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Fred Lee: Why 8-30g Affordable Housing Statute is Destructive to Greenwich

By: greenwichfreepress | February 14, 2022

Submitted by Frederick Lee, Greenwich, District 1.

Much has been written regarding 8-30g and its impact on Greenwich.

I would like to express my view of this very important issue as a resident and not as the Chair of
RTM District 1.

8-30g, while being well meaning, has the potential to impact Greenwich forever, and not in a
positive way. It has in fact, opened our Town to abuse by developers.

I am not sensationalizing the impact of 8-30g on Greenwich.

Currently, 8-30g allows developers to bypass local Planning & Zoning approval if they dedicate 30% of their development to affordable housing.

While this might seem applaudable, this will in fact have a negative impact on the Town as we
know it.

8-30g allows developers to build oversized projects regardless of the impact it would have on local areas. The negative impact of size, density, and parking CANNOT be considered in the approval process of development. This bypass is allowed until a municipality reaches 10% of their housing stock as affordable housing.

By definition, Greenwich has not reached the “official” 10% level that would allow our Town to take back control of local planning and zoning.

I say “official”, as Greenwich technically has enough units to reach and exceed the 10% CT state mandated units, but unfortunately a majority are not counted in the “official” number.
We are currently at the mercy of developers that can use 8-30g to build as they see fit, thus
making a profit at our expense.

Why 8-30g is so destructive to Greenwich?

Greenwich needs approxiately an additional 1,200 “official” affordable housing units to reach the 10% mandate.
The developers are able to bypass Greenwich zoning with 30% of their project allocated to affordable housing. This would create approximately 4,000 more units in Greenwich, assuming anywhere from 2 to 3 persons per household. This would add a MINIMUM of 8,000 to 12,000 more residents to our Town.

There are already complaints regarding congestion, parking and crowded downtowns. Can you imagine having an additional 10,000 plus more residents?
If you think this will only affect certain parts of Greenwich, think again as this will have a negative impact on the quality of life for the entire town.
By the way, those approximate 1,200-unit shortfall I mentioned, increases each time the developers add the 70% “non-affordable” housing units. This makes the affordable housing units a moving target and more difficult to achieve.

Greenwich has been working on plans to reach the 10% requirement that will increase affordable housing stock and minimize havoc on our Town.
Our first step is to get a temporary moratorium on 8-30g so that we can start to implement
affordable housing rationally.
Greenwich knows what is best for Greenwich.
Please let your local state officials know how you feel about 8-30g and how destructive it is for Greenwich and the urgent need to obtain a moratorium and amend this statute.

Your vote matters. Who you vote for matters.

Together we can save Greenwich if we act now.

Thank you.
Frederick Lee, Greenwich, District 1