Letter to the Editor: One size fits all zoning laws don't work

One size fits all zoning laws don’t work

While many are focused on getting back to work and ensuring their kids are doing well in school following the pandemic, the Democratic majority in Hartford, including Rep. Cristin McCarthy Vahey, are pushing new zoning bills that would fundamentally change our community. Why would she support removing “Home Rule” from our 169 towns and cities including her own town of Fairfield? Why would she support bills that enrich developers and home builders?

SB1024 undercuts local inclusionary zoning policies and affordable housing funding from developer fees, eliminates P&Z public hearings on individual projects and requires towns to permit higher capacities of community septic systems to push greater density. State agencies including CT DEEP and CT DPH have also testified they do not have the resources to regulate these systems so they will become a costly public health emergency for municipalities. Why would she want this for Fairfield?

HB6611 mandates towns to build a “fair share” of affordable units, eliminates the need for aggrieved parties to have legal standing and obligates the court system to play a bigger role for enforcement of affordable housing development. The fair share calculations are critically flawed, making the allocated units completely unachievable (it would result in doubling or tripling the entire housing stock). Imagine what Fairfield would look like with thousands more housing units?

If towns don’t meet their share, they will face lawsuits as anyone would be provided legal standing (including students, academic activists, housing advocates) for lack of development and the courts will be tasked with enforcement.

Fairfield and many other communities have been working hard to create more diverse housing and affordable housing units. Our local zoning commission and other town officials know what’s best for Fairfield and denying public input on proposed developments is bad for Connecticut.

If Mrs. McCarthy Vahey won’t tell you what’s in the bills, please go to CT169Strong.org where there is considerable research on this legislation and their impacts on Connecticut. Please tell her that you support home rule and one size fits all zoning laws do not work for Connecticut: Cristin.McCarthyVahey@cga.ct.gov

Cathy Politi, Fairfield