The Day – Waterford continues efforts in affordable housing

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Waterford — The Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday approved a site plan for multi-family residential buildings at 908 Hartford Turnpike with affordable apartments and reviewed a draft presentation of the city’s affordable housing plan.

The sitemap for Pequot Apartments consists of two residential buildings with 40 apartments. Harold Foley of Cohanzie Partners LP is the applicant attempting to purchase the 16.5 acres of land for the proposed project adjacent to Target.

Mike Kleffner, the architect for the development, said the two-story buildings would have a driveway entrance from the Hartford Turnpike at the rear of the property, where parking and solar panels will be located on the south side of the roof.

The committee voted 4-0 to approve the sitemap, with member Tim Bleasdale abstaining due to his company’s connection to the pillars. The motion was passed on the condition that project managers follow all of the city’s Design Review Board memoranda.

Prior to the planning and zoning meeting, the development received approval from the Conservation Committee and the Design Review Board with some recommendations. These included providing shuttered windows on the first floor, and not just the second floor, and changing exterior light fixtures to match the style of the buildings.

Planning director Abby Piersall said the review committee also questioned the name of the project due to its reference to the Mashantucket Pequot tribe.

Foley said they named him Pequot out of respect, but added they could change him.

The project will also have to follow the modifications proposed by the State Department of Transportation.

The commission asked the developers if any of the units would be affordable. Foley said 32 of the 40 units would be split between 80% or 60% of the average median income and the rest at market rates, making development affordable.

After the site plan was approved, Glenn Chalder, a Planimetrics consultant, presented the commission with an overview of the city’s proposed housing plan. The state legislature, Public Law 17-170, requires every municipality in the state to adopt an affordable housing plan by June 2022 and revise it every five years.

Chalder said four types of programs count for development toward affordability: government subsidized housing, rent assistance, CHFA / USDA mortgages or deed-restricted units. Waterford has all types, but action-oriented programs.

Deed-restricted units refer to developments in which at least 30% of the housing units are conveyed by deeds containing restrictions that require the units to be sold or rented at or below prices, preserving the housing for them. people paying 30% or less of their annual income, with income less than or equal to 80% of the median income of the area.

Chalder recalled data from a city survey last spring on affordable housing, where 65% of 454 participants reported spending more than 30% of their income on housing. Affordable housing, he said, is for people who earn a typical salary and are billed for housing.

Regarding the current housing situation in Waterford, Chalder showed that although the city has 419 affordable state-recognized units, there are not enough units to meet local needs, and the city has still need twice as many units to reach the 10% state threshold. The number of assisted units has not increased for twenty years either.

Commission member Jon Bashaw said he found it “disheartening” that it took 20 years for the city to get to where it is today.

“We still have a long way to go,” he said.

Chalder assured Bashaw it would take a series of small steps over time. As part of his presentation, Chalder proposed potential housing strategies such as creating an affordable housing committee, revitalizing the Housing Authority, implementing inclusive zoning, or adding more. housing strategies in the conservation and development plan.

As part of the next step, the committee intends to organize a public session and a hearing on the housing plan, but a date remains to be determined.

So far, the draft plan has been posted on the city’s website for public launch.

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