Letter to the Editor: Zoning laws should remain in local control

Zoning laws should remain in local control

Local zoning rights and home rule continues to be under attack in Connecticut — and residents need to be aware that more draconian changes to our zoning regulations will likely be on the agenda by our state lawmakers. We must remain vigilant and expect that our representatives in Hartford advocate for our property rights.

Zoning legislation (HB 6107) passed last session by Democrats in Connecticut's House represents a path towards our local zoning commissions losing more control and giving more power to Hartford bureaucrats. The push behind the changes comes from housing advocates and developers who want to see towns around Connecticut build more dense housing in towns like Fairfield. Having more dense housing in communities like Fairfield doesn’t address the affordability issue nor helps struggling individuals and only enriches developers. We need visionary solutions to address the lack of affordable housing in our area, not more mandates.

As the former state legislator in the 132nd District in Fairfield and Southport, I was disappointed that my successor, Jennifer Leeper, did not advocate for her constituents nor challenge the shortcomings of the legislation. Our legislators in Fairfield need to advocate for local control and champion legislation that protects homeowners and helps address affordability issues.

A top-down, one-size fits all approach to zoning is not the answer nor a solution that recognizes the uniqueness of our towns in Connecticut.

Putting aside Ms. Leeper’s support of the legislation passed last session (HB 6107), Democrat leaders in Hartford have publicly stated that the bill passed last session was only the beginning. Standing silent or on the sidelines is no longer an option. It is not leadership. Differing opinions is a strength to our great democracy but when elected officials refuse to offer where they stand on an issue, especially when the item is a direct attack on the people you purport to represent, it is inexcusable. We deserve better representation in Hartford.

Brian Farnen, former state representative