Due to the importance of two topics under consideration, the Board of Selectmen and the Planning and Zoning Commission held a joint meeting on Sept. 19. To be discussed were the questions of whether there should be a town center study and which board or commission should study each of the components of the Granby Affordable Housing Plan.
To comply with the State law that every town in Connecticut devise an affordable housing plan, a committee appointed by the BOS in 2021 studied the recommendations and presented a draft to the selectmen. Some amendments clarified to the State that the town’s infrastructure, especially the location of public water and sewer, does not allow the latitude to comply with some of the state’s requirements. The final plan was approved by the BOS in June 2022. At the Sept. 19 meeting, each objective was discussed and assigned to either the BOS or the P & Z for further study.
The five objectives of Granby’s Affordable Housing Plan:
1. Reduce restrictions for accessory apartments, including monitoring the recently amended zoning regulations regarding such apartments to see if any further changes are needed.
2. Examine the regulations governing development of multi-family housing. In addition to the center zone, there may be other zones with public infrastructure that would allow two-family, triplexes or even larger scale multi-family developments. Consider the current density allowed in appropriate zones with an eye to possibly increasing the density if the infrastructure allows. Consider a reduction in the required minimum lot size for multi-family developments. Explore the establishment of a housing trust fund funded by developers who are unable to comply with current requirements regarding a certain percentage of units being deed-restricted affordable (inclusionary zoning). The collected funds would then be used to develop affordable housing.
3. Encourage the development of single-family affordable housing by perhaps reducing the minimum lot size, which would reduce the overall cost. Also, consider modifying zoning regulations to require the set-aside of a certain number of affordable housing units in any planned residential subdivision.
4. Promote the modest expansion of public infrastructure. Several components of this objective include expanding existing sewer and water systems where feasible, in particular, north and south of Floydville Road to the East Granby town line. Requesting regular updates from gas and water companies about their infrastructure plans for Granby would be an important aid in this objective. Based on future housing plans, CTtransit bus routes should be studied for possible changes or additional stops to better serve Granby residents.
5. Actively seek partnerships with affordable housing developers. Determine which properties of town-owned land will likely not be needed by the Town for future municipal facilities or uses. Determine which of these are best suited for residential development.
On the question of whether a center study should be implemented, Planning & Zoning Chairman Mark Lockwood noted that the center comprises three zones: commercial, edge and the commons. These should all be considered in any study. Most members of the BOS and P&Z pointed out negatives about the existing situation. It is not conducive to walking about; there are only two parking areas; and, in general, it is not attractive. P&Z member Eric Lukingbeal summarized what a study should ask: “What do we have that we do not want and what don’t we have that we want? Figure that out and adjust the zoning accordingly.”
The consensus was that a study was needed. It was approved for the P&Z to make a recommendation to the BOS on a process for determining the scope of the study, i.e., what areas should be studied, what issues, how will the results of the study be used.
To read the full meeting minutes, please go to the Town website, Granby-ct.gov