Did you ever wonder about affordable housing in Suffield? Where are these affordable homes? How many choices are there? Where are they located? Here’s everything you ever wanted to know. Well, maybe not everything.
Currently, there are 20 on Broder Place, 30 on Laurel Court; 20 on Maple Court, 40 on Park Place, and 84 at The Hamlet/Brookhill Village. Suffield on the River has 102 units that also meet the affordable housing criteria. Additionally, there are 15 homes deeded as affordable housing spread throughout Heather and Primrose Lanes, Mountain Laurel Way and Ellison Street. These 311 properties represent 5.6% of the approximately 5,600 homes in Suffield.
The newest affordable housing project on East Street South is partially complete with approximately 86 units still to be built for a total of 170 units, 105 of which will be affordable housing. The town needs time to assess the impact of a development this size on its infrastructure (i.e., first responders, schools, traffic, sewers, utilities, etc.). They want to look at affordable housing holistically to determine how we can do it better. Some of the information gathered from this research could be incorporated into the Plan of Conservation and Development’s 10-year Master Plan, which is due for revision this year.
To that end, the town applied to the Department of Housing (DOH) requesting a Certificate of Affordable Housing Project Completion (aka “a Moratorium”) in accordance with Section 8-30g of the Connecticut General Statutes and applicable Regulations of State Agencies. The application was received by the DOH on September 10, 2019 and the short-term, four-year moratorium was granted and became effective on December 10, 2019.
What happened next you ask? Charles Rinaldi, representing Hickory Street Partners, LLC, submitted an application on December 9 to build a 60-lot affordable housing subdivision on Hickory Street. The Planning & Zoning Commission reviewed the application at its regular meeting on January 27, 2020. The commission determined there were several issues with the application; 1) an application was not submitted to the Inland Wetlands Conservation Commission required by Connecticut General Statute; 2) the plan engineer’s signature was missing; and 3) the fee was not available at the time of the application. The applicant’s attorney, George Schober, suggested they accept the plans and set a public hearing to avoid litigation. The application was denied without prejudice as it was considered incomplete at the time of submittal, which was a day prior to the effective date of the moratorium.
Attorney Schober, acting on behalf of Hickory Street Partners, LLC, has filed a lawsuit against the Town of Suffield detailing the reasons the application should have been approved. The Town of Suffield is being represented by Attorney David Sherwood of Glastonbury. The saga continues . . .