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8-30g: To Be Continued

The Chinese call this the Year of the Red Fire Monkey.

In Westport, it’s the Year of 8-30g.

That Connecticut statute allows developers to override local zoning regulations if less than 10% of a town’s housing stock is “affordable” (according to state formulas).

Towns can apply for a 4-year moratorium from being subject to 8-30g if they can show “affordable housing equivalency points” equal to 2 percent of their housing stock. During the moratorium, towns can rezone, encourage mixed-income housing, or work with developers to build projects together.

Westport mandates that any multi-family housing proposal must be at least 20% affordable.

Of the proposed housing development at 1177 Post Road East, 30 of the 94 units would be “affordable.”

But 8-30g overrides virtually all local regulations — height, density, location, anything really except public safety or environmental.

So any developer may offer a plan that includes 30% affordable housing.

He won’t say he’s selling 70% of his units at what are high-end market rates.

Right now, Westport is debating 2 proposals: Hiawatha Lane and 1177 Post Road East.

The 70 affordable units proposed for Hiawatha — off Saugatuck Avenue, near I-95 Exit 17 — while technically not part of an 8-30g proposal, would bring us over the points needed for the 4-year moratorium.

So would the 30 affordable units proposed as part of the 94-apartment building at 1177 Post Road East, opposite Crate & Barrel.

However, the moratorium would not take effect until either of those projects is actually built.

Until then, any developer can buy property in town, and file an 8-30g proposal.

Several housing developments around Westport — Hales Court, Sasco Creek, Canal Park, the former Saugatuck Elementary School on Bridge Street — prove that Westport cares about affordable housing. And we do it right.

Some of the housing at Hales Court.

The next couple of years, though, may see a bit of monkey business.

The developers’ — not the red fire monkey — kind.

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