State officials deny that New Canaan was ‘led to believe’ that its request for four-year relief from a widely discussed affordable housing law would be approved, as first draft pick Kevin Moynihan recently affirmed.
Moynihan had said at the October 4 Board of Selectmen meeting that “we hope to obtain our moratorium on November 1st.
He added: “We have been advised by – led to believe, I would say – by the Housing Department that we are going to get our moratorium. If that doesn’t happen, then it will be “all is lost” as far as where we are.
The Connecticut Department of Housing refuse the request about two weeks later. Yet while the case was pending, land use attorney representing a local developer to apply for an affordable housing project at Weed and Elm streets, Tim Hollister, asked the DOH to explain the Moynihan’s comments.
“I acknowledge that the Department is under no obligation to respond to such a request, but given the alleged circumstances – the first selector of a municipality with a pending moratorium request claiming that “the Department” in a private conversation the led, and the City, to believe that the application will be approved, despite the objections filed — is simply contrary to how this public process should unfold,” Hollister said in an Oct. 18 email obtained by NewCanaanite.com. “If the first coach distorts what he was told, then the ministry should explain it. If the First Selectmen is correct, why did the Department undertake to provide this explanation? What is at issue here is public confidence in the moratorium process.
In response, Michael C. Santoro, director of the DOH’s Office of Housing Policy, Research, and Assistance, said in an October 25 email, “As you know, the Department is always striving to be transparent and we appreciate you contacting us with your questions about what you read in the newspaper.
“We cannot speak to the first coach’s basis of belief,” Santoro said in the email, obtained by NewCanaanite.com. “I can assure you, however, that the Ministry has not, and will not, express any opinion on a municipality’s eligibility for a moratorium outside of the formal application process. Given the detailed and complex nature of the examination, it would in fact be impossible to deduct [housing unit equivalent points]or prejudge the outcome of any request for a moratorium, and I did not suggest to the first coach or any other City representative that a decision regarding a pending or pending request had been made. »
Although city officials contacted Santoro before filing the moratorium request “to inquire about the Department’s position on certain issues relating to their request” and “in particular, whether they needed to deduct points for some affordable housing that had been demolished,” the state’s response was only to share the requirements of the law and regulations, Santoro said.
“As I explained, I indicated that the city was invited to submit an application with a different interpretation of the bylaw that would be subject to public comment, review and determination by the Department as part of the process. candidacy,” Santoro said in the statement. E-mail. “I did not indicate what was the result of such [a] the process would be.
New Canaan is now in a position where it is unclear when the city will be able to get four more years of relief from the Affordable Housing Act known by its statute number, 8-30g. Since the city’s last moratorium expired in July 2021, three applications for affordable housing projects have been received, all from local developer Arnold Karp. The Planning and Zoning Commission is expected refuse a 102-unit proposal for Weed and Elm streets, which will trigger a state-level appeal process. Requests for 20 units old fashioned Red Cross building on Main Street and 93 units on hill street are also before P&Z.
Officials called Moynihan for making false statements in the past.
In June, the members of the ethics committee cited factual inaccuracies in a public statement Moynihan had made regarding an ethics investigation that resulted in an advisory opinion criticizing the first coach’s conduct leading up to last year’s mayoral election. A year ago, coach Nick Williams reported comments Moynihan had made regarding the supposed support of the Superintendent of Schools and the Director of the New Canaan Athletic Foundation regarding the construction of a new police station where a Saxe Middle School baseball field is located. In January 2021, the Town Clerk describe Moynihan’s comments regarding the keeping of municipal records as “misinformation” and “deception”. In the first months of the pandemic, Mike Handler, then director of emergency management said Moynihan outright lied about the circumstances of his dismissal from the role.