Developer AA Denorfia Building & Development wants to bring more affordable housing to Woodbridge. Its application has the backing of Open Communities Alliance, a nonprofit that works on housing equity, and the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School. But the proposal also has drawn opposition, dominating the town’s planning and zoning meetings for the last two months.
The problem: The town’s zoning regulations need to be changed to allow for the four-unit multifamily house. The solution -- according to Open Communities Alliance -- is changing those regulations, which would then create more opportunities for affordable housing in Woodbridge. For OCA, this represents a test case in the town.
Still, towns must shoulder some of the regional onus, according to Erin Boggs, executive director of Open Communities Alliance.
“It’s not like town planning and zoning commissions have free rein to do whatever they wish,” Boggs told Connecticut Public in an interview. “Under the state law, there are very specific requirements about helping to meet the regional need for affordable housing.”
OCA has argued that Woodbridge has a long history crafting zoning regulations to exclude affordable housing. The organization compiled a report that found past attempts to change zoning laws were met with resistance from residents, who sometimes characterized affordable-housing residents as a threat to property values, the school system or quality of life in Woodbridge.
Woodbridge Becomes A Test Case For Advocates Of Affordable Housing, Ali Oshinskie, Connecticut Public Radio, Feb. 12th, 2021, available here