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Darien Comes Up Short on Affordable Housing

DARIEN, Conn. – Darien may have some trouble coming up with enough affordable housing before 2014 to qualify for another moratorium . Planning and Zoning Director Jeremy Ginsberg said that even though a few projects are in development, a lack of land makes affordable housing projects difficult in town.

In October, Darien won a four-year moratorium on the application of Connecticut General Statute 8-30g, which permits developers to overstep local zoning laws so they can build affordable housing. It did so by qualifying for 136 affordable housing points.

"It will be very difficult," Ginsberg said. He cited the Avalon project, which was built in 2003 on a 30-acre vacant gravel lot. "Unfortunately. we don't have any more gravel lots."

Ginsberg said that based on 2010 Census data, the town would need 142 points to qualify for another moratorium when this one expires. The apartments at 397 Post Road and a converted office space on Tokeneke Road account for 27 points. The proposed Allen O'Neill project could provide an additional 50 points — still 64 points short.

"It's way too early to tell for certain," Ginsberg said on whether the town would accumulate enough points by 2014.

First Selectman Dave Campbell said the proposed affordable housing that would be built at the old Senior Center after the Shuffle could provide about 10 points. But the organization established to deal with that property needs to determine its plans.

"The only reason we got this first moratorium is because of private developers," Campbell said.

Tax abatement and inclusionary zoning are offered as incentives for private developers to build affordable housing, but Selectman David Bayne said discussions should be held about other ways to encourage it.

How do you think the town can achieve another moratorium? Tell us in the comments below, on Facebook and on Twitter .

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