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Danbury is On, Off, On, the State List for Meeting Affordable Housing Minimums

Roughly 30 towns in Connecticut meet the state's target for having at least 10 percent of its housing being "affordable," and Danbury made that list, lost it and made it again.

The state's affordable housing law sounds legal and boring, but it effects development in town.

If fewer than 10 percent of a town's total number of houses is affordable, a developer can propose a housing complex beyond what the town's zoning regulations allow, and state law might over-rule the town's zoing to approve it.

That would happen as long as the developer proposed 30 percent of the new units be affordable. The state law, 8-30g, encourages developers to propose affordable housing. The state's goal is for 10 percent of the its housing to be affordable.

If the town rejects the affordable housing proposal, the developer can appeal that decision in state housing court.

"The law shifts the burden onto the town. The municipality must prove the development will do harm," said Sharon Calitro, Danbury's deputy planner.

Danbury met the Connecticut General Statutes 8-30g designation from roughly 2006 to 2010, but in the 2010 national census, Danbury's affordable housing stock appeared to fall below the 10 percent figure.

"They reissue the list every year," said Calitro. The state designation is based on housing figures at least a year old.

"We noticed the change in March and appealed in August," Calitro said. The state put Danbury back on the list three weeks ago. "We looked over the census figures and saw a number of things they failed to count."

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