Affordable Housing Plan Pending Before Avon Officials

A housing plan that includes units that would be classified as affordable and that has drawn local opposition is expected to come back in front of town officials in early January.

Mannarino Builders of South Windsor wants to build the houses on a 6.7-acre parcel on Sylvan Road. The developer wants the land reclassified under a recently created affordable housing zone that allows greater density in return for selling some units at below-market rates to people who make less than the median household income for the area. Mannarino’s proposal is the first to use that zone, which was adopted in 2016.

The planning and zoning commission held hearings on the plan in November and December but took no action. Town Planner Hiram Peck said the commission probably will start its discussion in January; its next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 9. Peck said the commission has until February to make a decision.

There has been strong opposition to the plan. Residents of Sylvan Road and the surrounding neighborhood spoke against it at the hearings in November and December. People also started a Facebook page called Avon Residents for Responsible Development that is calling for improvements to the affordable housing zone.

Avon Residents Criticize Affordable Housing Plan »

Chief among residents’ complaints is how dense the new development would be and the potential for more traffic in the neighborhood. Peck said some changes were made in response to that and outlined to the public along with the commission at the December meeting.

“The neighbors remain concerned over the development, primarily the proposed density,” Peck said in an email. He said other concerns include the use of pesticides and impact on wildlife in the area.

Mannarino originally asked to build 28 houses but has reduced that to 24. Peck said Mannarino has proposed additional screening between the development and adjoining properties.

The affordable housing zone Mannarino wants to use requires that 25 percent of the units built be classified as affordable. In the original plan, six of the 28 homes would have been. Peck said that with 24 homes now proposed the number of affordable units would drop to five.

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