Westport Housing: How Are We Doing?

Laws like 8-30g have shined a spotlight on affordable housing. There’s a hot debate on how well each Connecticut town and city does. It’s hard to say, particularly because the statute does not include housing built before its enactment in 1990.

A 2017 law requires all municipalities to adopt an affordable housing plan. The deadline was June 1, 2022.

Fairfield County’s Center for Housing Opportunity has released a scorecard, rating plans for 17 towns and cities here. Rankings cover 4 areas: plan submission, planning process, housing needs assessment, and action and implementation.

Two cities led. Stamford was first, followed by Danbury. (Bridgeport is not listed; apparently they have not filed a plan.)

Westport, Fairfield and Bethel tied for third. We had 55 points, out of a possible 100.

We were followed by Weston, New Canaan, Greenwich and Stratford (all tied). Next came Brookfield; then a tie between Easton, Redding, Wilton, Monroe and Newtown. Finishing last were Sherman and New Fairfield.

Among Westport’s new affordable housing:136 Riverside Avenue. for adults with disabilities.

Westport earned 5 points for submitting a plan, but 0 because it was submitted late (June 27).

The “planning process” question earned us 7 out of a possible 15 points. We had 14 out of a possible 30 for “housing needs assessment,” and 29 out of a possible 45 for “action and implementation.”

Click here for more details. Click here for the full story, reported first by Connecticut Mirror.

Want to know more? Fairfield County’s Center for Human Opportunity sponsors an evening of conversation September 28 (6:30 p.m., Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church).

Moderated by Hearst Connecticut Media columnist Huge Bailey, the panel includes Westport Planning & Zoning Commission chair Danielle Dobin, Stamford Mayor Caroline Simmons. Mark Barnhart (director of Fairfield’s Office of Community & Economic Development, and Desegregate CT director Pete Harrison.

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6 responses to “Westport Housing: How Are We Doing?

  1. Great; let us work as diligently as we can to emulate both Stamford and Danbury!

  2. This is the right kind of light to be shone on our town; that we are working towards the goal and have been moving the needle forward.

    Dan, respectfully, we are not cities like Stamford or Danbury, it’s apples and oranges and needs to remain as such. What we should take from this list is that Westport is on top of the small towns.

    I sit on a state sub-committee on affordable housing working on a guide for cities/towns to create the very plans that have been reviewed. What’s important about this guide is that it focuses on giving towns options to choose from and not mandates. At least that’s how its shaping up, that one size does not fit all.

    While I could go on about how we lost points for the wrong reasons in this analysis. I am pleased we got what we did. But what this will also bring is scrutiny on follow through and since its us, Westport, there will be lots of eyes.

    • Dan and Matthew, I don’t think I implied that Westport is like Danbury or Stamford. I do think it’s impressive that of all the smaller towns in Fairfield County, Westport ranks highest.

      I also agree that rankings are very subjective. They depend on the criteria used — and anyone can argue for and against different criteria.

    • Of course, Mathew. I was tongue cheek in cheek for Christ’s sake…I hate what those cities have done; but we are trying very hard to catch up. Just wait for the Saugatuck disaster to be approved.

  3. “Gee, this town’s Affordability Plan ranks so high, they don’t really need the 10% our “8-30g-MegaProject” would bring them. Let’s look elsewhere for underdeveloped lots.” …said no developer, ever.

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