8-30g Relief? Not So Fast.

It seemed like welcome news last month, when the General Assembly overrode Governor Malloy’s veto of a bill that would loosen restrictions of 8-30g. Part of the state’s affordable housing standards, 8-30g incentivizes municipalities to make 10 percent of their housing stock “affordable.”

Officials in Westport — which has more affordable housing than counts under narrow 8-30g regulations — thought the override meant they’d qualify for a moratorium.

But the devil may be in the details.

According to Partnership for Strong Communities — a statewide policy and advocacy organization “dedicated to ending homelessness, expanding the creation of affordable housing, and building strong communities in Connecticut” — Westport will not qualify for “eligibility relief.”

Hales Court is affordable Westport housing — though it was built before 8-30g regulations came in effect in 1990, and does not count for “points.”

The reasons are complex. The organization says:

Through September 30, 2022 a town is eligible for a moratorium from the provisions of Section 8-30g if it shows that it has added affordable housing units equal to the greater of 2 percent of the housing stock, or 50 Housing Unit Equivalent (HUE) points. Previously, the minimum number of HUE points required was 75. This change makes it easier for the state’s 64 smallest towns to achieve a moratorium.

But Westport is not among those “smallest towns.”

For towns with 20,000 or more housing units, the requirements for achieving a 2nd and subsequent moratorium have been eased by reducing the number of HUE points needed from 2% of a town’s housing units to 1.5%. The term of a 2nd or subsequent moratorium is extended from 4 to 5 years for 6 towns: Fairfield, Greenwich, Hamden, Milford, Stratford and West Hartford.

In other words — according to PSC — Westport is not helped by having 10,000 housing units less than the 20,000.

Canal Park offers affordable housing for seniors, near downtown. It too was built before 1990.

The organization continues:

Through September 30, 2022, restricted family units with at least 3 bedrooms, or in an Incentive Housing Zone (IHZ), receive a 1/4-point bonus. Restricted elderly units receive a 1/2-point bonus, if at least 60% of the restricted units counted toward the moratorium are family units.

However, no 3-bedroom units have been offered in any 8-30g in Westport.

Complex? Absolutely.

What comes next? Perhaps more “affordable housing” proposals.

Stay tuned.

12 responses to “8-30g Relief? Not So Fast.

  1. Perhaps we should further define what the 1990 standards include and provide a way for pre existing housing to meet the standard. Is there something special about 1990 or is that just when someone thought about this?

    • Totally arbitrary — the way the regulations were written.

    • Matthew Mandell

      1990 was the year 8-30g came in. So everything after is what counts.

      So Westport was already doing the right thing then got no credit. We still don’t, though the redo off Hales did get us some points with the new units.

      • Bart Shuldman

        Matt-it is wrong that Westport gets no credit for affordable homes built before 1990. It is arbitrary and penalizes towns like Westport that were ahead of the rest of CT.

        You would think someone would be fighting for what is right!!

  2. Cathy Walsh, P&Z Chair

    So true. Westport does not benefit one iota from all of the recent drama. When the amendment came up for public comment last fall, we at P&Z were thrilled, then we got into the details and saw that there was no benefit to Westport in this proposal. Nevertheless, we submitted supporting testimony into the public record.

    Fast forward to the last few weeks, when the dust settled, I asked the P&Z staff to review the final version. The answer is the same. We don’t benefit at all.

  3. Bart Shuldman

    This is sick….State Rep Steinberg goes on a rant against Chip Stephens and the truth is, STATE Rep Steinberg got nothing for WESTPORT for what he did. In fact, we are worse off as we now have to submit a new report every 5 years.

    Truly sad news and from what I hear there are many more 8-30g application coming into Westport for developments that most if not all Westporters willl not like.

    State Rep Steinberg owes Chip an apology. State Rep Steinberg owes Westport an apology for this and his vote to approve the new labor deal that will cause increased TAXES on all of us.

    This is horrible.

  4. Bart Shuldman

    Do seniors in Westport truly understand the problem with 8-30g now that Westport got nothing? Do we all understand the problem we face?

    It costs Westport approximately $20,000 to educate a student in Westport. Most families of 4 do not pay $40,000 per year in Westport property taxes (that fund our schools). Almost no family of 5 pay $60,000.

    Westport makes up the tax difference, the fact that most in Westport do not pay enough taxes for the cost of their children in Westport schools, with senior citizens in Westport. Seniors no longer have children in Westport schools, but pay the high Westport property taxes. Seniors make up the difference that is needed to afford our great schools and education. The balance of seniors and families in Westport has been favorable and have allowed our town to invest and maintain our wonderful schools.

    Developers will now be trying to build 3 and 4 story apartment buildings in Westport with the 8-30g state affordable housing regulation that was not changed. There was NO benefit to Westport. If Westport has to meet the state mandate of 10% affordable homes built since 1990, our population of affordable homes will come close to 15% of the total homes in our town. Remember, Westport cannot count the affordable homes built before 1990 (I am sure someone will know the exact number), and therefore the total population will be higher than 10%.

    Most of the projects that will be proposed will have 100-140 apartments, that will probably be rented by new families that want to move to Westport for our education. None of these projects will pay enough taxes to come close to what it will cost to educate a student in Westport. Making matter worse, these huge apartment buildings will destroy the small town character that most on 06880 desire.

    The developers can and will skirt the local Westport P&Z rules in order to construct these large buildings, because they can. The CT 8-30g regulation allows developers to avoid our P&Z regulations (as difficult as that is to understand).

    As we add more and more students to Westport schools, costs will rise and Westport will have two choices….1) lower the cost of our schools or 2) raise property taxes. These new students will enter our schools living in buildings that do not pay enough to help pay for their education.

    Westport will most likely chose to increases property taxes in order to maintain our home prices (good schools=higher home prices). As property taxes go up to pay for the additional students in our schools, some senior citizens in Westport might leave. If senior citizens in Westport leave, then most of these homes will be bought by families looking to enter Westport schools. This will, again, increase the amount of students in our schools, and lessen the amount of seniors willing to live in Westport and help fund our schools (remember they pay the same property taxes without having one child in our schools). The balance of families and seniors in our town will change, more families and less seniors, which will put more cost pressure on the school budget.

    I am all for affordable homes as long as Westport can count all the affordable homes built in our town. But that is not what happened with the news regarding the CT 8-30g regulation.

    State Representative Steinberg from Westport said Westport needs to move quicker and build more affordable homes. Really? Do we truly understand the impact to our seniors in Westport and the town’s budget? Did Westport get anything from the changes to 8-30g–NO!! Will seniors want to pay higher and higher property taxes?

    Lets hope that our town can fight off the large housing development projects that are coming.

  5. Larry Weisman

    I have never understood why 8-30(g) housing strikes fear in the hearts of Westporters. Provided only that the chosen sites are appropriate and are served by the necessary infrastructure, prioritizing and expediting construction of affordable housing – which is what the statute is intended to do – promotes diversity and meets the very real needs of those who cannot pay market rates, including many who work in town.

    Furthermore, it seems to be hypocricy to take the position, as we have done, that we are in favor of affordable housing, but only so that we can impose a moratorium on it.

  6. 8-30{g} is an effort to redistribute income. Not surprisingly those from whom the income is being taken object from time-to-time.

  7. Larry Weisman

    I bet you wouldn’t object to a modest shift of income (or is it wealth?) if you were one of those in need of affordable housing

  8. David J. Loffredo

    Larry –

    My personal concern is only about the numbers if we allow high density housing. I don’t know if you have kids in the school system but it’s overflowing and many of us have pulled our children out – which then begs the question why stay in town in the first place. I love the beach and longshore but it’s the school system that differentiates Westport from Fairfield and the more over crowded the schools get the less desirable the town becomes.