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Kent adopts housing plan; trooper hire to face town meeting

KENT — An eight-member affordable housing steering committee has created a state-mandated Affordable Housing Plan that the Board of Selectmen unanimously voted to adopt at a regular meeting on Thursday, Sept. 15.

Assisting in the process was consultant Jocelyn Ayer, director of the Litchfield County Center for Housing Opportunity, who reported that she is working with nine area towns as they complete similar affordable housing plans.

Ayer noted the presence of what she called “synergies” with the town’s current Plan of Conservation and Development, finding compatibility between the two documents.

Included among the goals in the housing plan are to expand and preserve affordable housing, to support homebuyer options and to create options for accessory apartments.

“Kent has a really good nonprofit doing great work with affordable housing,” Ayer said, speaking of the ongoing work of Kent Affordable Housing.

According to Kent Afforable Housing, considering data prior to the pandemic, 40% of households in Kent would qualify for affordable housing, and 199 households are paying more than 50% of their income on housing.

To view the housing plan, go to www.townofkentct.org.

First Selectman Jean Speck said that the next step will be to form an implementation committee.

Selectman Rufus de Rham noted that recent years have brought what he termed “a skewed housing market.”

He saw the plan as a good effort to keep a balance and to serve the people whose employment is in the town.

School Resource Officer

Updating the selectmen on the proposal by the Board of Education to hire a school resource officer for Kent Center School with shared responsibilities to the town, Speck reported that the Board of Finance had approved an amount of up to $200,000 at a recent meeting and recommended that the matter go to a vote at a town meeting.

The Board of Education will schedule an informational public meeting.

Sidewalks

Streetscape Committee Chairman Mike Gawel updated the selectmen on his observations of the ongoing sidewalk construction work. He reported that he does not see remediation of his compaction concerns, nor does he see inspections being done. Application of sealant to the sidewalks continues to be spotty, Gawel said.

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