P&Z Watch: Greenwich’s New Housing Trust Fund Is in the Works

On April 27 the P&Z commission took up the affordable housing task force’s proposal to create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Once in place, private donations could then be used to create housing with a below market rate component.

“The idea is that we don’t move the needle in the amount of affordable housing we have in Greenwich as much as we’d like as a result of because of the high cost of land,” P&Z chair Margarita Alban explained, adding that back in 1988 there was a proposal to form a trust fund to subsidize affordable housing. “It went to the RTM and they did not act. We hope they act at this time. This is a recommendation coming out of the POCD as well as the affordable housing task force.”

Though there had been an early suggestion of adding a fee to developers’ permits, the trust fund will be funded exclusively by private donations.

The board of trustees will be comprised of 11 members: 2 from the BET, 2 from the RTM, 2 from the general public, 1 from the P&Z commission, the head of dept of human services, the town planner and 2 affordable housing residents.

Since all municipalities are required by the state to submit an affordability town by June 22, the trust will only be able to make expenditure decisions based on Greenwich’s affordability plan.

Alban said revisions of the proposal included strengthening conflict of interest language to clarify that someone who lives in affordable housing, could not be seated on an expenditure decision in the property in which they are living. Also, the appointments committee provided specific language on how members are nominated.

The expenditure level at which a donation must go before the RTM for review and approval is $500,000.

The commission voted unanimously to ask the Board of Selectmen to take it up and refer to the RTM for approval.