A group of attorneys and housing advocates filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the town of Woodbridge alleging its zoning policies violate the state’s Fair Housing Act and portions of the state constitution by restricting the number of multi-family units that can be built.
The lawsuit is a move advocates believe could have far-reaching implications on state and national housing and zoning policy by building a model for other communities to push back on restrictive zoning policies. The plaintiffs want the town to plan and zone for its “fair share” of affordable housing, a policy housing advocates pushed for during the last legislative session.
The lawsuit alleges that Woodbridge has violated Connecticut’s Zoning Enabling Act and Fair Housing Act, as well as due process, equal protection and anti-segregation portions of the state Constitution.
Woodbridge, a wealthy, largely white suburb of New Haven, has been criticized for years for its zoning regulations, which housing experts say lock out low-income families. Such policies also disproportionately disadvantage families of color, experts say.
The town’s zoning regulations prohibit multi-family housing of three or more units in the 98.4% of residential land that lacks access to public water and sewer. The regulations also require a special review in the rest of the town for all forms of multi-family housing, according to a press release from the alliance.
Lawsuit claims Woodbridge zoning policy violates housing laws, Ginny Monk, CT Mirror, Aug. 30, 2022, available here