Affordable housing project approved for Pawcatuck

Stonington — The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously has approved plans by a Hanover developer to build a 40-unit housing complex, in which 12 of the units will be affordable under state law, on a 25-acre site at 126 S. Broad St. in Pawcatuck.

The commission approved the site plan and groundwater protection permit for the project on Tuesday night.

The project will contain 20 duplexes, including one in an existing home on the site. Another lot would house a maintenance building and 18 acres of wetlands would serve as open space. The project also calls for a sidewalk along Route 1.

Twelve of the units, or 30 percent, will be kept affordable under state law for the next 40 years, while the remainder will be market rate. Six of the 12 will be reserved for residents earning 60 percent of the media area income of $84,800 while the other six will be reserved for those making 80 percent of the median area income. The monthly rents of those units are estimated to be about $900 and $1,200 respectively.

The project is the latest affordable-housing project along South Broad Street, along with the recently opened Spruce Meadow project and the adjacent Spruce Ridge project, which is under construction. Both contain 43 units.

Because the town has less than 10 percent of its housing stock dedicated as affordable — it is 5.7 percent — it is subject to a state law that requires it to prove a proposed affordable-housing plan would impact the town’s health and safety in order to reject the application. Simply not being in compliance with zoning regulations is not enough to reject such a plan.

The project was endorsed by the town’s Economic Development Commission. In a letter to the Planning and Zoning Commission, EDC Chairman Dave Hammond pointed out that people in many middle-class jobs, such as teachers, emergency responders and health care technicians, have salaries that fall into the range for affordable housing. He also pointed out that 63 percent of people who workers in Stonington live outside the town.

“Wouldn’t it be great if these hardworking individuals could live in Stonington if they choose rather than commute,” he wrote.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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