Lawmakers have moved several zoning reform measures through the committee process this session, a major part of Democrats’ push to address the housing crisis in Connecticut.
The Planning and Development Committee finished its last scheduled meeting of the legislative session Friday and passed House Bill 6890, also known as the Work, Live, Ride bill. Members also approved Gov. Ned Lamont’s housing bill, which includes financial support for transit-oriented development.
Earlier this year, the Housing Committee also passed House Bill 6633, the fair share bill. It would require towns to plan and zone for a certain number of units of affordable housing based on the needs of the region, which would be determined in an assessment.
The Work, Live, Ride bill and the fair share bill aim to help address a lack of housing in Connecticut.
“We are hearing, over and over again, the fact that we need this housing,” said Rep. Eleni Kavros Degraw, D-Avon, co-chair of the Planning and Development Committee. She added that she hopes members keep in mind various types of needs, including senior housing.
The state lacks more than 89,000 units of housing that are affordable and available to the lowest income renters, according to estimates from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
Housing and land use experts, as well as zoning reform advocates, have said this is largely because local zoning ordinances make it hard to build multi-family housing in much of the state. Multi-family housing tends to be more accessible to people with low incomes. Restrictive zoning has historically been used to keep certain groups, especially people of color, out of particular neighborhoods and communities.
“We didn’t accidentally end up one of the most segregated — economically and racially — states in the country,” said Rep. Roland Lemar, D-New Haven, during Friday’s meeting. “That didn’t happen by accident.”
CT zoning reform bills an attempt to address housing crisis, Ginny Monk, CT Mirror, March 28, 2023, available here