The year 2035 seems to come up a lot lately in conversations about the state of the state. A dozen years pushes us far enough out that we can imagine anything we want and yet it’s soon enough that we need to actually plan for it now.
Visions of where we’ll be in that year — led by the optimist-in-chief, Gov. Ned Lamont — have led to sharp debates lately as the centrist governor absorbs jabs from the right on energy and taxes and from the left on social spending and affordable housing, as advocates gear up for another battle in the legislature to loosen towns' vice grip on zoning.
Lamont, showing photos of attractive developments with modest rents, sees progress without tougher laws such as exposing towns to lawsuits, which advocates tried but failed to push through the legislature in each of the last two years.
“We’ve doubled the amount of investment we’re making in housing, doubled it,” Lamont said, adding that the push is for multi-family dwellings in downtowns, not large-acreage, single-family houses.
He said he’s satisfied with the progress. As for critics who say it’s too little, “I hear that from every advocate wherever I go. ‘You’ve only doubled the amount for community colleges, you’ve only doubled the amount for day care, you’ve only doubled the amount for housing.’” But look what we’ve delivered over the last few years … we’ve got really strong positive momentum.”
It’s an opportunity missed, said Erin Boggs, executive director of the Open Communities Alliance, an advocacy group based in Hartford.
“The North Star for any kind of visionary redevelopment for our state and its regions must be to counteract the economic, racial, and ethnic divisions that have been entrenched for decades,” Boggs said in an email.
Dan Haar: From housing to energy, Lamont spars with skeptics over his bright view of 2035 for CT, Dan Haar, Connecticut Post, Nov. 20, 2023, available here