Westport, CT – The Town of Westport has announced that the collection of the Inclusionary Zoning Fee for the Town’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF) account will begin on February 23, 2024. Per the ordinance adopting the Affordable Housing Plan and establishing the AHTF, a formal Town committee to oversee the fund will be appointed over the next few months.

The adoption of the Affordable Housing Plan by the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) in July, 2023 called for the establishment of the AHTF and the method by which funds would be raised. At its December 2023 meeting, the Planning and Zoning Commission, under the leadership of Chair Paul Lebowitz, adopted a Text Amendment to establish an Inclusionary Zoning Fee and recommended to the RTM a Fee Schedule of 0.5% of the construction costs of all projects for which Zoning Permit applications are filed. The Westport RTM adopted the Inclusionary Zoning Fee of $5 per $1000 of construction cost at its February 6 meeting. This fee has the potential to raise up to $1 million annually for the AHTF.

Westport joins neighboring communities New Canaan and Fairfield in having such a fund. It will give the Town the opportunity to buy property, adaptively reuse buildings, construct housing or potentially purchase market rate units in an effort to address the need for affordable housing in the community.

The effort, spearheaded by RTM members Matthew Mandell and Seth Braunstein, saw a near unanimous bipartisan vote by the RTM throughout the process. The actions of the RTM and the P&Z Commission followed the procedural steps necessary to enact this important piece of legislation.

First Selectwoman Tooker said, “I extend my thanks for the combined efforts of the Planning and Zoning Commission and the RTM in this achievement – realizing one of many goals listed in the 2022-2027 Westport Affordable Housing Plan.  Adopting the Affordable Housing Plan and the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and codifying the inclusionary zoning fee is a proactive and locally controlled approach towards meeting the demand for affordable housing.”

By Alex

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