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Housing for the working-class

Published January 15. 2013 4:00AM

It was a small step, but one worth noting. Last week the North Stonington Planning and Zoning Commission approved a development plan for 18 single-family homes - six which will be considered affordable under state law - on 55 acres of land off Lake of Isles Road near its border with Preston.

North Stonington is one local town that has become rather one dimensional when it comes to housing stock. Due to zoning regulations, it is a place of expensive homes on big lots, interspersed with farmland and open space - beautiful but exclusive. Affordable housing makes up less than 1 percent of the housing stock.

By state standards affordable means something that many working-class people can pay for - homes that require no more than 30 percent of income, where the income is less than or equal to 60 percent of local median income or 80 percent of statewide median income, whichever is less. In other words, this is not housing for the needy. Towns need to provide this type of housing, both morally and, under state law - legally.

The development application approved by the commission, the second such development approved recently, was filed under a state law that exempts from local zoning and land use regulations affordable housing projects in towns that have a lack of such housing. Senior Planner and Zoning Enforcement Officer Juliet Leeming said the development "easily fits in with the character of the town."

It makes good sense for the town to embrace such sensible proposals when they come forward.

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