Rep. Rojas Hails Committee Approval of Fair Housing, Zoning Bills

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HARTFORD, CT – State Representative Jason Rojas (D – East Hartford, Manchester) is applauding the legislature’s Planning & Development Committee’s approval of legislative proposals that will update, re-organize and clarify Connecticut’s zoning enabling statutes. Committee members voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to move the proposals to the next step of the legislative process.

Connecticut’s zoning statutes empower municipal zoning and land use officials to create local regulations.

Among the items on the committee’s JF agenda were:

HB 6611, An Act Concerning a Needs Assessment and Other Policies Regarding Affordable Housing and Development
SB 1024, An Act Concerning Zoning Authority, Certain Design Guidelines, Qualifications of Certain Land Use Officials and Certain Sewage Disposal Systems
SB 1026, An Act Concerning Training for Certain Planning and Zoning Officials

The abovementioned bills were developed with input from zoning and land use experts and advocates across the state on how to best incentivize the development of diverse housing options that are good for residents’ wallets and the state.

“The cost of housing in Connecticut has been a significant concern for citizens and policymakers for a long time and Wednesday, the Planning and Development Committee took a significant step forward in advancing legislation that will help us provide more housing choice options. Housing policy is central to growing our economy as we continue to recover from the impact of the pandemic. The debate around housing policy is also central to the larger discussion we are having about equity and racial justice. We have a choice – we can continue the politics that defined the past several decades, or we can engage each other to develop solutions that address the legacy of morally bankrupt policies that perpetuate racial and economic segregation,” said House Majority Leader Jason Rojas (D – East Hartford, Manchester). “Now is the time to act and forge a path forward. We cannot afford to enact new policy that further entraps our communities in Connecticut’s steady habits. Thank you to the Committee Chairs for their diligent work on these proposals.”

The bills will help empower local zoning boards to increase the available stock of diverse housing options in the state, contributing to a more robust and resilient economy that expands opportunity for residents.

Connecticut’s zoning and land use codes have limited growth and diversification of the state’s housing supply, particularly impacting those who are income constrained, senior citizens seeking to downsize, or young people embarking on their professional careers. The Partnership for Strong Communities estimates that about 50% of renters and about 32% of homeowners spend 30% or more of their income on housing. This leaves little room to pay for transportation, utility, food, or medical bills, and unforeseen emergencies.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created opportunity for Connecticut by increasing demand for suburban real estate, and land use reforms could pay immediate dividends for Connecticut and spur additional economic growth.

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