Darien P&Z approves change to priority population subsection
Darien's Planning and Zoning Commission passed a resolution that will change a subsection of the inclusionary zoning regulations.
The section previously referred to as "Priority Population" was changed to "Fair Housing Marketing Plan." The change eliminates a section of the zoning law that gave priority to first responders, teachers and other employees who work within the town.
The new amendment states that all applicants will submit a fair housing marketing plan and that all dwelling units will be offered for sale or rent in compliance with all State and Federal Fair Housing laws.
Chairman Fred Conze said the previous resolution was not passed in an attempt to be exclusionary, but instead to address a specific need within the town.
Vice Chairman Joe Spain said he didn't believe the previous zoning regulation had violated any of the fair housing laws but the new changes would make sure that the Town wasn't violating any rules.
"The regulation did not violate any zoning laws," Spain said.
In October, the town received a letter from the Department of Justice saying an investigation had been opened in regards to the Town's use of Section 586, which dealt with "Priority Populations." First Selectman David Campbell told the Darien News that the DOJ had an issue with the wording of the regulation and that Darien had simply copied the same inclusionary zoning regulations as Stamford and Norwalk.
As part of the committee that reviewed the zoning regulations, Spain explained that the regulation had never actually been used but the town was concerned about people who had to travel long distance in order to get to work.
The new inclusionary zoning amendment was approved at the end of the meeting and takes effect on Dec. 5.