Despite it being 98% developed, Darien would be able to meet its 10% affordable housing mandate if the town was “creative” according to former first selectman Evonne Klein.
Klein was recently appointed as head of Gov. Dan Malloy’s newly formed Department of Housing.
Before she was confirmed, Klein was asked about state statute 8-30g, which allows developers to overstep local zoning laws if the town does not have 10% of its housing stock classified as affordable, by legislators, including Connecticut State Minority Leader Sen. John McKinney.
McKinney pointed out that town officials from several towns in Fairfield County, both Republican and Democrat, agreeing that state statute 8-30g needs to change, and asked her if she supported the law as is.
Klein said she’s reviewed the law a number of times.
“And I do support the law as is. I do think that municipalities can work to get to their 10%. And I think we need to work together and have some creative solutions,” Klein said.
She added that from her vantage point as the former first selectman of Darien, “there are a number of different opportunities in that town which is 98 percent developed, much like Fairfield County, to get to the 10%.”
“I think we just need to get creative and make sure that we’re developing plans and thinking holistically about our individual municipalities and then as regions,” she said.
McKinney gave Westport as an example, which is 97% developed, and said Westport’s First Selectman Gordon Joseloff would say that Westport could never reach 10%, even with inclusionary zoning, which Darien also has.
He also pointed out that Darien’s affordable housing stock has only increased from 1.5% to 3.5%.
“How would — how would a Darien — how would a Westport get to actually 10%?” McKinney asked.
Klein pointed out that there are “more and more cluster developments coming forward.”
“So, that’s what I see more and more applications coming forward, not for single family, but for multiple family developments,” she said.
Following her testimony, Klein did not respond to The Darien Times’ requests for comment on her stance regarding 8-30g.