PLEASE CALL YOUR SENATOR AND ASK THEM TO SUPPORT H.B. 6749 WITH NO AMENDMENTS!
Opponents of affordable housing are trying to derail H.B. 6749, which is a first step towards a sensible, more inclusionary zoning policy for CT, by proposing several amendments that would gut key parts of the bill at the Eleventh Hour. With only 2 days left in the session, any amendment is likely to kill this bill, either by preventing a vote in the Senate or by requiring another vote by the House.
Proposal: H.B. 6749 amends the state’s Zoning Enabling Act, CGS Sec. 8-2, to take moderate steps toward ensuring that municipal zoning actually does what it has long been required to do by state and federal law: promote and support access to housing for families of all income levels. This will be accomplished by (1) streamlining 8-2’s language, (2) creating compliance standards and incentives for adoption of municipal zoning policies that promote balanced development, including multifamily housing, as developed by an expert working group, (3) amending 8-2 to remove ambiguous language that could be misconstrued to hinder affordable housing development, and (4) adding language to clarify that the state’s obligation to affirmatively further fair housing extends to municipalities as part of the state’s delegation of zoning authority to towns.
This is a Moderate, Bipartisan Compromise Bill. After significant revisions were made to earlier versions during negotiations, this bill passed the House 103-44, with 16 Republicans (more than 25%) voting in favor. This is a compromise bill.
Status of Bills:
- H.B. 6749 - URGENT! Pending vote in Senate. CALL YOUR SENATOR!
Senate Amendment 10245 – Removes protections for family and group child care in residential zones
- This amendment would repeal the provision prohibiting discrimination against family and group child care in residential zones. The practical impact is to allow discrimination against licensed child care homes for 7 to 12 children (smaller child care homes would still be protected by C.G.S. 8-3j). In effect, it would treat group child care homes as if they were larger day care centers. This protection has been part of the Zoning Enabling Act since 1987, i.e., the past 32 years. Repeal contradicts state day care policy and ignores the pressing need for expanded day care. There is no good reason to change it.
Senate Amendment 10247 – Remove existing portions of 8-2
- The principal impact of this amendment appears to be to delete a large portion of the existing zoning act [in Section 1], reflected in the deletion contained in lines 117-167 and 198-203 of the proposed amendment. These existing provisions address (1) child care homes, (2) recycling, (3) mobile and manufactured homes and mobile and manufactured home parks, (4) non-conforming uses, (5) temporary health care structures, and (6) advertising signs. Most are long-standing parts of the statutes. It is unclear why these particular sections have been singled out by this amendment for repeal.
Senate Amendment 10250 – Working Group Membership
- The amendment adds “three members of a municipal zoning board” to the working group – one each from a municipality of under 25,000, 25,000 to 75,000, and more than 75,000. These would presumably be zoning commissioners. The change is unnecessary, since towns are already represented on the working group, and completely unbalances the working group, which already has two members – one from CCM and one from COST – to represent municipal agencies. Nothing prevents CCM and COST from designating zoning commissioners to be their representatives. If this amendment were to be adopted, the CCM and COST representatives should be removed from the working group and at least one representative of a low-income housing advocacy organization should be added to the membership to retain some reasonable balance.
Senate Amendment 10252 – Remove reorganization of 8-2, changes working group to review compliance with 8-2 generally, rather than housing choice/MF
- This amendment deletes all of Sections 1 and 4. Section 1 contains the technical reorganization of the Zoning Enabling Act, as well as the small changes to its inclusionary housing provisions. The amendment retains the working group and the study in Sections 2 and 3 but changes the study from a focus on how to enforce the inclusionary housing provisions of 8-2 into a general study of the Zoning Enabling Act. The practical effect is to convert the entire bill to a study. While there is nothing wrong in principle with studying the entire Zoning Enabling Act, the change from a narrowly focused study of implementing long-standing inclusionary zoning requirements to trying to review everything in the act will prove to be an overwhelming task with no real focus that is unlikely to actually get done in the near future.