Zoning and Affordable Housing

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Good intentions are not a valid excuse for enacting poor public policy. The affordable housing crisis in CT is really due to the lack of good employment opportunities in CT and poor economic and business public policy. Lack of good jobs leads to lower income and less residents can afford to buy or rent existing market value homes in the region. The greatest challenge for CT is increasing the vitality of our state by bringing back industry, new jobs and higher paying salaries through business-friendly public policy. Transit oriented development should be focused on revitalizing all of our cities, where housing stock and adequate public transportation and infrastructure already exists. Cities receive significant State funding for infrastructure and education from the state’s coffers in PILOT and ECS grants, while the targeted suburban communities that are the focus of these bills rely almost entirely on local property taxes to fund their schools and infrastructure.

Click “+” to expand.

The loss of public voice is a major concern. Those that are closest to a project and live in the neighborhood deserve to discuss the potential impacts to their own properties. See more details under “As-of-Right Development Concerns”. (SB804, SB1024, HB6570, HB6613) As-of-right development takes away public hearings. Those with the most factual, evidenced based information on direct environmental and logistical impacts to the neighboring properties, like water runoff, well limitation issues, etc. no longer have a voice. There is no affordability tied to as-of-right market rate development. It allows developers to bypass towns’ current INCLUSIONARY zoning laws that have more robust requirements and will lead to towns being flooded by luxury condos. It drives DOWN ratio of affordable units to total units, making it impossible for towns to meet the 8-30g 10% affordable housing threshold. As-of-Right development prohibits local P&Z from addressing any infrastructure impacts resulting from an individual project by allowing a local P & Z to impose conditions. Currently P&Z Commissions can impose conditions on approval. In other states, such as MA’s recent Transit Oriented Development legislation allows towns to impose fees to address these impacts.

10% affordability is only required on projects with 10+ units in SB1024.The other bills do not even have any language on affordability. Providing affordable housing is very costly to builders, so builders will apply for under just 10 units without building even one affordable unit. They may even subdivide one acre lots with 15+ unit requirements to stay below 10 units. This can lead to predatory overdevelopment while driving down ratios of affordable units to total units in a town, taking towns farther and farther away from 10% affordable requirement under 8-30g. Flooding high-cost areas, like Fairfield County with housing supply will not drop home prices enough to make them affordable by low-income earners. For example, a builder will buy and tear down one single family home that cost $1 million and build 9+ luxury units selling at $750K or more each or charging $6000+ a month for rent on a 2BR apartment. Low-income earners (60% of Median Income) can only afford up to $1,200 per month for a 2BR. Even if home prices are reduced by 50% driven by increase in supply, it is still not affordable by low-income earners in Fairfield County. (SB804, SB1024, HB6570, HB6611, HB6613)

Exponential growth stresses the town’s infrastructure, i.e. as builders max-out the property coverage on each lot, resulting in greater stormwater runoff. The towns’ existing drainage and wastewater treatment systems will be overwhelmed. There is actually language in the legislation that mandates the expansion of sewer and other infrastructure. Many of the towns being targeted, in particular in Fairfield County, receive little to no funding (of ECS, PILOT grants, school construction funding, housing development) from the state to address any such impacts. Those costs are not incurred in a linear line, but can instead step-up, like when you need to build a new fire station, expand existing sewer systems capacity or build extra cafeteria for schools so kids are not eating lunch at 10:30am. Those costs will all be incurred by the local municipalities and passed on to the residents through a reduction in local services or an increase in mill rate/property taxes. Local P&Zs must decide where and how “as-of-right” ADUs, Accessory Apts, Multi-family, mixed use are best zoned. (SB804, SB1024, SB1027, HB6570, HB6611, HB6613) Are there any other reasons the state would force market value only development besides dropping the local property values? Bronin has stated that if you flood the market, the state and towns will get extra revenues that can be used to do "cool stuff with." Yes, at no cost to the state, but at a significant cost to every town that has to deal with all the infrastructure costs from the predatory exponential market value multifamily over development, when P&Zs cannot pass some of those construction costs from a specific development project onto the developer and the costs will instead be incurred by the taxpayers in higher taxes. (SB804, SB1024, SB1027, HB6570, HB6611, HB6613)

Many suburban towns were settled over a century ago. The local roads are often not wide enough to allow for on-street parking with two-way traffic. Eliminating parking requirements results in residents parking on-street or taking downtown lot spaces that local businesses rely on desperately. Forcing cars to park on-street will make the roads and sidewalks more dangerous for pedestrians, cyclists and cause unwanted congestion. (Elimination SB804, SB1024) (Reduction SB6613, SB804)

  • There are bipartisan concerns on the environmental implications of zoning proposals looking to urbanize suburbs and rural Connecticut. Dense development is proposed to center around coastline train stations along Metro North Rail. DEEP, CT's Environmental Protection Agency has a whole page dedicated to Sea Level Rise in CT and provides its studies to municipalities to assist with better planning of conservation and development. Instead of forcing TOD densification in low-lying, flood-prone areas that are susceptible to storms like Sandy, and we should rely on P&Zs to determine the best locations to build affordable and sustainable housing.
  • Takes away the rights of a Conservation Commission or Regional Water Authorities from weighing in on the development of as-of-right multi-family units.
  • Loosens septic restrictions to experimental septic systems that have recently had high failure rates, which then become a public health concern of the towns.
  • Smart growth around transit stations prevents suburban crawl and public transit can be leveraged to reduce carbon emissions from vehicles. However, suburban residents will continue to require cars for transportation in their daily routines. Few, if any, local residents can use Metro North as a mode of transport between nearby towns. Public schools are often not located near downtowns or transit. Goods and services in Fairfield County are also priced at a premium to offset higher land prices. Low-income earners will need to shop in less expensive areas, but Metro North fare is very expensive and unaffordable for low-income earners.
  • As-of-Right multi-family developments are detrimental for the architectural character of New England, a fundamental element that attracts and distinguishes us from all other States.
  • Historic homes are easy targets for developers because they are relatively undervalued compared to new turn-key properties, and the restoration alternative proves more time consuming, which translates to higher costs for developers.
  • These structures and spaces give each of our towns a unique architectural fabric and speak to our development, but we will continue to lose our remaining historical properties and our town centers unless we pass laws to protect and incentivize preservation.

Are there any other reasons the state would force market-value development besides dropping the local property values? Bronin has stated that if you flood the market with housing inventory, the state and towns will get extra revenues that can be used to do "cool stuff with.” However, she also states that “with more supply, prices will come down.” When property value is depressed, even with more units, new tax revenues from additional units will not provide enough funding to cover the infrastructure impacts, which impacts the towns, not the state and results in higher local property taxes, making towns even less affordable. (SB804, SB1024, HB6570, HB6613)

DUE TO THE NUMEROUS ZONING BILLS FLOODING OUR TOWNS WITH MARKET VALUE DEVELOPMENT (density of 15+ units PER ACRE), ratio of Affordable Housing will be driven DOWN relative to the increased total housing stock. State is penalizing towns for the very problem the State would have helped create. For example, SB1024, if passed, will allow developers to bypass towns’ local INCLUSIONARY zoning laws that ensure higher % of affordable housing than SB1024 requires. As towns’ affordable housing percentages goes in the wrong direction, our state-wide property tax mill rate will rise coupled with depressing property values from increase in supply. (SB1068, SB172, SB6611)

They will determine if towns are providing realistic opportunity for development; courts can approve development; courts can give towns more time or reduce goal for public health/land’s characteristics. Provide a private right of action to enforce the Zoning Enabling Act. Allow aggrieved parties (and non-profit advocacy groups) to sue a town for not getting a fair share, vague construct, who decides a town’s honest efforts? (SB1024, SB804, HB6611)

Some bills suggest the formation of a working groups to create form-based zoning codes, or to develop guidelines or incentives for municipalities to comply with affordable housing and variety of housing choice through municipal zoning regulations, to allocate “fair shares,” etc. Concerns include 1) whether the codes will be optional or mandated and 2) ensuring the makeup of the committees includes proper representation of all types of municipalities, in particular, suburban and rural communities so their concerns are adequately voiced through the group’s recommendations. Further restricts the ability for towns to get 8-30g moratoriums. (SB1066, HB6107, HB6612, HB6611, SB1024, SB1027, SB1026, HB6613, SB804, SB804, SB6570)

Local housing authorities and local P&Zs are best equipped to determine proper sighting and infrastructure impacts of any development project. (SB804)

Click Here for the Summary of Concerns

READ SUMMARY

EXPLANATION OF THE DIRTY DOZEN

SEE BILL LANGUAGE BELOW

  • This bill creates an “unfair” fair share!
  • State (OPM and DOH) to determine “fair share” affordable housing plan for each region and a target “fair share base” for each town.
  • WestCOG and MetroCOG are to be combined into one larger planning region for the purposes of allocating a fair share of needed affordable housing.
  • Towns must create 10-year plans to meet the State mandated goal, update zoning regs, and update their Plan of Conservation and Development – failure means they cannot seek an 8-30g moratorium.
  • Towns required to fund the expansion of sewer and other infrastructure to allow affordable housing development – when many towns receive little to no infrastructure spending support from the state.
  • Puts immense burdens on CT towns to have attorneys draft and vet zoning regulations inclusive of these requirements and keep towns on the hook to foot legal bills, fines should anyone take legal action to say that the town has not fulfilled its “fair housing plan” responsibilities.
  • It does not recognize what is naturally existing market rate affordable housing, so it does not reflect what is already existing.
  • Other zoning bills have as of right market value development that will lead us further away from meeting the “fair share” and will penalize towns.
  • Allows aggrieved parties (and non-profit advocacy groups) to sue a town for not getting a fair share, very vague construct, who decides a town’s honest efforts?
  • Courts play a substantial role in determining whether towns are providing realistic opportunity for development; courts can approve development; courts can give towns more time or reduce goal for public health/land’s characteristics.
  • Section 5 still allows As Of Right Accessory Apartments in a town to remain in the bill and zoning regs can designate locations or zoning districts to allow one apt per single-family dwelling with one parking spot allocated to the apt.
  • Removes “to provide adequate light and air; to prevent overcrowding, and prevent undue concentration of population” will this remove town height restrictions in suburban towns, “prevent overcrowding,” “undue concentration of population.”
  • P&Zs “May” require using a vehicle-miles traveled instead of level of service traffic calculations, which remains the gold standard in calculating traffic impact.
  • Local P&Zs Cannot have a fixed cap of number of dwelling units that constitute multifamily housing over four units, middle housing or mixed-use that may be permitted. (The As-Of-Right multifamily development language in Section 6 of SB1024 was removed, but this has remained? Will section 6 be added back later? )
  • Limits parking to 1space for a studio or 1BR and 2 spaces for 2BR+
  • Cannot deny a project on character.
  • If the municipality does not change its code, to comply to Section 5, it becomes null and void. It also may not impose additional standards beyond what is outlined in Section 5.
  • Outlines an alternative sewage system with higher capacities. There are public health and environmental concerns with new sewer systems.
  • Section 10 state each municipal water pollution control authority “may prepare” a water pollution control plan, which delineates areas served, planned or proposed sites, proposed community sewerage systems, etc.
  • Section 2 limits the fees that can be charged by a municipality for a development projects. Bill requires the return of excess applicant fees and no additional developer fees allowed to be collected by a town. For New Canaan, it can end decades of funding of the New Canaan affordable housing fund, which is how New Canaan funded affordable housing in our town. Will this prevent towns from creating or using an existing affordable housing development fund?
  • Lines 147-150 requires consideration of affordability for neighboring communities – how would this even be applied? It does not consider the cost of property varies by town.
  • P & Z cannot impose conditions on the development, this will increase property taxes on residents.
  • Form based codes must remain optional, at the discretion of the local P & Z commissions and if created by an appointed committee, it should include adequate representation from cities, suburbs and rural areas with communities of all economic levels.

This bill requires the regulations to provide for, rather than encourage, a variety of housing development opportunities to meet local and regional needs and further the Federal Fair Housing Act;
Concerns:

  1. Eliminates a requirement that the regulations be made with reasonable consideration as to the “character” of a district; a word which only goes to describe a town’s unique identity.
  2. Prohibits regulations from imposing conditions on mobile manufactured homes and associated mobile lots that are substantially different from those imposed on single family developments.
  3. Allows for Air Rights to be transferrable, may impact a local P&Zs ability to control density and building height.
  4. Requires all municipalities that exercise zoning powers to demonstrate to the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) that their regulations provide varied housing development opportunities and promote housing choice and economic diversity in housing.
  5. Requires municipalities to comply with existing affordable housing planning laws and outlines reporting requirements.
  6. Requires Office of Policy Management secretary to convene a 13-member working group to study incentivizing and measuring compliance with (a) the affordable housing planning requirement and (b) zoning requirements related to housing choice and to create recommendations for compliance with affordable housing plan. The group should be specifically tasked with developing nuanced solutions that reflect the uniqueness of our 169 municipalities in the state not just one size mandates that do not fit all. This small appointed working group is comprised of members that are slanted almost exclusively towards housing advocacy and there is not enough representation of suburban and rural communities. Could involve development of policy by towns that will never be impacted by the laws they create, like some bills this session that exclude towns with less than 7,500 residents. The appointed committee will make recommendations to the OPM and there is no indication if these recommendations will be carrots or sticks. The “recommendations” must be brought to the legislators and to a full public hearing before a vote.

Starts us down the slippery slope of state oversight/mandates over local zoning control (if you open the door on state regulation, more rules will come in the future)

  • What works in one town will not work in every town
  • Mandates numbers/percentages of affordable housing which are not achievable in all towns (density challenges, public transportation access, costs, implementing the new intricate rules into town official documents)
  • Eliminates resident input, right to petition by forced compliance
  • Requires submittal of Fair Housing Plan/Plan of Conservation every 5 years, which is then posted online by OPM (Creating a readily available public record of town who do - or do not comply)
  • Requires municipality to post their draft affordable housing plans to their websites (if residents pose concerns to plan, this legislation still forces towns to comply with Federal Fair Housing)
  • Creates a working group to study guidelines and incentives to comply with 8-30j
  • Assumes municipalities are not working to improve housing options & affordability.
  • Raises the limit for alternative sewage/community sewerage systems from 5,000 gallons (equivalent to 33 one-bedroom, 22 two-bedroom, or 11 three-bedroom homes) to 10,000 gallons per day (66 one-bedroom, 44 two-bedroom, or 22 three-bedroom homes) DEEP would no longer be in charge; DPH would. Unclear DEEP/DPH position on this. Why is this new threshold being proposed? What is the problem that is addressing? Specificity of number suggests a situation in mind.
  • Similar bill in SB1024 raises the capacity from 5,000 gallons to 7,500 gallons.
  • Sets in motion potential for state mandated local development of multi-family housing on State Parking Lots or on town owned properties. Most if not all, Metro North train stations have state owned parking lots. This bill may attempt to set in motion a potential override of local decision making on siting of multi-family housing developments. Section 1 specifically stated "5" transit stations: Why not name the five specific transit stations and their towns?
  • This legislation requires the same number of commuter parking spaces to be provided for transit, with no mention of additional off-street parking required for the new units in the housing development itself. It does not account for the possible lack of availability of adequate on-street parking near the targeted state lots for multifamily and mixed-use development. Considering other TOD bills being proposed require no off-street parking at all, the need for off-street parking for such development must be properly addressed as those living in suburbs will continue to need vehicles.
  • If it is state owned property, who collects the property tax on that development? IF it is the state, are the towns left to deal with the increased infrastructure costs while the state would get all the property tax revenues?
  • This bill seeks to identify and target state and town owned properties for multi-family development and can potentially be tied to other bills that would allow outside Housing Authorities to build a project in a municipality up to 15 miles away.
  • No training required in impact analysis (!). Economics of land use decisions critically important.
  • AICP members excluded from training requirement. Why? 49 states including CT do not require professional certification to work as a planner; none require AICP.
  • Allows municipalities to require 5+ hours training per year for ALL zoning board members.
  • Need to remember members are volunteers – this is a substantial commitment of time.
  • Training biased in favor of affordable housing (2 of 4 hours).
  • All bills deserve consideration in full sunshine - in the light of day in an open public hearing and fully drafted.
  • SB 1066 gives little clue as to what changes might be expected post Public Hearing – possibly taking away a town’s ability to choose to enter into an interlocal agreement and making it mandatory.
  • Legislators, especially members on the committees hearing these zoning bills have a responsibility to inform their constituents about hearings and what is in the language of the actual bills.
  • The use of dummy bills may be the most compelling reason for term limits and a return to checks and balances in our state government. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. If any legislators have to stoop so low to submit dummy bills in order to enact their poor public policy in the middle of the night, it is likely that the bill is not worth the paper it would be written on! Shame on you!
  • All bills deserve consideration in full sunshine - in the light of day in an open public hearing and fully drafted.
  • SB 1066 gives little clue as to what changes might be expected post Public Hearing – possibly taking away a town’s ability to choose to enter into an interlocal agreement and making it mandatory.
  • Legislators, especially members on the committees hearing these zoning bills have a responsibility to inform their constituents about hearings and what is in the language of the actual bills.
  • The use of dummy bills may be the most compelling reason for term limits and a return to checks and balances in our state government. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. If any legislators have to stoop so low to submit dummy bills in order to enact their poor public policy in the middle of the night, it is likely that the bill is not worth the paper it would be written on! Shame on you!
  • Raises the limit for alternative sewage/community sewerage systems from 5,000 gallons (equivalent to 33 one-bedroom, 22 two-bedroom, or 11 three-bedroom homes) to 7,500 gallons per day (50 one-bedroom, 25 two-bedroom, or 16 three-bedroom homes) (ll. 20, 84-85)
    1. Enables more homes to be served in unsewered areas
    2. Unclear DEEP/DPH position on this and how it may affect their oversight
    3. Why is this new threshold being proposed? What is the problem that is addressing? Specificity of number suggests a situation in mind

  • Requires water pollution control authorities to set aside capacity for apartments (ll. 67-70).
    1. Tells WPCA how to do their jobs.
    2. Puts multifamily housing ahead of other uses (e.g. industrial).
    3. No provision for WPCAs at capacity with current or future projects. Will result in high development costs to expand capacity through tax dollars.

  • Replaces “character” with “physical suitability” (ll. 241-242)
    1. No consideration of economic suitability, e.g. a “farming community” or a “manufacturing zone” or a “biotech cluster”

  • Requires zoning to include the “express allowance of housing that could feasibly be occupied by both low and moderate-income households” (ll. 261-262)
    1. Confusion between planning and zoning; plans do not have the power to allow

  • Requires zoning to “expressly allow” (rather than encourage) “the development of housing which will meet the housing needs identified in the state’s consolidated plan for housing” and the state POCD (l. 264)
    1. State housing and POCD now set parameters for local zoning
    2. No consideration of statutorily-required affordable housing plans (CGS §8-30j)
    3. Why even address this locally then?

  • Requires zoning to provide for accessory dwelling units (ADUs), middle housing, and mixed-use buildings with at least 4 dwelling units

  • Requires municipalities to allow ADUS units by right (ll. 467-538)
    1. Eliminates public hearings for ADUs
    2. Required to be allowed by right in all lots of at least 20,000 square feet (approx. 1/2 acre) that either has a single-family home or is zoned for single family homes
    3. ADUs must be allowed within, attached to, or detached from primary dwelling (municipalities cannot prohibit ADUs in additions or outbuildings)
    4. Municipality cannot set a maximum size of ADU less than the lesser of 30% of the primary dwelling unit or 1200 square feet
    5. 1200 square foot ADU is the size of many single-family homes (average home in 1950 was approx. 1500 square feet)
    6. Essentially doubles housing unit density in most of the state without going through the subdivision process
    7. Overrides local setbacks; max 10 feet from side and rear lot line
    8. ADU setback often less than setback for home or outbuilding (e.g. detached garage)
    9. Prohibits requiring parking for ADUs
    10. Prohibits conditioning ADU on correction of nonconforming use
    11. Prohibits any height, landscaping, or design standards that “adversely affect affordability”
    12. Prohibits municipalities from using/imposing “additional standards beyond those set forth” in the bill
    13. Guts the ability to regulate ADUs as most standards can be argued to affect affordability – ADUs essentially exempted from any PZ oversight

  • Requires municipalities to allow “middle housing” by right (ll. 539-577)
    1. Middle housing is duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, townhomes, and cottage clusters (high-density single family with a central open area)
    2. Note: inclusion of townhomes means no limit on number of units in complex
    3. Eliminates public hearings for middle housing
    4. Required to be allowed by right in 50% of the area within ½ mile of every commuter rail or bus, bus rapid transit, and ferry terminal in a municipality
    5. Required to be allowed by right in 50% of the area within ¼ mile of every commercial center, every concentrated residential or commercial district, or village district
    6. Prohibits any height, setbacks, landscaping, or design standards that “adversely affect affordability”
    7. Prohibits conditioning middle housing on correction of nonconforming use
    8. Prohibits municipalities from using/imposing “additional standards beyond those set forth” in the bill
    9. Guts the ability to regulate ADUs as most standards can be argued to affect affordability – most housing of 2+ units essentially exempted from any PZ oversight
    10. Eviscerates any inclusionary zoning regulations

  • Caps fees for municipal approvals at $250 per unit (ll. 602-604)
    1. Regardless of project complexity or unit size
    2. In-house costs of reviewing projects may exceed this
    3. Potential cost shift from applicant to existing taxpayers or inadequate reviews
    4. Undermines affordable housing trust funds that are funded by approval fees

  • Prohibits municipalities from requiring affordable housing applications analyses to go beyond the Fire Safety Code (ll. 646-649)
    1. Focus on building design only, not emergency response
    2. Eliminates ability for municipalities to consider ability to respond (e.g., a municipality may not have the equipment needed to serve a tall building, or may not have the staffing and engines needed to serve a large number of units)
    3. Ethics of applying a lower level of risk assessment to residents of affordable housing!

  • Enables court to award attorneys’ fees to 8-30g plaintiffs (ll. 671-673)
    1. May increase costs of 8-30g litigation for municipalities

  • Limits the ability of third parties to intervene in 8-30g proceedings (ll. 1463-1470)
    1. Limits the ability of the public to participate

  • Gives a 20% housing unit equivalent point bonus for developments built without the affordable housing appeals procedure (ll. 800-805)
    1. Incentive not to go through 8-30g for municipalities
    2. BUT bill would eviscerate inclusionary zoning, so it is unclear whether this would come into play
    3. The ADUs and middle housing required by right have no affordability requirements; by forcing more market-rate housing, the bill may force municipalities away from the 10% goal under 8-30g, rather than draw them toward it

  • Establishes process to create “model zoning guidelines for municipalities to adopt” (ll. 819-853)
    1. Unclear if this adoption is voluntary or required

  • Enables public housing authorities to expand their jurisdiction to (very) high opportunity census tracts within a 15-mile radius of the authority’s home municipality (ll. 854-1147)
    1. No extension of eminent domain or police authority
    2. Unclear on ability for local oversight of Housing Projects by a town’s own housing authority.

  • Requires PZC, ZBA, and IWWC members to take 4 hours of training annually
    1. At least 2 hours on affordable and fair housing annually
    2. How to compel volunteers to take more time? Question of participation
    3. Question of applicability of training – is 2 hours every year on affordable housing the best and most pressing issue?

  • Would require zoning restrict development on ridgelines and to prohibit clear cutting and quarrying (ll. 344-352)

  • Enable PZCs to terminate nonconforming uses after a certain period of time (ll. 402-409)
    1. Runs counter to a recent public act that establishes the right to maintain a nonconformity as long as the property owner intends to continue its use (PA 17-39)
    2. Enables termination of nonconforming uses even if they have been continued
  • Establish a STATE PROPERTY TAX on residential and commercial real property, and exempts first $300,000 of the assessed residential value. Calculated based on the percentage of affordable housing developments, as defined in section 8- 30g of the general statutes, located in a municipality as follows:
    1. for > OR = to 10 % affordable, 0 mill
    2. from 8% to < 10%, 0.4 mill
    3. from 6% to < 8%, 0.8 mill
    4. from 4% to <6%, 1.2 mill
    5. from 2% to <4%, 1.6 mill
    6. From 0% to <2% 2.0 mill

How to calculate this unprecedented STATE PROPERTY TAX: Only municipalities tax property now!
Assume a home or business property with an ASSESSED value of:

$500,000: $500,000-$300,000= $200,000/1000= 200 and if only 0-2% affordable, $200 * 2.0 mill = $400 add’l state property tax
$1,000,000: $1,000,000 – $300,000= $700,000/1000= 700 and if only 0-2% affordable, $700 * 2.0 mill = $1,400 add’l state property tax

  • IF THIS BILL IS COMBINED WITH THE NUMEROUS ZONING BILLS FLOODING OUR TOWNS WITH MARKET VALUE DEVELOPMENT (with a density of 15+ units PER ACRE), ratio of Affordable Housing will be driven DOWN relative to the increased total housing stock. We will be set-back and paying even higher mill rates of state-wide property tax than we are now!
  • This Bill will disproportionately impact towns closest to NYC, with higher land costs. It will have a negative effect on the real estate market in Fairfield County at a time when it is finally just recovering from a long period of depressed values. CT is the only state in the country where property values have not recovered to where they were prior to the Great Recession.
  • It is further concerning that this property tax will be tied to existing natural affordable housing not recognized by 8-30g. The current 8-30g guidelines specifically excludes any naturally existing market value affordable housing that is not deed restricted or built roughly before 1990. Naturally affordable properties certainly exist in every municipality and have not been quantified and ADUs and Accessory Apartments should be part of that calculation.
  • We have seen from past tax increases in recent years that this will have a chilling effect on the upper end of the Fairfield County real estate market. So, why should legislators cares?
    1. Highest-income earners have the greatest mobility to establish residency elsewhere in states with more favorable tax structures.
    2. Net outmigration prior to COVID has reduced property and income tax revenues. Covid-19 has permanently changed how we live and work. Employees may no longer need to be geographically tied to NYC. This greater flexibility means that now more than ever CT must become more competitive since CT will no longer be competing just with our neighboring states but essentially the entire country.

CLICK BELOW TO READ THE SUBSTITUTE LANGUAGE THAT PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEES

“Fair Share” Calculator by Town

Consider the below example playing out at the same time in virtually every town – forced by state edict to double or triple their housing stock  or face potentially ruinous lawsuits. Exponential multifamily overdevelopment when the state population has been declining due to poor economic policy that is chasing businesses out – policies that are churned out by the very same Leadership that is now proposing these ill conceived housing bills? 

The fatal flaw of this bill is that it is not based in reality. In calculating fair share they rely mainly on grand list, income, poverty (all three of those highly correlated already), and existing multifamily housing. There is no capacity assessment to consider the infrastructure impacts of the allocations on individual towns.

Here is the explanation of the three options, taking New Canaan as an example:
Example of Option 1: New Canaan builds the "fair share" 1,350 units of Affordable Housing. The total "Fair Share" number is 20% of all housing currently in New Canaan. The cost per unit to New Canaan, excluding land cost is $450-600K PER UNIT. To create all 1,350 the minimum expense would run well over $600 million! No town can afford to pay for that.
Town Existing Housing Units* Number of Affordable Units
Required by Fair Share*
Total Housing Units
After Fair Share is met
{{vm.myTown}} {{vm.current}} {{vm.affordable}} {{vm.current + vm.affordable}} ({{vm.percentage}}% Increase)
Example of Option 2: Using a 10% affordable rule, as was in SB1024 and other plans, New Canaan would have to permit developers to only build projects over 10 units, and they would need to build 13,500 units of mostly multifamily to achieve the 10% or 1,350 affordable units. New Canaan's current total housing stock is 6,749 for the whole town. New Canaan would need to triple their entire housing stock to accommodate all the affordable units.
Town Existing Housing Units* New Units Required
if ONLY 10% Must be Affordabe
Total Housing Units
After Fair Share is met
{{vm.myTown}} {{vm.current}} {{vm.affordable10}} {{vm.current + vm.affordable10}} ({{vm.percentage10}}% Increase)
Example of Option 3: Same idea, at 20% affordable rule, similar to Westport model, developers would build 6,749 new units, of mostly multifamily, with 20% or 1,350 units of affordable, doubling the housing stock in town.
Town Existing Housing Units* New Units Required
if ONLY 20% Must be Affordabe
Total Housing Units
After Fair Share is met
{{vm.myTown}} {{vm.current}} {{vm.affordable20}} {{vm.current + vm.affordable20}} ({{vm.percentage20}}% Increase)
* per Open Communities Alliance