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Easton Affordable Housing Proposal Downsized

An Easton developer whose affordable housing proposal was rejected last month has decided to switch rather than fight. Saddle Ridge Developers LLC has informed the Planning and Zoning Commission in a transmittal letter that it has reduced the density of its project. The application denied by the P&Z on Feb. 17 called for 105 houses, with 30 percent designated affordable. The homes would be built in a public watershed. The revised application calls for 99 homes with 30 affordable.

Under state statute 8-30(g), Saddle Ridge had two weeks to decide its course of action after the P&Z’s denial. The P&Z cited numerous concerns related to the high density of the plan and its impact on the water supply. The transmittal letter indicated that Saddle Ridge had reduced overall density to below one home per acre – a ratio that exists in other locations in Easton, "including portions of the water supply watershed."

Saddle Ridge also reduced overall impervious coverage, such as roads and sidewalks, by nearly 4 acres, which could help decrease storm-water volume, the letter said.

The affordable housing statute allows Saddle Ridge to avoid zoning restrictions if a certain percentage of a town's homes are not classified as affordable. Less than 1 percent of Easton's homes have that classification.

"Thirty percent of the homes will be deed restricted as affordable for 40 years," the letter stated. "Of those homes, half will be for persons and families earning 60 percent of the statewide or area median income, whichever is less, and the remaining half will be for persons and families earning 80 percent of the statewide or area median income, whichever is less. The affordable homes will be comparable to the market-rate homes, will be built on a pro rata basis with the market-rate homes, and will be interspersed throughout the community."

Easton has until May 8 to decide on the current application. A public hearing date will be scheduled in the coming weeks.

Do you think Easton should consider the revised application, or should they stick to their guns?

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