Griswold Hills has 128 units in nine low-rise, well-kept buildings constructed in what is called the “row and garden” style, sort of clusters of row houses. What is somewhat unusual about the complex is not its appearance but its origin — it is a set-aside development, meaning some units are set aside for persons earning less than the median income.
This and many other set-aside developments in Connecticut were aided by a state law known by developers, housing advocates and town officials as “8-30g.”
That is the statutory citation for the state’s Affordable Housing Land Use Appeals Procedure, a process created 33 years ago to promote development of affordable housing. The law, which allows developers to override local zoning restrictions, has been highly controversial almost since it passed in 1989. There have been several efforts to abolish it, and there may be one more, depending on the gubernatorial election’s outcome.
Republican candidate Bob Stefanowski has pledged to repeal 8-30g, saying at a recent press conference that the law “simply hasn’t worked,” a view shared by some local officials and residents.
Arthur T. Anderson, longtime Hartford housing specialist and co-developer of Griswold Hills in the mid-1990s with the late Marc Levine, has a different view. He said 8-30g “is the only thing that has worked.” A number of lawmakers and housing advocates agree with him.
The contrasting views highlight one of the deepest policy debates in the state: There is, by many accounts, a serious shortage of affordable housing in Connecticut, particularly for those in the low and moderate income ranges. The housing shortage makes their lives uncertain and, according to Gov. Lamont and others, hurts the state’s economy.
At this Connecticut development, the state affordable housing law has worked the way it was intended, Tom Condon, Hartford Courant, Oct. 23, 2022, available here