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Brookfield Officials Urge Residents To Fight Affordable Housing Rule

Brookfield First Selectman Steve Dunn, right, speaks Friday while state Rep. Stephen Harding, R-107th District, looks on at a press conference urging residents to attend a Housing Committee hearing Tuesday in Hartford. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Some of the attendees at a press conference Friday in Brookfield, at which local officials urged residents to attend a public hearing Tuesday in Hartford on a bill changing the affordable housing law. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern

BROOKFIELD, Conn., -- Brookfield officials are urging residents to fight a state affordable housing requirement that is allowing a developer to build a controversial six-story apartment building in Brookfield.

The Renaissance project proposes to build a six-story, 156-unit apartment building at 763-777 Federal Road in the Four Corners area. The proposal is opposed by residents and local officials, who say the scale of the development is out of character for the community.

The developer is seeking approval for the project to go ahead under the state's 8-30G affordable housing law, which makes it more difficult for a municipality to reject it.

"This is not fair, and we are going to fight it," First Selectman Steve Dunn told about three dozen people gathered Friday at Brookfield Town Hall.

He called on residents to go to Hartford to call for the elimination or modification of the law.

Dunn was joined Friday by state Rep. Stephen Harding, R-107th District, and Andrew Ellis, assistant chief of the Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company.

"This community is united in maintaining the landscape and beauty of our town and fighting the affordable housing law of the state that threatens it," Harding said.

Brookfield isn't against affordable housing, Harding said. But he opposes what he called "loopholes" that allow developers to build properties despite community opposition.

"This law has essentially given a license to developers who have no connection with our community at all to build whatever they would like, whatever would drive up their profits regardless of any of our zoning laws, regardless of any of the preferences of our residents who love this town dearly," Harding said.

Ellis said the development could place his firefighters at risk because they do not have the training or equipment to deal with emergencies at such a tall building. He said it would be difficult to ask volunteers to place themselves in danger to respond to calls there.

The legislature's Housing Committee is holding a public hearing at 1 p.m. Tuesday on a bill that would rewrite 8-30G.

The current law makes it easier for developers to have projects approved if a community doesn't have at least 10 percent of its housing stock deemed to be affordable. If a municipality rejects a developer proposing development with affordable housing, the developer can take the municipality to court.

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