Thoughtful Strategy: A Friendly 8-30g

 

Spruce Meadows was proposed under Connecticut’s 8-30g statute. In Stonington, less than 10% of the housing stock was affordable and, thus, Spruce Meadows LLC could, under terms of the statute, override the local zoning regulations to develop the project.

Spruce Meadows Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Although there was an obligation for the town to allow this affordable housing development – or go to court to try to stop it – Savin did not use the statute to leverage that position against the authority of the town. Instead, she sought  input, insight, and recommendations of many different town departments. 

It was in the best interest of the town to cooperate and collaborate with Spruce Meadows LLC on the 8-30g application. “The Commission understood the need for affordable housing and their legal place in all of this too,” said Brynes. In order to increase the likelihood of a well-planned, feasible, and cohesive development in town, Brynes said, “the town met with them [Spruce Meadows LLC] before the proposal and we worked with them through every step of the process.” This working relationship was advantageous to Spruce Meadows LLC as well. “The staff have been amazing to work with. There has been lots of positive feedback. The staffs’ point of view and recommendations have only improved the project,” said Savin.

Spruce Meadows Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

With her option to buy the property in hand and a detailed application, Savin presented the proposal for the Spruce Meadows development to Stonington’s Planning and Zoning Commission. Prue said, “Spruce Meadows did an excellent job. By the time the project got to us, there were only a couple little issues to alleviate the impact on neighbors.” Savin revised the proposal to accommodate the concerns and suggestions of the Planning and Zoning Commission and resubmitted it. Once approved, Savin applied for funding. She designed the housing development to provide enough units at various levels of affordability to qualify for federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. She also collaborated with the State Department of Housing and the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority on this project, and both pledged support. She then took out a loan to purchase the property. With the land, zoning and funding lined up, the development broke ground in August 2015.

Phase II, Spruce Ridge, was also proposed and approved under Connecticut’s 8-30g statute. The option agreement in this case was $5,000 for 10 months, which allowed Savin to have site control and get through the zoning application. Her relationship with the town helped again. 

A Deeper Look Inside Spruce Meadows

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