Letter: Lawmakers working to fix housing loophole
Updated 10:16 am, Friday, June 21, 2013
As the 2013 legislative session comes to a close, I want to share some encouraging new but unfortunately slow progress regarding proposed changes to the state's 830g statute. You may remember that Fairfield has faced several planning zoning applications that use the current state law to push density limits and sidestep traditional building regulations. Many of our communities have organized against these applications but it has become apparent that changes in the current state law are necessary.
In February, the Legislature's Housing Committee hosted a day long public hearing on proposed changes to 830g. This was the first hearing of its type in many years, and dozens of proposals were made and many people came to testify.
Fairfield was well represented at the hearing. I testified with several Fairfield neighbors and put a voice to the challenges we are facing with pending 830g proposals. We were all supported by both Rep. Brenda Kupchick, R-132nd District and a member of the committee, and Sen. John McKinney, R-28th District. Both also have been working to advocate for our communities. The hearing brought to the forefront the need for amendments to the existing statute and perhaps more importantly, the complexity of the issue of affordable housing for densely developed suburban communities.
Ultimately, the Housing Committee did not take action on these proposals this year but decided to allow for further investigation into the best possible fixes to the existing statute. The good news is that General Assembly leadership recognizes that the 830g statute, passed nearly 20 years ago, has resulted in both unintended consequences and less-than-desired results. Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey has charged a small, bipartisan legislative team to meet with interest groups and develop a proposal that would both address community concerns and builder overreach while maintaining the state's long term goals of bringing more affordable housing to our region. He is committed to seeing these changes through the legislative process in 2014. I will be spearheading that team over the next several months and will certainly share our reports and proposals as we prepare for the 2014 session.
Over the next several months, as we are working to create the proposal to amend 830g, I hope you will feel free to reach out to me directly. I am always happy to meet and would appreciate the opportunity to understand further the best solutions to modernizing 830g.
Hoping you have a wonderful summer.
State Rep. Kim Fawcett