Town applies for affordable housing exemption

Wilton appears eligible for a four-year moratorium on state-mandated affordable housing regulations, said Town Planner Bob Nerney.
“In terms of comparison, Darien and Ridgefield have been awarded moratoriums. … In looking at their projects and documents, we may actually be in a stronger position,” he said.
“As far as suburban communities go, we have one of the largest affordable housing bases at this time.”
According to a presentation by Nerney at the Board of Selectmen meeting on Monday, May 4, Wilton will soon apply for a moratorium on the Affordable Housing Land Use Appeals Act, which dictates affordable housing regulations statewide.
“The purpose of the moratorium is, to the extent possible, to allow communities to grow their affordable housing base through local policy as opposed to being subject to the state policies, which removes many traditional zoning” regulations, Nerney said.
First Selectman Bill Brennan and his fellow board members all voted in favor of applying for the moratorium.
“This gives us the opportunity to be in the driver seat rather than just reacting to things,” Brennan said
Nerney said though Ogden House’s status as a state-recognized affordable housing project will soon “sunset,” the rest of the town’s affordable housing should make up for that loss.
“Ogden House … because of its age would be discounted,” he said. “Despite that, we’re in a very good position to pursue this. It gives us a little breathing room to come up with new policies, or change our current policies and strengthen regulations to direct this type of housing” in a way that is good for the town at large.
Last year, residents of Wilton came out strongly against a plan to build affordable housing units at 44 Westport Road, currently a residential home.
After negotiations, Wilton was able to convince the developer to abandon plans at that property in favor of land owned by the town.