miller. The committee will meet on a timeline limited to between six months and one year unless extended by the selectmen, according to a charge approved in September.  The idea of forming

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Checking in on the Real Estate Market in Southeast Connecticut

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Housing sales in southeast Connecticut indicate the region is slowly emerging from a decade-long slump, with the market for lower-priced homes showing the greatest activity, according to several area realtors.  “We continue to see the trend for the lower-priced properties, under $300,000 … starters to a little bit bigger, and those can fly off the shelves pretty quickly,” said Joel Grossman, new business development director of Calcagni Real Estate, which represents Middlesex County as well as New Haven County, among others. “It looks like the trend in terms of prices is in that 2 to 4 percent range, probably more

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Report Promotes Diverse Housing for Aging, Changing Demographics, in Waterford

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WATERFORD — The town’s population is expected to shrink over the next two decades, and Waterford will need a range of housing sizes and price points to meet the needs of a changing demographic of residents in a changing world, according to a consultant’s Monday night presentation to the Planning and Zoning Commission. Consultant Glenn Chalder of Avon-based Planimetrics said that the challenge facing the town comes from two distinct age groups: older residents seeking to downsize and young renters, many with significant student debt, seeking affordable rents. “The issue here is that as households age, they get smaller,” Chalder

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Developer Proposes 60-100 Condominium Project in Chester

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CHESTER — A developer presented preliminary plans for Falcon Crest — a substantial development for residents ages 55 and over, to the Planning and Zoning Commission Thursday night. The project, which is in the conceptual stage, is designed for between 60 and 100 condominiums in buildings of 10 units each on a 34-acre triangular-shaped site located on Winthrop Road bordering Deep River’s town line and abutting part of Old Butter Jones Road. “We’ve done everything looking at 60 to 80 units … so eight buildings is more realistic but 10 is max,” attorney Joseph Rini, who represented Joseph Mingolello, principal

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Groton Officials Unveil Redevelopment Plans for Mystic Oral School Property

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GROTON — Town officials unveiled conceptual plans on Thursday for the 77-acre Mystic Education Center site that, if realized, would revitalize the long-fallow property into a village-style development with a variety of commercial, retail and co-working spaces, along with about 750 residential units. The property is the former state-run Mystic Oral School, once known as the Whipple School for the Deaf, at 240 Oral School Road. “There are a lot of moving pieces and it was everyone’s desire, including the developer, to come forward at the appropriate time and I think that time is now,” said Paige Bronk, the town’s

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Southeastern Connecticut Community Land Trust Markets First Affordable Home

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New London — The Southeastern Connecticut Community Land Trust is marketing its first affordable home to qualified buyers over the next two months. The price of the two-family home at 34-36 Prest Street is $128,000 for buyers who fit the 2019 HUD income limits for New London. The stone house, built in 1870, has two apartments — a one-bedroom on the lower level and a three-bedroom on the two upper floors. The land trust has a selection process for applicants that includes filling out a program application, obtaining a pre-approval letter stating income qualifications, verification of first-time-buyer status or not

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Affordable Housing Committee Candidates and Other Old Lyme Board of Selectmen News

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OLD LYME — As part of the “Other Business” portion of the agenda, First Selectman Bonnie Reemsnyder announced a list of nominees for a Affordable Housing Exploratory Committee at Monday’s Board of Selectmen meeting. The 10 nominees are: Fred Behringer, Peter Cable, John Coughlin, Michael Fogliano, Jennifer Miller, Edward “Ted” Mundy, Tom Ortoleva, Harold Thompson, Karen Winters and John Zaccaro.  The committee list included nominees’ names and qualifications in an excel sheet, which Reemsnyder, along with Selectmen Mary Jo Nosal and Christopher Kerr, will use to rank the names in order of preference. The committee would likely have seven members,

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Old Lyme Board of Selectmen Set Guidelines for New Committee on Affordable Housing

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OLD LYME — The Board of Selectmen on Monday, September 16, approved guidelines for a new exploratory committee charged with making recommendations to the town on building affordable housing. The charge for the Affordable Housing Exploratory Committee is to provide the selectmen with information, including a current inventory of housing designated as affordable in Old Lyme, a list of available land sites, an identified threshold required of the town to meet the state’s mandate on affordable housing, and additional research to inform the town on efforts toward developing affordable housing. The committee will work on a timeline of six months

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Leadership Changes for Hope Partnership, Tony Lyons Steps Away

In an email today to board members, advisers and supporters, Hope Partnership, a regional nonprofit developer of affordable housing based in Old Saybrook, announced that the organization’s president, Tony Lyons, as well as Cal Price and Jim Crawford, would be stepping down from their leadership roles at Hope Partnership. Hope Partnership announced that Dave Carswell would become President, Pam Days-Luketich, Vice President, and Bill Attridge, Treasurer. Larry Freundlich will continue to serve as Secretary. Carswell is Branch Manager & Mortgage Loan Originator at Guilford Savings Bank. The email also confirms intentions to abandon efforts to build a 37-unit housing development adjacent

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