Darien RTM approves three resolutions, tables a fourth
The Representative Town Meeting Monday approved several resolutions in its last regularly scheduled meeting before the new members take over after the November election.
The RTM approved the establishment of an Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which the Board of Selectmen OK'd at a previous meeting. The money in the trust fund may be used for purchasing, constructing, rehabilitating or repairing affordable housing, according to the ordinance, which takes effect Jan. 1.
In 2009, the Planning and Zoning Commission established the inclusionary zoning regulations that require new developers to construct at least 12 percent of a housing project as affordable. Otherwise, the developer can opt to pay a fee-in-lieu of building affordable homes. The regulations only apply to developments with five or more housing units. The fee-in-lieu will go into the trust fund.
Darien received a moratorium from compliance with state statute 8-30g in 2010. The statute allows developers to bypass local zoning laws in towns that have less than 10 percent of homes classified as affordable housing. The town has until October 2014 to achieve 10 percent of affordable housing or 8-30g will apply once again.
The Board of Selectmen will appoint an advisory commission to oversee the trust fund. The commission will serve in a capacity similar to a pension board.
The RTM also approved a $250,000 loan to the Allen O'Neill housing development.
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Three years ago, the Board of Selectmen was charged with re-purposing a grant from U.S. Housing and Urban Development that would be directed to redevelopment, but the agreement to provide Allen O'Neill with the $250,000 was never executed, First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said at an August Board of Selectmen meeting.
The grant was initially provided for affordable housing at 35 Leroy Ave., which is now the site of the new Board of Education building.
When the 35 Leroy Ave. affordable housing project was abandoned, Board of Finance Chairman Liz Mao said at an August Board of Finance meeting, the selectmen decided to assign the grant to the Darien Housing Authority with the anticipated purpose the redevelopment of the Allen O'Neill property, which includes affordable housing units, but the agreement never came to fruition.
Stevenson said the town has a "moral obligation" to fulfill funding that it was previously willing to provide to the Allen O'Neill redevelopment. The housing project costs $30 million, according to Stevenson. It has received $5 million from Citigroup for funding, as well as from the Department of Economic and Community Development, the Darien Housing Authority, Arthur Anderson -- one of the project's partners -- and other private investors.
The RTM approved, save for one abstention, the reappointment of William Jessup to the Five Mile River Commission. The Board of Selectmen previously approved Jessup's reappointment. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is the last to approve the appointment.
Jessup has served as the Five Mile River commissioner since 2004, when former First Selectman Evonne Klein appointed him.
The acquisition of the open space on Hecker Avenue was removed from the agenda and will be discussed at a later meeting.
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