A Ridgefield committee is looking to set up an affordable housing trust fund

A Ridgefield committee is looking to set up an affordable housing trust fund

RIDGEFIELD — The town’s affordable housing committee is interested in establishing a trust fund for the future development of its affordable housing stock.

Affordable housing trust funds are allowable under state law, letting towns create a trust fund that can be used to boost affordable housing in that community. Additional building fees, for example, can be tacked onto projects with money from those fees going toward the fund.

Dave Goldenberg, the committee chairman, shared the idea with the Board of Selectmen during a meeting last week. The committee’s next step is to develop a proposal for the Board of Selectmen and planning and zoning department.

Goldenberg anticipates they’re a couple of months away from having that plan drawn up.

There’s a variety of approaches available but the committee must ultimately consider two things: how it plans on raising money for the fund and how to eventually spend it.

Some proposed ways of raising money for the fund include accepting donations, obtaining grants or potentially charging builders a fee for developing or permits. But perhaps the most interesting of mechanisms is via a “fee in lieu.”

“You could require a set-aside or a fee in lieu, which means the developer can make some units affordable or make a contribution for each unit they’re supposed to build,” Goldenberg said.

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