Stonington: How A Town and Developer Can Work Together to Create Mixed-Income Housing

 

As a result of the collaboration between the town and a local non-profit developer, Stonington was able to open a mixed-income housing development, Spruce Meadows, in 2017. Spruce Meadows, along Route 1 between Pawcatuck and Stonington Borough, provides 34 affordable residential units including one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, along with 9 market-rate units. Phase II of the project – Spruce Ridge, on adjacent property -- will add 43 more units, 10 at market rates and the remainder at affordability levels ranging from 25% of the area median income to 60%.  Julie Savin, the Director of Real Estate Development at Neighborworks New Horizons (NWNH), the developer, says no development is easy, but her collaboration with willing Stonington officials made Spruce Meadows much easier. It included a thoughtful, amicable use of the 8-30g statute, which is usually a controversial tool used by developers to override local zoning when a town opposed affordable or mixed-income housing creation. In this case, 8-30g was used cooperatively.

Typical Town Dilemma: The Need for More Housing Options 

Located in the southeastern corner of the state, Stonington has approximately 18,500 residents. As of 2013, single-family homes accounted for 73% of the housing stock and the Median Home Value was $342,200. Housing was expensive relative to the median household income which was estimated at $81,026; 44% of renters and 30% of homeowners spent at least 30% of their income on housing. Savin recognized that Stonington, like many towns in Connecticut, lacked affordable housing options for Baby Boomers seeking to downsize and remain in the community, as well as Millennials and young families who are looking to move to town. Further, the demand for smaller, denser, more affordable multifamily apartments was expected to grow: by 2025, the population of school-aged children was projected to decrease by 22% and the 65+ population was projected to grow 30%. 

A Deeper Look Inside Spruce Meadows

Next steps - Learn about Spruce Meadows, the collaboration between Stonington and Neighborworks New Horizons: