East Lyme revises regulations for affordable housing in town

East Lyme - The Zoning Commission voted Thursday to approve revised regulations for affordable housing districts in light of a court decision.

The state Superior Court ruled in 2011 that the commission must review its regulations after it denied parts of Landmark Development Group LLC's 2005 application to develop 840 units, including about 250 units of affordable housing, in the Oswegatchie Hills, as well as amend part of the town's zoning regulations.

Specific town water and sewer connection requirements are no longer included in the regulations; the buffer zone requirements for areas zoned for multi-family residential use has been reduced; and the information needed for steps in the application process, such as the preliminary site plan, have been detailed, explained Chairman Marc Salerno.

Applications for affordable housing districts, including Landmark Development's, will have to comply with the new regulations.

The approved text amendments make several changes for affordable housing district applications. The amendments outline that an application must have either a conceptual site plan that complies with state statute Sec. 8-30g governing land use or a preliminary site plan and conceptual site plan for approval, according to the approved document. The amendments further require that a preliminary site plan include a statement on the district's impact on public health and safety.

The Planning Commission had decided prior to Thursday's Zoning Commission vote that the changes were inconsistent with the town's Plan of Conservation and Development.

According to minutes of its Oct. 16 meeting, the Planning Commission asserted that the text changes could potentially endanger rural areas, open spaces, habitats and aquifers.

The revised text amendments deleted specifications that the housing district have at least 10 acres where there is available town water and sewer and that it be near "existing commercial districts and/or along a public transportation route."

The Water and Sewer Commission will decide on the issue of sewer capacity for the application at upcoming meetings.

k.drelich@theday.com

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