Hwang, Kupchick bring affordable housing reform one step closer

Housing Committee Chair Sen. Tony Hwang and Ranking Member Rep. Brenda Kupchick on March 7 applauded the committee’s passage of legislation which aims to improve and update the controversial 1990 affordable housing state law known as “8-30g.”

“The time is right that we update this 27-year-old state housing law,” Sen. Hwang said. “It is time we adapt and innovate Connecticut’s housing policies to recognize a fast-changing housing landscape. Housing policy impacts so many other policies and every community. As Chairman of the Housing Committee, I take that responsibility seriously and hope to review and evaluate 8-30g in a comprehensive and transparent way. We have heard loud and clear from residents from the 28th District and throughout Connecticut that change is needed — and this legislation reflects that change.”

“I'm optimistic our efforts to reform the 8-30g statute over the last many years are seeing positive results by the passage of three bills out of the Housing Committee,” said Rep. Brenda Kupchick. “This is an important and crucial step to modifying the law. We need to make sure local zoning laws are protected and not overridden by predatory developers under the 8-30g law that hasn't resulted in the goal of measurable increases in affordable housing.”

Rep. Kupchick and Sen. Hwang co-sponsored two major pieces of legislation that would update the 8-30g state statute: House Bill 6880 and House Bill 7057. The bills now await debate and passage in the House of Representatives.

Rep. Laura Devlin testified in favor of legislation to update the 8-30g state statutes at the Housing committee public hearing last month.

Rep. Laura Devlin said, “This legislation helps put into place a series of equitable, common sense changes that modernize and update the 8-30g statute without undermining the Affordable Housing Act and providing a measure of fairness to communities, like Trumbull & Fairfield, that are subject to the current law and its deficiencies.”

House Bill 6880 includes the following provisions:

  • Contains a five year sunset provision putting towns on notice that they must use these changes to encourage and develop more affordable housing in their community

  • Lowers minimum number of HUE points smaller municipalities must obtain to qualify for a moratorium from 75 HUE points to 50 HUE points helping smaller municipalities gain a moratorium under 8-30g

  • Encourages the development of three bedroom family units, senior units tied to family housing, and family units located in incentive housing zones to encourage the development of these types of housing since a need has been demonstrated for it

  • Makes income-restricted units in an IHZ development eligible for points toward a moratorium which encourages towns to adopt these development zones and take control of their affordable housing need

House Bill 7057 on 8-30g:

  • Requires that a rotation of judges hear these cases, in the districts where the judges sit

  • Adds to the units that count toward the 10% threshold and moratorium status certain mobile manufactured homes located in resident-owned mobile manufactured home parks and other mobile manufactured homes

  • Lowers the threshold of the 2% HUE requirement for a moratorium to 1.75% if a municipality has adopted an affordable housing plan

  • Requires each municipality, at least every four years, to prepare on affordable housing plan, which must include inclusionary zoning

  • Awards bonus points for 3 Bedroom family units and senior units tied to family housing

  • Awards assisted housing that is open to only seniors and people with disabilities HUE points

  • Award points for units that receive financial assistance under a governmental program for the construction or substantial rehabilitation of low and moderate income housing

  • Specifies that matters a commission may legally consider when reviewing an affordable housing application include “best planning practices” and “design standards”

  • Allows a municipality to deny an application if the proposal is for 25 units or fewer and it exceeds the parcel’s permitted density by more than 100% if certain conditions are met

  • Makes income-restricted units in an IHZ development eligible for points toward a moratorium

Hwang and Kupchick on Feb. 16 participated in a wide-ranging discussion at the Legislative Office Building on “8-30g.”

The forum was designed to:

  • Receive input from local zoning officials, community leaders and residents from impacted neighborhoods.

  • Boost affordable and workforce housing stock for seniors, working families, and disabled residents.

  • Develop innovative housing policies for urban, suburban and rural communities.

Hwang represents Fairfield, Newtown, Westport, Weston and Easton. He can be reached at 800-842-1421 and at Tony.Hwang@cga.ct.gov.

Kupchick represents Fairfield and Southport. She can be reached at 800-842-1423 and at Brenda.Kupchick@cga.ct.gov.