Avalon’s affordables returning to market

Apartment building Avalon Wilton on River Road came into town in 1996 under Section 830-g, Connecticut’s affordable housing land-use appeals statutory procedure. The 21 apartments then set aside as affordable, however, are about to return to market price.

Today, developers who make an application under Section 830-g of the Connecticut General Statutes are agreeing to deed-restrict 30% of their units as affordable, for periods of 40 years each.

In exchange, the state softens land-use approval processes for the developers by restricting the discretion of local land-use commissions, and putting the burden of proof on commissioners to approve or deny the applications.

But back in 1996, when Avalon Wilton on River Road submitted its application, the statute was written in such a way that only 20% of the development’s units needed to be set aside, and for periods of only 20 years.

Past or present, countdowns to the sunsets of 830-g deed restrictions begin when occupancy certificates are issued.

All 21 of Avalon’s affordable units were certified for occupancy on Oct. 9, 1997. That means renters’ rates for those units will return to market value in October 2017.

With nine affordable units planned for Old Danbury Road, this represents a net loss of 12 affordable units for the town, bringing the inventory of local affordable housing from 155 units down to 143.

Developments in Wilton with affordable units are the two Avalons, Wilton Commons, Grumman Hill Village, Crowne Pond, Wilton Ridge, Perry Green, The Greens at Cannondale, and Brookdale Place of Wilton.

“Affordable” in 1996 as defined by Section 830-g meant that the units were priced for people who earned 80% or less of the area median income.

Under today’s requirements, half of the deed-restricted units must be affordable to those who earn 80% or less of the median income, and the other half must be affordable to those who earn 60% or less.

Additionally, the state now measures earners against whatever number is greater, the state average or the town median.