If there’s one lesson to take from the past two legislative cycles, it’s that Connecticut’s suburbs aren’t going to change unless they’re pushed.
In 2021, after weeks of debate, the General Assembly passed a law legalizing accessory dwelling units, otherwise known as granny pods or ADUs, anywhere single-family homes are allowed. These are a separate home on a piece of property, either attached or detached, that are viewed by experts as a good way to improve housing availability without affecting the character of a street. It was seen as a good first step in a much larger problem.
But the law came with an out clause. Communities had two years to opt against allowing the construction of ADUs, and many towns are taking advantage of that option. The result is little change at all.
The 2021 law had other provisions, including increased training for local zoning officials. But it’s clear what the state needs — more housing. We lag every other state in the nation in per-capita housing construction, and the business lobby has targeted our stagnant population as a key driver for our slower-than-hoped economic growth. We can do better, but we need places for people to live.
Editorial: State must take action on housing needs, Hearst Connecticut Media Editorial Board, CT Post, August 14, 2022, available here