Letter to the Editor: Bill would create more diverse housing options

Bill would create more diverse housing options

Having been born and raised in Fairfield, I have always noticed the wealth inequality within our state. But it was only in my junior year at UConn that I learned about how this inequality was created. It was created by laws and policies we adopted, which have made housing more expensive, and put it out of reach of too many people.

Connecticut is currently facing a declining population, faltering economy, and affordability crisis. One in six families across Connecticut spend 50 percent of their income on housing. People in Fairfield are not immune. In Fairfield, a third of residents spend a third or more of their income on housing.

It is hard to know how to tackle these systemic issues. But a current piece of legislation, SB 1024, will start to reverse the discriminatory effects of our current land use laws. It would enable the construction of accessory dwelling units and “middle housing” in smart places, which will boost the towns’ tax base. It would make it easier for young people to stay in the towns they grew up in, and older people to downsize and age in place.

Right now, towns like Fairfield are not prioritizing this type of gentle density which would create housing diversity required to meet this moment. In Fairfield, for example, about 75 percent of recent housing permits have been for single-family housing.

If I wanted to live in Fairfield after graduating from UConn, there are virtually no good options for me. I know I’m not alone. I’ve read through hundreds of pages of testimony, and among young people, there is universal support for SB 1024. We all love Connecticut, and we want to make our homes here. But we can’t if the only kind of housing that is being created is single-family housing.

It is time for Connecticut to change its restrictive zoning laws so that we have more leniency, freedom, and ability to create more diverse housing types without changing the vibrant hometown feel of our communities.

Jared Klukas, Fairfield