Hearing on Monroe’s first affordable housing plan is this Thursday

Monroe Town Hall is at 7 Fan Hill Road in Monroe. Photo by John Babina

MONROE, CT — Residents will have the opportunity to weigh in on the final draft of the town’s first affordable housing plan at a hearing in the Council Chambers of Town Hall this Thursday at 7 p.m.

Town Planner Rick Schultz said the state of Connecticut requires all municipalities to create an affordable housing plan indicating how the communities intend to increase their number of affordable housing developments, and to update it every five years.

He said the Planning and Zoning Commission will ultimately adopt the plan, but the hearing will allow residents to offer input for commissioners to consider. To review the final draft of the affordable housing plan, click here. Hard copies are available in the Planning and Zoning Office of Monroe Town Hall.

The commission was aided by Schultz and the Planning and Zoning Administrator Joe Chapman in “reviewing current housing conditions, demographic and market trends, community resources, and the input of Town residents, to assess Monroe’s current and future needs and develop recommendations,” according to the plan’s executive summary.

“Affordable housing is generally defined as housing that is available to households making less than the area median income and costing less than 30 percent of a household’s annual income,” according to the draft plan.

“This can include both naturally occurring market-rate apartment units or specifically restricted properties that have been income-limited by deed,” it says.

The area median income goes by county rather than by town. The median household income for a family of four in Fairfield County is $98,000, based on the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2020 income data.

The affordable housing cost for 80 percent of the area median income is currently $23,520 per year or $1,960 per month.

Seven Monroe locations

“The important part is finding locations in town that may be considered for affordable housing and this plan identifies seven locations,” Schultz said of the plan Monroe’s Planning and Zoning Commission is working on.

The commission has identified seven potential locations for affordable housing in town.

Mitchell DeEsso received approval to build a mixed-use retail development with up to 50 apartments on the Monroe-Trumbull town line. Two of the 20 apartment units in Monroe would be defined as affordable.

The Pond View property at 127 Main St. was rezoned to a Special Design District and a conceptual plan was recently approved for 188 multifamily units, 19 of which would be affordable. Schultz said the developer agreed to include elevators in the buildings, which was a concern of commissioners.

Connecticut Housing Partners received approval to build 49-units of affordable housing for residents age 62-and-older near the former Skate Time property on Main Street. This is a 100 percent affordable development with financing.

Other areas being considered are the Stepney Village Center, 232 Elm St., and two commercial properties on Route 34 (where the Dunkin’ Donuts and Monroe Pizza & Pasta is) and the western part of the Stevenson Lumber property on Monroe Turnpike.

“The zoning tool the commission will be using is the new Main Street Design District overlay zone,” Schultz said.

The recently approved Main Street Design District allows property owners more flexible uses on their lots, while giving the town more control over how properties are developed. The commission can decide what uses to allow, then work closely with developers on the details of their site plans.

Pond View LLC applied for an SDD (special development district) in the Main Street Design District (MDD) overlay zone. Now that the conceptual plan was approved, the developer will come back with a detailed site plan for the apartments.

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