An investigation into Darien that has gone on for over two years without much detail provided by the civil rights division of the United States Department of Justice has officially closed, with no further action required.
In a letter dated Thursday, Aug. 23 from Steven Rosenbaum, chief of the housing and civil enforcement area of the civil rights division to town counsel Wayne Fox, Rosenbaum says the department informed Darien of the investigation on May 4, 2010. Rosenbaum says the investigation involved whether the town’s zoning and land use practices violated the Fair Housing Act.
The letter continues to say the case is closed.
Our office has now completed the investigation, and has deteremined that no further action is warranted at this time. Therefore, the Department of Justice has closed this investigation.
In May 2010, the Department of Justice informed the town it was investigating its inclusionary zoning policy, in particular the “priority populations” clause, which would make affordable units built first offered to those connected to the town. In the fall of 2010, P & Z voted to remove the “priority populations” clause.
The inclusionary zoning policy requires those applicants building market-rate housing to contribute to the town’s affordable housing stock by either adding affordable units to the project or contributing funds toward building it elsewhere.
The town approved its first project that will make use of inclusionary zoning with a mixed used project on the Post Road proposed by local developers David Genovese and Penny Glassmeyer. The town opted to ask Genovese and Glassmeyer to make a payment after the developers asked the town what would work best.
Throughout the investigation, the Department of Justice told The Darien Times its investigation remained ongoing, and thus could not comment on the investigation’s scope.