Town After Town, Residents Are Fighting Affordable Housing in Connecticut

In the town of Fairfield, Conn., nearly 2,400 residents have signed a petition opposing a project proposed for downtown that could bring 19 units of affordable housing.

In nearby New Canaan, homeowners have raised about $84,000 for a legal fund to fight a proposed apartment complex downtown on Weed Street that would include 31 rent-restricted units for households with moderate incomes.

And in Greenwich, a developer recently withdrew an application to build a project that would include 58 apartments priced below market rate, after residents living in nearby luxury condominiums objected and said the buildings that would be demolished were historically significant.

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Editorial: A needed push against exclusionary zoning in CT

The resistance among Connecticut’s wealthier suburbs toward state action on affordable housing often comes down to a pleading for the state tradition of local control. Don’t force action on us, these towns say. We know best how to handle it, and we will work out our own solutions.

The problem is that those solutions have not been forthcoming. Absent a push from the state, towns have been all too successful at building a wall around themselves and keeping out anyone not wealthy enough to buy their way in. These towns have worked to hoard the resources for the best-equipped school districts and leave less desirable elements for other communities to handle.

It’s inequitable and damaging, to the towns themselves and to the state in general.

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Lawsuit claims Woodbridge zoning policy violates housing laws

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.

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Advocates Sue Woodbridge Over Zoning

A coalition of affordable housing advocates filed suit in New Haven Tuesday against the town of Woodbridge over zoning regulations that prevent multi-family housing in the vast majority of the town.

The fair housing advocacy organization Open Communities Trust, the Stamford-based affordable housing developer Garden Homes Fund, an affiliate LLC of those organizations, and two Woodbridge residents are filing the lawsuit against the town.

The plaintiffs are charging that the town’s restrictions against homes with more than two units violate the Connecticut Zoning Enabling Act, the Connecticut Fair Housing Act, and the state constitution.

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Civil rights group sues Woodbridge for allegedly violating housing laws

Civil rights attorneys and housing advocates have filed a lawsuit against the town of Woodbridge for what they say is a violation of fair-housing laws that aim to make Connecticut towns more equitable and diverse.

Woodbridge, a suburb of New Haven, prohibits multifamily housing of three units or more on most of its residential land. Advocates claim that’s exclusionary zoning, which they say causes a lack of affordable housing that often disproportionately impacts Black and Latino residents in Connecticut.

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Civil rights group sues Woodbridge, says town ‘unjustifiably restricts’ multifamily housing

A statewide civil rights and housing advocacy group is set to file a lawsuit against the Town of Woodbridge and its planning and zoning commission Tuesday, alleging that the local zoning code “unjustifiably restricts” multifamily housing, limiting choices for low-income families, the group told CT Insider.

The lawsuit by the Hartford-based Open Communities Alliance claims Woodbridge’s zoning regulations violate the Connecticut Fair Housing Act, the state’s new zoning reform law and the state constitution. It asks a judge to bar certain elements of the town’s zoning code and require new policies to promote affordable housing.

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A lack of appetite for zoning reform has advocates, legislators regrouping

Despite five years of advance notice that Connecticut towns would have to submit affordable housing plans by June 1, less than half of them made the deadline.

The deadline — established by a 2017 law that requires such plans every five years —marked an important date for affordable housing advocates in Connecticut.

As of Thursday, just 46% of the state’s towns had submitted plans to the Office of Policy and Management. Nineteen percent of the towns “proactively notified” the office that they wouldn’t meet the deadline and provided an anticipated date.

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Open Communities Alliance: Confronting Segregation and Its Impact in Connecticut

The killing of George Floyd in May of 2020 sparked a long-needed racial consciousness awakening across the United States with people of all races filling the streets in cities, suburbs, and rural areas in protest. This energy has been channeled into heightened “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” efforts at corporations and foundations, calls to “defund” the police, accelerated efforts to end mass incarceration, and much more, running the gamut from window dressing to deep and meaningful structural change. The housing sectors—non-profit and for profit, builders, financial institutions, and government agencies—are examining their systems and practices. The pressing question is, how do we make this moment mean something?

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Glastonbury could build hundreds of affordable housing units with tweaks to zoning laws, report says

The demand for affordable housing is strong, in Glastonbury and across the state.

Connecticut lacks about 85,000 affordable units for extremely low-income renters, according to National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates. Glastonbury’s multifamily rental properties have been “functionally zero” in recent years, according to John Guszkowski, co-founder and Principal at Tyche Planning & Policy Group .The current waitlist for property owned by the Glastonbury Housing Authority has more than 1,100 names.

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Group offers ideas to build affordable housing

GLASTONBURY — The town could do its share to meet the Hartford area’s affordable housing needs through measure such as allowing multifamily developments on lots now limited to single-family homes, using town-owned land for multifamily housing, and allowing redevelopment of underused office buildings as apartments.

Those are among the suggestions of the Vernon-based Tyche Planning and Policy Group, which was hired by the Glastonbury group TALK Inc. and the Hartford-based Open Communities Alliance with a grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

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  • Open Communities Alliance
  • 75 Charter Oak Avenue
  • Suite 1-200
  • Hartford, CT 06106
  • Phone: 860-610-6040