Trumbull renews multi-family housing moratorium for fourth time

The Residences at Main currently under construction in Trumbull, Conn. Nov. 3, 2022.
The Residences at Main currently under construction in Trumbull, Conn. Nov. 3, 2022.Ned Gerard/Hearst Connecticut Media

TRUMBULL — In what has become an annual occurrence, the Planning and Zoning Commission has once again voted to renew a moratorium on multifamily rental units.

The commission recently voted 4-1 to extend the moratorium for the fourth consecutive year. With the extension, it is now set to expire Feb. 28, 2024.

According to Town Planner Rob Librandi, the commission renewed the moratorium because of ongoing apartment construction near the Trumbull mall. But the moratorium has not completely stopped apartment developments from going up in town, due to multiple projects which have been exempted from the moratorium because they had begun the process before its enactment.

Librandi said the commission decided to play it safe, and wait to see the effect the Residences at Main would have on the town.

"While we expect the impact of those units to be similar to the other multifamily units developed, P&Z wants to continue to monitor these changes to our town," Librandi said.

The moratorium was first passed in 2019. The Residences at Main, which received final approval by the commission in October 2020 is now almost complete. Planning and Zoning Commission Chair Fred Garrity said there are no current plans to build additional apartment projects.

But while there are no current units approved for construction, there is a potential development that might include them as part of a mixed use development proposal.

"There is a potential project for Trumbull Center, that regulations were approved to allow mixed use, which should be under 50 units," Librandi said. Another mixed use project on the Trumbull-Monroe border could also mean a handful of units on the Trumbull side.

Garrity said while other developments have proven not to impact the quality of life in the area, the moratorium also served to manage town growth.

"We're trying to prevent an influx of poorly planned unwanted types of development versus modern developments with the amenities that people are becoming accustomed to in a newer development, and something that fits with the places that are available," Garrity said.

There's also a senior living facility planned at 48 Monroe Tpke., which was the former regional headquarters for United Heathcare. That project was only recentlygiven the final legal go ahead to begin construction, but was also in development before the moratorium. In any case, the moratorium doesn't apply to senior housing, according to First Selectman Vicki Tesoro.

"The moratorium does not apply to any multifamily housing proposal, regardless of the number of units, which is solely age restricted housing, 55 years of age and older," Tesoro said.

With the moratorium approved for a fourth year, it is not clear how long exactly it could continue to be renewed. Commission member Tony D'Aquila said in 2020 the slow pace of information gathered could potentially lead to a moratorium lasting decades.

Other municipalities have had restrictive municipal laws or statutes banning multi family housing causing in part, a statewide affordable housing shortage.

Garrity said the moratorium hasn't stopped the town's growth. 

"It's become a place to be," he said. "Businesses want to relocate here. Businesses want to develop here. People want to move here. People want to use the businesses that are here."

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