South Windsor to end housing moratorium

Mar. 11—SOUTH WINDSOR — The Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday unanimously approved ending the town's one-year moratorium on all new housing applications on March 27.

The moratorium was adopted in a 4-3 vote in March 2022, and was originally set to expire on March 31. On Feb. 28 the PZC approved a four-week deadline extension to April 23 to allow the PZC time to change zoning regulations that complied with the state's new affordable housing laws.

The moratorium, which now ends in 16 days, halted all applications for single-family residential subdivisions or re-subdivisions that create three or more lots and any special exception permits for any single family, duplex, or multi-family residential housing.

Several people supported ending the ban on single-family housing applications at a public hearing on Feb. 14.

After two public hearings and much deliberation, other text amendments on affordable housing were also approved at Tuesday's meeting.

The main change was to require 15% of all housing developments with four or more apartments to be deed restricted as affordable.

The town's affordable housing plan for 2022-27 defined affordable units as being priced so that households earning 80% or less of the area median income can afford to live there without going beyond their means. It should be priced so housing costs do not exceed 30% of the household's income, and be of an appropriate size for the number of people living in the household, the plan states.

According to the plan documents, 739 units, or 6.84% of the town's housing stock, are price-protected as "affordable." Since less than 10% of the housing stock is considered affordable, the town is subject to the state's Affordable Housing Appeals Procedure.

"We definitely need affordable housing," Peter DeMallie, president and CEO of local developer Design Professionals, said at the February hearing.

The updated PZC regulations now have an inclusionary zoning section to encourage development of affordable housing for low- to moderate-income residents that follows state guidelines.

The state requires new developments with four or more multi-family dwelling units to have a minimum of 15% of the units designated as affordable housing.

Additionally, the affordable units must be dispersed throughout the development, rather than contained in a separate section, and have the same number of bedrooms, bathrooms, types and sizes of appliances, square footages, and exterior finishes as all other apartments.

Under the changes, any development application to the PZC that includes affordable housing units must now have an affordability plan to comply with the state's affordable housing law.

The affordability plan must include a fair-housing marketing plan and a sample calculation of the maximum sales price or rents of the affordable dwelling units.

Collin covers South Windsor, East Windsor and Windsor for the Journal Inquirer.