Suburban Zoning Debate Gets Personal

A high school senior, a septuagenarian social worker, a military veteran, and a recent immigrant from Latin America reached into their pasts to buttress arguments for and against allowing more multi-family affordable housing in the leafy New Haven suburb of Woodbridge.

They were among 16 Woodbridge residents who testified Monday night during an hour-long special meeting of the Woodbridge Town Planning & Zoning Commission.

The sole subject of the online special public hearing was a two-pronged proposal submitted by civil-rights attorneys and law students looking to make it easier for developers to build multi-family affordable housing in Woodbridge.

The suburban rezoning debate—which has sparked the attention and input of New Haven-based legal advocates, law students, and affordable housing supporters—will continue during the town commission’s next regularly scheduled meeting on Feb. 1.

Just as during the last public hearing on the matter on Nov. 30, Monday night saw proponents argue that the town has perpetuated racial and economic segregation for decades through exclusionary zoning.

The bid’s opponents, meanwhile, repeated calls for local zoning control, and slammed the proposal’s backers as out-of-town interlopers most interested in boosting their own résumés.

Suburban Zoning Debate Gets Personal, Thomas Breen, New Haven Independent, Jan. 5, 2021, available here

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