Zoning for Equity: Summary of Findings

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ZONING FOR EQUITY: SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

June 17, 2021 Roger Maldonado, Esq., Open Communities Alliance


BACKGROUND

Why analyze planning and zoning?

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CONNECTICUT HAS AN AFFORDABILIT Y CRISIS ¡ C T h a s t h e 9 th h i g h e s t h o u s i n g wa g e i n t h e n a t i o n – A f a m i l y wo u l d h av e to wo r k 99 hours a week at minimum wa g e to a f fo r d a t wo b e d ro o m a p a r t m e n t . ¡ G r e a t i n c o m e d i s p a r i t i e s by r a c e , a n d g ov e r n m e n t p o l i c i e s i n fl u e n c i n g w h e r e a f fo r d a b l e u n i t s g o , m e a n t h a t C T ’ s a f fo r d a b l e h o u s i n g crisis is also a segregation crisis.

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Connecticut also is one of the most segregated states in the country.

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TOWN SELECTION CONSIDERATIONS

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12 TOWNS INCLUDED IN STUDY

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WHY THESE TOWNS? All 12 towns are segregated (by race, ethnicity, and income). Madison § 91.2% white § 0.4% Black § 2.5% Hispanic § 2.4% Asian

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WHY THESE TOWNS? All 12 towns are segregated (by race, ethnicity, and income). Southington Race or Ethnicity % White % Black % Hispanic % Asian

Southington

Hartford

New Britain

Waterbury

Meriden

Bristol

89.9% 1.8% 4.7% 2.5%

14.8% 35.5% 44.3% 2.7%

40.0% 11.2% 43.3% 2.8%

37.8% 18.8% 37.4% 2.3%

57.5% 9.2% 29.2% 1.7%

73.6% 4.8% 17.3% 1.5%

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WHY THESE TOWNS? All 12 towns are segregated (by race, ethnicity, and income). Orange § Poverty rate is ¼ that of New Haven County. Westport § Median household income (over $200,000) is double Fairfield County. 9


WHY THESE TOWNS? All 12 towns lack affordable housing. Darien § Median home value close to $1.5 million (three times higher than Fairfield County). Southbury § 1.5% affordable housing (§ 8-30g). Berlin § Less than 2% affordable AND non-senior AND rental. 10


12 TOWNS INCLUDED IN STUDY

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REPORT GOALS

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REPORT GOALS

¡ Illustrate planning and zoning impediments. ¡ Identify limitations in existing policies. ¡ Empower towns and advocates to make changes.

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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

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LESSON 1: DON’T IGNORE PLANNING

Ridgefield “Ridgefield should always be a community where: . . . the single family residential character is maintained.”


LESSON 1: DON’T IGNORE PLANNING

Berlin “In established, sound, single-family areas, multifamily development should not be permitted unless there are special circumstances that would eliminate the potential adverse impacts on the neighborhood.”


LESSON 2: TOWNS MAKE IT HARD FOR MULTIFAMILY

Avon No multifamily as-ofright anywhere. Single-family as-ofright in residential zones.


LESSON 2: TOWNS MAKE IT HARD FOR MULTIFAMILY

Southbury Two-family as-of-right in most residential zones. Nothing above two-family anywhere in town. Key Housing Data Total Housing Units % Affordable Median Home Value (Owned) % Single-Family % Two-Family % 3-9 Units % 10-19 Units % 20+ Units % Mobile Homes

Southbury 8,779 1.5% $325,000 72.8% 8.7% 11.4% 1.0% 5.9% 0.3%

New Haven County 367,053 13.0% $248,600 58.9% 9.7% 16.5% 4.3% 10.0% 0.5%

Connecticut 1,516,629 11.7% $275,400 64.3% 8.2% 14.1% 3.8% 8.8% 0.8%


LESSON 2: TOWNS MAKE IT HARD FOR MULTIFAMILY

Westport “In recent years, there have been land use applications for affordable housing and other developments which have been provocative and strengthened residents’ concerns about the changing character of the community.” Avon “The Commission is also aware that in many instances residents’ sentiments are in opposition to new development to maintain community character.”


LESSON 2: TOWNS MAKE IT HARD FOR MULTIFAMILY

North Haven Age-restricted homes only 3+ unit housing allowed in most areas (without overlay).


LESSON 3: LITTLE LAND FOR MULTIFAMILY


LESSON 3: LITTLE LAND FOR MULTIFAMILY

Madison “Discourage multi-family (and/or higher density) developments in areas outside Madison Center unless there is some significant community benefit that will result.”


LESSON 4: HUGE LOT AND PARCEL SIZE MINIMUMS

Orange 60,000 sf minimum in almost all of town.


LESSON 4: HUGE LOT AND PARCEL SIZE MINIMUMS

Berlin Massive increases to lot sizes for multifamily.

Zone Mountain Reserve-2 Planned Residential-1 Planned Residential-2 Planned Residential-3 Planned Office Residential

Single-Family Minimum Lot Size (Acres)

Multifamily (3+ Unit) Minimum Lot Size (Acres)

% Increase from Single-Family to Multifamily

3 0.99 0.48 0.26

60 20 7 5

1900% 1926% 1352% 1836%

0.48

3

522%


LESSON 5: STRINGENT DENSIT Y LIMITS

Towns govern density in a number of ways: ¡ ¡ ¡ ¡ ¡

Units per acre Units per building Units per some other use Numerical caps (for entire zone or provision) Temporal caps (limiting units in period of time)


LESSON 6: MULTIFAMILY TIED TO INFRASTRUCTURE


LESSON 6: MULTIFAMILY TIED TO INFRASTRUCTURE


LESSON 7: HOUSING CLOSED OFF TO FAMILIES

Towns target housing away from families, larger households: ¡ Focus on senior housing ¡ Banning larger units in certain zones ¡ Restricting amount of bedrooms Fairfield Focuses on “providing housing options for the town’s college graduates, young professionals, workforce, and empty -nesters.”


LESSON 8: INADEQUATE CURRENT PROVISIONS

Towns focused on measures with limited potential ef fect: ¡ Accessory dwelling units ¡ Affordable homeownership ¡ Affordable single-family


UNIQUE OBSTACLES

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CERTAIN UNIQUE CHALLENGES

Section 26.4(3) of Madison’s Zoning Code.


CERTAIN UNIQUE OBSTACLES

Two types of “Sunset” clauses: ¡ Time-bounded zones (cease to be available) ¡ Zones no longer available once hit certain trigger (§ 8-30g)


WHAT SHOULD WE DO?

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ACTION STEPS

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Self-reflection and education.

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Outreach and education at a community level.

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Systems change at a community level (reviewing town policies such as zoning and school culture).

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In communities with a dearth of affordable homes, actively work on a community level to bring more mixed income housing to town (actual development, changes to zoning).

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Systems change at the state level § Fair Share Planning and Zoning

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FAIR SHARE PLANNING AND ZONING

¡ H B 6 61 1 p r o p o s e d t h i s y e a r. P a s s e d P l a n n i n g a n d Development Committee. Died in Judiciary Committee. ¡ Assess the number of affordable housing units the state needs. ¡ Fa i r l y a l l o c a t e t h a t t o e a c h town considering town resources and past track record with affordable housing. ¡ Establish a planning and enforcement process to m a ke s u r e t h e h o u s i n g i s produced.

Fair share can be both a new state policy AND a tool to set goals locally in absence of a state law.

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