Affordable housing advocates Monday challenged the town's claim that it has complied with a 20-year-old agreement with the state stipulating it would build two dozen affordable housing units in exchange for acquiring the Cos Cob Power Plant property....
....Barry Nova, who sat on the Greenwich Housing Authority's board for 10 years, said he felt the town should be ashamed of itself.
"They are trying to weasel their way out of a 20-year commitment and frankly, it's quite obvious," said Nova, alleging that the three projects the town claims to have helped fund were using federal grant money, not its own.
"How the town can say they have satisfied the commitment by making available no land and no money is the most creative thing I've heard lately," said Nova.....
....Greenwich resident and Housing Authority commissioner Bernadette Settelmeyer ..... said she brought the issue back into focus in order to give a voice to those who need affordable housing in Greenwich......
...."This is unfair," said Settelmeyer. "It's not up to the town to have the final say. It's up to the state. It was an obligation to the state."......
An affluent community, Greenwich pledged to use 75 percent of the land for open space that was accessible to residents and nonresidents alike. The remaining 25 percent was to be reserved for housing for low-to-moderate-income persons.
Two decades later, after demolition of the plant and removal of soil contaminants, Greenwich residents are finally contemplating development of the waterfront site into a public park and recreation area. Amid debates over details of the park, however, a solitary voice has raised an uncomfortable question: What about the affordable housing?
In January, during a hearing of the planning and zoning commission on the park proposal, Bernadette Settelmeyer, a resident who serves on the Greenwich Housing Authority, caused a stir when she raised the subject of the housing commitment and requested that a proposal to meet that requirement be made part of the park plan. The matter has since wound up in the hands of the town attorney, who is looking into whether the town still has such an obligation.
You are right about the housing issue, but wrong about the “P and Z trying to pull a fast one”. The responsibility for honoring the town’s obligation under the deed to sale for the power plant to provide 24 units of housing belongs solely with the First Selectman. P and Z cannot legally condition site plan approval on this, as our brief is only with land use, not Town obligations
As a sitting Commissioner on the Power Plant vote, I won’t make my own opinions known, but I thought that the facts should be known
Frank A. Farricker
HERE IS SOME MORE INFORMATION
ON WORKFORCE HOUSING:
Workforce housing is a relatively new term that is increasingly popular among planners, government administrators and housing activists, and is gaining cachet with home builders, developers and lenders. Workforce housing can refer to almost any housing, but always refers to affordable housing......
Based on criteria set by mortgage lenders, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) concludes that no more than 30% of household income should be allocated to housing Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance (PITI). Typically, pricing calculations that define workforce housing use 30% of household income as the maximum threshold of affordability.
Most appropriately, workforce housing connotes single-family detached homes for sale at prices that workforce families can afford. Obviously, workforce families often seek alternative housing opportunities in rental apartments and rental homes, town homes, condominiums, co-ops and shared housing, including subsidized housing. The most appropriate and socially valuable definition of workforce housing connotes fee-simple ownership of single-family homes with yards, one of the least efficient but perhaps the most personally satisfying land use forms.
Most appropriately, "workforce housing" connotes housing intended to appeal gainfully employed, essential workers in the community, i.e. police officers, firemen, teachers, nurses and medical technicians, office workers, etc. Workforce families are generally younger and often include or plan to include children.
Workforce housing, then, implies a subjective change in awareness of a widespread social condition that has been referred to generally by terms such as affordable housing......