Senators Hwang and Boucher Hail Progress on 8.30g Affordable & Workforce Housing Reform Bill

June 1, 2017


Bill reforming 8-30g affordable housing passes House, moves to Senate

HARTFORD, CT – State Senator Tony Hwang (R-28) and Senator Toni Boucher (R-26) said that many months of negotiating a bipartisan proposal paid off this week when legislation reforming Connecticut’s affordable housing system passed the House of Representatives and headed to the Senate.

The bill, HB 6880 as amended was passed by the House of Representatives on Tuesday night by a vote of 116-33.

Co-Chair of the General Assembly Housing Committee, Sen. Hwang praised the bill’s vote in the House and said he looks forward to voting on it in the Senate.

“I thank my colleagues in the House of Representative for their successful passage of statutory reform that will motivate our state and municipalities toward greater access and inventory of workforce and affordable housing for Connecticut residents,” Sen. Hwang said.  We move one step closer toward our goal to increase housing opportunities for everyone in Connecticut and encourage a diverse and dynamic residential community that will foster economic, educational, and cultural growth.  Another objective met will allow more local zoning and planning input in developing affordable & workforce housing projects that are compatible with community character and statutes.  I also want to extend my gratitude to all stakeholders for their passion and participation in making this important housing reform possible.”

The bill makes several critical reforms to restore the ability of many communities throughout Connecticut to make comprehensive zoning and planning decisions.

“More affordable housing certainly is needed in Connecticut, but to have a law that allows developers to sidestep local planning and zoning regulations defeats the purpose of having those regulations,” Sen. Boucher said. “Self-determination is vital for the cohesive development of any community. Having municipalities create their own plans for affordable housing provides for well-thought out developments that will be more easily accepted by neighbors.”

Sen. Boucher said the 8-30g law has become an emotional issue for many communities because of the broad latitude it gives developers to build under the auspices of increasing affordable housing inventory. Developers can place dense, multi-family projects into single-family neighborhoods, or take land set aside for office buildings and make it into residential properties with set aside percentages far below median income housing. These sometimes-controversial development projects often change the town’s character and disrupts neighborhoods.

Sen. Hwang said that under the current 8-30g law, a local zoning board can reject such a plan only if the project represents a threat to public health and safety that outweighs the need for affordable housing. Often, projects rejected by local planning and zoning boards are approved on appeal to the Land Use Litigation Docket, a branch of the state Superior Court.

“This bill updates the nearly 30-year-old 8-30g language so that it addresses the need for affordable housing in our state, while providing more fairness to local communities that are often at the mercy of developers whose projects conflict with the wishes of the town zoning bodies and neighborhoods,” Sen. Hwang said.

The provisions of the bill are:

  • Lowers minimum number of Housing Unit Equivalent (HUE) points smaller municipalities must  obtain to qualify for a moratorium from 75 points to 50 points
  • Encourages the development of family units and senior units tied to family housing, and family units located in incentive housing zones
  • Makes income-restricted units in an Incentive Housing Zone development eligible for points toward a moratorium.
  • Changes the definition of Median Income applicable to IHZ’s to conform to 8-30g’s definition (the lesser of state median income and the area median income as determined by HUD).
  • Establish a 2nd moratorium for municipalities with at least 20,000 dwelling units after qualifying for 1st.
  • Requires towns to adopt strategic plans to state on how they will increase the amount of affordable units within their community.
  • Contains a five year sunset provision

Sen. Hwang and Sen. Boucher said they both look forward to the Senate approving the bill so it can be signed into law by the Governor.

“Having this change to the 8-30g statute will bring real, meaningful relief to communities,” Sen. Boucher said.

Senator Boucher represents the communities of Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.

Senator Hwang represents the communities of Fairfield, Easton and Newtown along with portions of Westport, Weston.