Easton is seeking a grant to hire a consultant to help the Planning and Zoning commission meet the requirements outlined in a state law to increase affordable housing in town.

The commission on June 28 voted to apply for an Affordable Housing Plan Technical Assistance Grant that would pay up to $15,000 to hire a third party to help commissioners craft an affordable housing plan for Easton. The person hired will guide commissioners in how to implement a plan and involve the community. The Board of Selectman approved applying for the grant.

Public Act No. 21-29, a law passed this year, mandates that municipalities have an affordable housing plan in place by June 2022 that addresses Connecticut’s housing affordability crisis by making their housing stock affordable and more accessible to everyone.

The affordable housing plan is one of several mandates outlined in the new law. The law allows the statewide legalization of “accessory apartments” and bans minimum parking space rules. It also requires that planning and zoning commissioners receive a minimum of four hours of training every other year with a least one hour devoted to affordable and fair housing practices.

Municipalities can opt out of permitting “accessory apartments” and the ban on minimum parking space rules with a two-thirds majority from local planning commissions and legislative bodies.

Municipalities have until Jan. 1, 2023 to opt out. Commission members did not discuss whether the town will opt out.

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