Late last month in Fairfield, the Town Plan & Zoning considered two major affordable housing applications under Connecticut General Statute 8-30g, a law that was passed nearly 30 years ago by the State of Connecticut.
For background, this state affordable housing law is intended to encourage more affordable housing in Towns that have less than 10 percent of their housing certified as affordable. Under 8-30g, local zoning regulations governing building height, lot coverage, distance from other properties and roads, density and property values can be ignored. Instead, the sole criteria is a test of public health and safety. This means that unless public health or safety are proven to be substantially at risk from the development, the need for affordable housing takes precedence and ties the hands of the local officials. In just a single night, Fairfield's Zoning Commission heard two affordable housing applications which are both situated in the middle of dense neighborhoods -- one calls for 40 units in five buildings on a 2-acre property and the other is a 50-ft tall building with 20 units on a half an acre lot.