Zoning officials in the well-off suburban town of Woodbridge seem unlikely to allow developers to build multi-unit dwellings there without special permission.
The request from civil rights attorneys to change the way affordable housing is approved in Woodbridge has become the focus of housing advocates across the state, as what happens in Woodbridge could eventually have widespread ramifications.
Convinced the town’s zoning regulations keep low-income residents from being able to move into town — and keep the town segregated — civil rights attorneys from the Open Communities Alliance and a fair housing Clinic at Yale Law School are also asking the town to throw out its prohibition on multi-family housing and its rule that only single-family homes can be built on a 1.5-acre lot nearly everywhere in town.
Instead, they want the town to allow developers to build two, three or four housing units in structures the same size as a single-family home without needing special permission or having to go through long public hearings. The share of Black or Latino residents living in this suburb is one-third the share living throughout the state.
During the months-long debate on this request, the attorneys and their law school students shared photos of the huge homes that the town allowed without zoning approval or public hearings.
But the Planning and Zoning Commission reached a consensus during a meeting Thursday evening that they want to continue to review everything that isn’t a single-family home.
“I think it’s good to maybe have some of the public opinion on it from the folks that live in the area where the development is going. It’s kind of fair,” Jeffrey Kennedy, one of the six commissioners considering this request, said during a meeting Thursday evening to consider the application.
Woodbridge officials say they want to sign off on all multi-unit developments, Jacqueline Rabe Thomas, CT Mirror, May 14, 2021, available here