Planning and Development Bills andWhy We Oppose Them
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SEE YOUR TOWN’S ONEROUS FAIR SHARE AND THE COST TO DEVELOP - LINK TO FAIR SHARE WORKSHEET
HB 6633, An Act Concerning A Needs Assessment And Fair Share Plans For Municipalities To Increase Affordable Housing. This bill is the return of “fair share”:
Sign up to testify at the Hearing this Tuesday! Deadline to register: Monday 2/27 at 3PM.
Submit written testimony TODAY using the On-line Testimony Submission form: https://www.cga.ct.gov/aspx/CGATestimonySub/CGAtestimonysubmission.aspx?comm_code=HSG
Select from menu options: Housing Committee Public Hearing: Feb 28th, Opposition, HB6633:
Commissioner of Housing, and Economic and Community Development, and others as appointed by the secretary, experts, advocates and organizations with expertise in affordable housing, fair housing and planning and zoning, shall establish a methodology:
Would require OPM to determine the need for affordable housing units in each planning region and allocating to each municipality the need to municipalities in each region.
- Not market-driven approach (nor based on the desires of state residents) but central planning.
- Municipalities with a poverty rate of 20+% would have no fair share.
- Increases fair share assigned to municipalities based on grand list value, median income, lower poverty rate, lower percentage of residents in multifamily housing.
- Caps fair share at 20% of the homes in a municipality
- Recalculated every ten years.
UNFAIR FAIR SHARE
- The decisions on allocations are being made by appointed bureaucrats and housing advocates, not elected legislators – they are unaccountable to electorate. Bill does not define a balanced group to determine fair allocations - that includes stakeholders from big towns and small, existing affordable housing as well as land constraints, demand for development or existing industry and jobs. The OCA says there is demand for 140,000 affordable, but only under 3,000 are homeless in CT. Who are we building for? If the issue is affordability, why not reform and expand housing vouchers to make housing more affordable?
-Towns only permit housing, most do not have the experience to build it. This law will force towns to build even when developers have no interest in building. Towns in NJ have been forced to build the housing because developers are not interested in building it. Yet it is very expensive and no grants from the state are provided to create the housing. It costs $400-650K per unit to create affordable. New Jersey is the only state that has had a fair share plan for decades it has not improved diversity in communities and it has not created affordability. Why would CT now want to follow with a fair share plan when the model in NJ has not been successful?
-No towns can afford to fund 20% Max affordable units required of 48 municipalities. (See the Fair Share Worksheet.) If Developers step in with 80% market value with 20% affordable as the mandated fair share, a towns entire housing stock would have to be doubled, turning towns into small cities, causing over-densification with only market value multifamily rentals.
- Exponential MARKET VALUE development with very little affordable required is, a gift to developers when in reality there are only approx. 2,500-3,000 homeless in CT. Population in CT has been stagnant pre-Covid and per United Van Lines study outmigration is returning to CT. Why is no development required in larger cities, that have lower land cost, and greater transportation, infrastructure, and receive funding from the state’s coffers?
Methodology to allocate the gross fair share of each region to the municipalities is based on 4 factors:
- Equalized net grand list of each municipality
- Higher median income of each municipality
- Lower percentage below federal poverty threshold in the municipality
- Lower percentage living in multifamily housing in the municipality
The 4 factors are all HIGHLY CORRELATED. Allocation percentage does not take into consideration 1) physical and population size of the community, 2) lack of a town’s sufficient infrastructure (whether there is adequate town water and town sewer, not just the existence of town water and town sewer) to support exponential development 3) lack of adequate public transportation 4) lack of adequate job availability or commerce within the community 5) higher cost of living within the community 6) environmental constraints beyond 30 year flood zones and constraints and impacts on natural resources (such as reservoirs), 7) the lack of existing demand.
Requires municipalities to adopt fair share plans
- Must be adopted every 10 years
- Highly prescriptive:
- Minimum of 50% of units affordable to households earning no more than 50% of state median income
- Minimum of 13% of units affordable to those earning no more than 30% of SMI
- Maximum of 50% of units affordable to households above 50% but less than 80% of SMI
- Minimum of 25% of units are rentals
- Maximum of 25% of units are age-restricted
- Minimum of 50% of units are age-unrestricted and are 2+ bedroom
- Maximum of 20% of units are studios or 1-bedroom
- No adjustment for area median income
- All units must be marketed in municipalities with high minority populations
- Housing must be equitably distributed within the municipality
- No plan may concentrate poverty
Creates complex point system for municipalities to satisfy obligations
- 1 point per affordable unit
- Additional points for units meeting maximums/minimums above, provided no fair share goal falls below 80% of the initial municipal fair share allocation
- Only one bonus point per unit
- +1 point per household earning less than 30% of SMI
- +1 point per unit with 2+ bedrooms
- +1 point per supportive housing unit
- Very fast timetable
- 5% complete by year 3
- 30% complete by year 5
- 60% complete by year 7
- 100% complete by year 10
- Process begins anew at year 10
- Compliance not based on ZONING but on ACTUAL UNITS receiving certificates of occupancy.
- Certificates of occupancy must document affordability of units, numbers of bedrooms, age restriction, etc.
- Municipalities must submit annual progress reports
- Progress towards goals
- Completed or planned infrastructure expansion
- Documentation of advertising for new units
- Random audits of compliance of 10% of municipalities every year
UNFAIR FAIR SHARE
-Affordable housing advocates and central planners are saying where to live and how to live instead of considering where actual demand exists and where builders would find it makes economic sense to build. Real market demand is for smaller units (for retirees and starter homes, young workforce), not big family rentals. Does not require single family, which is the American Dream, not rental living.
-It makes no sense to standardize allocations statewide where no demand for housing or jobs exists. Except for Fairfield County, the population of CT has declined in the rest of the state. Why should towns be forced to build houses in communities where there is no additional demand to live?
-Fair share does not take into account all other types of existing affordable housing. The requirements of Fair Share are duplicative of 8-30g, which just means much more administrative overhead for municipalities. It does not replace 8-30g so towns would need to do compliance with both! Does not include section 8, public housing. It should have consistency with what qualifies under 8-30g or would require additional duplicative reporting requirements. Fair share only captures deed restricted units, and some is only for 20 years, not 40 years. Putting towns on a treadmill, to never be able to reach the 10% affordable per 8-30g, let alone all the mandated units under the unfair fair share
Penalties for noncompliance
- Municipality that fails to submit a fair share plan loses zoning authority, instead replaced with “default zoning”
- Anywhere where water and sewer are available or can be built: multifamily housing by right at 20 units per acre, with at least 20% age-unrestricted 2+ bedroom units affordable to households making no more than 80% of SMI for 40 years or with 10% of the units age-unrestricted 2+ bedroom units affordable to households making no more than 50% of SMI for 20 years
- In all other places, as-of-right multifamily limited in density only by health regulations, with 10% of units being 2+ bedrooms, affordable to households making no more than 50% of SMI for 40 years
UNFAIR FAIR SHARE – WILL END SINGLE FAMILY FOREVER! TOWNS CANNOT DEVELOP THEIR SHARES AND STATE WILL OVERRIDE LOCAL ZONING WHEN THEY MISS THE DEALINES.
-As of right development EVERYWHERE overrides local zoning rules on setbacks, density, just creates over-densification without adequate affordability.
-This would essentially cause a 150% increase in local taxes over 10 years to create a fair share. This is reckless bad legislation – an unfunded mandate. Cost to build very high ($450K per unit to build high density apartment buildings), with no funding to be provided to municipalities by the state.
-Aggressive building schedule will be unattainable by all municipalities, which then sets them up for onerous AS OF RIGHT development by predatory developers, which
-Overrides local planning and zoning decision making.
-Just a gift to large developers creating exponential multifamily market value rentals.
-Demand is not the same in Bridgewater as in Greenwich. Building homes where they are not needed is costly to towns and setting up towns up to fail.
- Municipality that fails to submit a fair share plan OR whose plan does not create a “realistic opportunity” may be sued by ANY housing nonprofit (e.g., Open Communities Alliance) or developer to obtain a court order to force the municipality to create a fair share plan and update its zoning regulations to create a realistic opportunity, including through “express agreements” with developers for housing development projects
- If housing is not built by private sector, municipalities may be sued and forced by courts to build housing at public expense
- Same parties may sue a municipality to obtain a court order permitting development if a zoning authority rejects a project unless the decision is necessary to project health, safety, or other matters (same standard as §8-30g)
- Provides for the court to assess punitive damages, attorney's fees and court costs to the plaintiff
UNFAIR FAIR SHARE
-Allows housing advocacy groups/lobbyists, funded and backed by developers to insert themselves into local zoning decision making. And allows courts in to override local zoning rules
-Profit incentive for housing advocates to bring appeal to courts for potential court awards if towns lose
-Vague standard of “public interest in affordable development”. What is a reasonable, objective measure to be applied evenly of “necessity to build” mostly market value apartments instead of affordable?
-People go to small towns because don’t want to pay for larger town services, higher taxes, this forces all towns to increase taxes, service, infrastructure
- The housing advocates will end up suing towns because they cannot afford to pay to develop it. If the law says the State must pay, the OFA would have to price out the cost, but because the burden is being placed on the towns, regardless of market demand, the legislature is not considering what it would cost the towns.
-Courts will play a greater role in determining whether towns are complying with zoning and affordable housing regulations. They will determine if towns are providing realistic opportunity for development; courts can approve development; courts can give towns more time or reduce goal for public health/land’s characteristics. Provide a private right of action to enforce the Zoning Enabling Act. Allow aggrieved parties (and non-profit advocacy groups) to sue a town for not getting a fair share, vague construct, who decides a town’s honest efforts.
Other talking points:
-Fair share has nothing to do with race, it is not designed to address race. In fact, none of the zoning bills are. That would be against Fair Housing. It attempts to address economic disparity, but these bills mostly encourage market value multifamily development.
-Not designed to help minority communities – they are excluded entirely. Does not help them pay rent. Voucher reform would do that.
-Does not reinvest in minority communities at all, paternalistic approach the only way to help poor is to relocate out of their communities. Do they want to move away from their community, church and neighbors, etc? If so, vouchers are again a better option.
-Fair share moves you to where central planners want you to live. Could be in a rural community, with no public transportation as the bill does not address any of these important criteria.
-Housing is not the only costs, transportation costs are high in CT. Other costs make CT unaffordable.
The Planning and Development Committee will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, March 15, 2023 at 11:00 A.M. in Room 1B of the LOB and via Zoom. Register to testify using the On-line Testimony Registration Form. DEADLINE: Tuesday, March 14,2023 at 3:00 P.M. https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_fc6RuYgoSO6tB_MCRMN3tw
Please submit written testimony using the On-line Testimony Submission Form.
Click on Public Hearing Date 3/15/23, HB6780, OPPOSE
Select from menu options: Planning and Development Committee Public Hearing: —--- Opposition, HB 6890
HB6890 - Work Live Ride Act: DesegregateCT (aka the Regional Plan Association) is engaged in “magical thinking” with newly invented concepts of “Transit Oriented Communities” (TOC).
- 163 of 169 municipalities are invited to “Opt In” and rezone a "reasonable size" of lots for high density, market value (80-100% market value with only 0-20% required affordability) multi-family development within 1/2 mile of transit station. Only 6 towns are exempt – Salisbury, North Canaan, Canaan, Sharon, Cornwall & Union.
- “Carrots” If towns “opt in”, they are eligible for unspecified state “resources”, the process would be managed by a new state office of “Responsible Growth”. CONCERN: No assurance that reworking zoning rules will result in state grant funding.
- “Sticks” If towns decide not to participate in the TOC District concept, they will be “deprioritized” for any state funding tied to infrastructure, and must reimburse any “planning funding” already received and are ineligible for future “planning funding”; towns also cannot retroactively reduce density in a District as they will then “face penalties”. CONCERN: State should not deprioritize infrastructure spending, in particular when related to heath, environmental hazards, brownfields, etc.
- Under the new “Work Live Ride” framework, municipalities with rail and rapid bus are considered a “Rapid Transit Community” and all other towns with bus stations are a “transit town” and would “opt in” by rezoning a set area as a “TOC” (zoning) District with bill prescribed “minimum net density” of 15 - 30 units per acre based on municipality’s population. CONCERN: CT transit is not true “RAPID TRANSIT” as defined by planner terminology.
- All “Rapid Transit” and "Transit" towns would have to agree to rezone a "Reasonable Size" of land. That is currently UNDEFINED (50-200 or more acres) to be decided in the future by the “Office of Responsible Growth” and OPM. CONCERN: Exponential overdevelopment may occur when rezoned, with 750-6000 units! Puts strain on local infrastructure and environment.
- Transit Adjacent Towns are also included by requiring a rezoned area with a “minimum net density” of 10 units per acre on at least 25 acres near a downtown, or state road (250 units total). CONCERN: One size policy may not fit all communities. Demand for such development may not exist.
- "Minimum Net Density" = Language is vague: can mean until the average of cumulative rezoned lots reaches the town's mandated density, or it can just mean it is setting a minimum density limit, but not setting a maximum limit. This must be clarified. Min Net Density = cumulative area of all lots together and divided by the number of lots in a given area, meaning any one project can be much higher density than the minimum number mentioned. Concern: first in builders can potentially develop at a much higher density than later builder, which would could result in unequal treatment of different developers under the law. CONCERN: Term not adequately defined.
- There are harsh penalties should a district ever decide to lessen the density in the TOC zone. CONCERNS: What happens if one of the first developers brings in a really large project is overdeveloped under the minimum overall density rule, well over the average stated units? Is there no max density in the TOC? What are the penalties if a town lowers density of the remaining lots in the zone?”
- No excessive parking requirements and no excessive minimum lot sizes and what is “excessive” is determined by the Office of Responsible Growth. Note: 13 of 15 cities & towns in WestCOG OPTED OUT of this 2021 state law limiting parking. CONCERN: Why is this bill yet again limiting important requirements? One size public policy on parking clearly does not fit all and city and town municipalities all agree. Housing advocate lobbyists are yet again suggesting a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to parking – when will they actually listen to stakeholders?
- There would be an affordability requirement (0-20%) depending on an undefined state housing “needs assessment” by the Office of Responsible Growth. CONCERN: Not enough affordability, also takes municipalities away from the 8-30g 10% benchmark.
- This bill ignores concepts of true “transit-oriented development” that includes Commercial, Industrial, Retail and Residential mixed development and well as commonly understood planner concepts. Metro North is not “rapid transit” as defined in commonly accepted planning terminology, it is rather a “Commuter Transit” as it does not have consistent service every 15 minutes and is used to take commuters a longer distance to a central hub. The NYC subway system is a clear example of true “rapid mass transit.”
- The Governor's budget includes money for “technical assistance” to municipalities for DesegregateCT's Work Live Ride program: “Add Staffing to Provide Technical Assistance to Towns per the Proposed Work Live Ride Act: FY2024: $71,147 FY 2025: $213,441 FY 2026: $213,441.”
- OVER-DENSIFICATION DOES NOT MAKE CT AFFORDABLE! Work Live RIde = gift to lobbyist builders. DesegregateCT is funded by The Regional Planning Associates (RPA) is a NYC organization having over $7mm in per annum operating revenue, and is funded, in good part, by developers and other corporate sponsors. The pay the salary of Desegregate CT’s lobbyist. CONCERN: Outside NYC developer interests have an outsized voice in policy making in Hartford
- A rigged system of special interests have set their sights on breaking local zoning and ending single family in CT forever: NYC-based Regional Planning Associates (RPA), whose Board members and their donors are some the largest developers in the country, financially backs CT non-profit housing advocacy groups, like DesegregateCT, FCCHO, Open Communities Alliance, Growing Together, etc. Non-profits spawn off of one another every session and speak from the same playbook. The State has also funded these non-profit lobbyists to create instructions on developing 8-30j plans, etc. Outside Charitable Organizations like Melville Family Trust, have also funded news outlets, like CT Mirror, CT Public TV to run stories pushing the narratives of the housing advocates, essentially paid media advertising! Hearst has not provided balanced coverage on the bills. CONCERN: Not enough engagement by legislators with stakeholders statewide. One size policy does not fit all.
- The bills will likely become more onerous with more “sticks'' as the years proceed if passed this session. Given the current unworkable language contained in the bill, many municipalities will likely not engage in this program as written even with the offer of funding. Unfortunately, this creates an opportunity for housing advocates to blame towns in future years for not participating and suggest that municipalities are not acting in good faith and they will demand more “sticks” for non-compliance.
CONCERN: Lack of collaboration when drafting legislation.
Submit written testimony TODAY using the Online Testimony Submission form:
Select from menu options: Housing Committee Public Hearing: Feb 28th, Opposition, HB6781:
- Change §8-30j plans from affordable housing plans to plans to affirmatively further fair housing, meaning to a) develop additional affordable housing, b) overcome patterns of segregation, c) promote equity in housing and related community assets (addressing segregation based on a variety of classes), and foster inclusive communities from barriers; such plans would have to be approved by OPM, which would also create demographic and segregation datasets for each municipality.
- This bill directly contradicts all Fair Housing Laws and the U.S. Constitution, which seeks to provide equal treatment under the law. The civil rights act prohibits discrimination on the basis of certain protected classes. This bill would require municipalities to identify groups of people by those classes and then plan about how to break up those groups. This is highly prescriptive social engineering and that is not the proper role of government, dictating how people should live and where to live. This could mean breaking up communities that choose to live together by choice, for instance, an immigrant community in one municipality or a religious community that lives around a church or temple. Do we really want West Hartford to create a plan to break up the Jewish community there? Or the Brazilian community in Danbury?
- Do rural municipalities really need to plan to try to attract more single 20 somethings? What if they are moving to cities because they want nightlife and dates? Are rural towns supposed to create more bars and nightclubs (which of course the market will not support) and have singles mixers? Are municipalities supposed to break up college dorms because they are segregated by family type, ie. nobody is married? And prisons?
- Failed government policies that restrict people's freedom of choice and movement and result in them being, counter to their will, segregated. The state’s own policies on funding Affordable Housing development in the largest cities and allocation of housing vouchers to housing authorities in the largest cities has concentrating poverty in cities.
- Centralize and reform the voucher system and their waitlists first. Only 50% of vouchers are currently utilized, while in MA, over 80% are utilized. Vouchers must bridge the gap to allow renters to find homes in differing housing markets of CT. They must be portable throughout the state and not burdened with additional rules by individual housing authorities. A properly run voucher systems gives the greatest opportunity for housing choice to the renter and is much more cost effective than mandating development of affordable housing, which runs $250-450K per unit.
- Many of the largest cities in CT have received hundreds of millions to create affordable housing in their cities, yet few other municipalities have received similar funding. Provide seed funding instead directly to suburbs in their efforts to develop 100% affordable housing in their communities, just as the state has already done for some of the largest cities in CT. This would provide needed funding to suburbs where cost of affordable housing development ($450K/unit) and land cost is very high, allowing more suburbs to work towards getting an 8-30g moratorium.
- Create a legislative task force to inventory sewer capacity and a plan to expand sewer capacity in accordance with the state PoCD (but not the local PoCD).
- Sewers are not owned or operated by the state,Intent is to allow higher density multi-family development in areas without town sewer by increasing septic gallons/day capacity – from 5,000 to some yet undefined state mandated amount, but past bills have pushed for 7,500 - 10,000 capacity increases.
- We should not be expanding sewer capacity statewide. We should evaluate what systems have excess capacity and could benefit from additional ratepayers. It is likely that a number of systems that already exist do not have the best finances.
- Ecological concerns exist for areas with watershed, aquifers, reservoirs and river tributaries to Long Island Sound can be overburdened with dramatically increase septic capacities with high density development in areas lacking Town Sewer and Water. Each town is different, and once size fits all planning strategies do not account for the unique and finite aspects of land.
- Conservation directors, health directors & sanitation experts have not been consulted on bill.
- The CT Dept of Health is not adequately funded and regulations have not been written to ensure proper oversight.
- Local municipal experts must have oversight on capacity for smart, sustainable planning given unique conditions of each property.
- 50% failure rates within 5 years in RI & MA, and high maintenance costs have put builders in NYS out of business, creating a public health emergency as the systems fail and costs then must be absorbed by taxpayers.
- Provide ½ point towards an §8-30g moratorium for duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, cottage clusters, and townhouses that are built as of right within ¼ mile of any transit district (note – not a transit station but any municipality that has set up an independent transit district such as Norwalk Transit District or HART).
- Many Communities all over CT already have significant multifamily development in their downtowns and around transit areas. This has occurred naturally without the need for “As of Right” mandates that take away the ability for local Planning and Zoning to thoughtfully address all higher density development and allow for public hearings where information about the unique aspects and impacts on the individual parcels(s) are able to be disclosed by neighbors.
- Instead, why not take into account already existing multifamily as part of the 8-30g calculation: Provide ½ point towards an §8-30g moratorium and in calculating 10% for relief for duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, cottage clusters, and townhouses that within ½ mile of any bus or train stop. This would incentivize towns to permit greater density near train stations, while also receiving credit for 8-30g moratoriums and the 10% relief calculations. It also recognizes that 90 of 169 communities in CT are “mature” real estate markets with developed downtowns and transit areas because they have over 15% multifamily in their communities, the threshold that is used by MA to exempt municipalities from further Transit Oriented Development.
- Create a common application for housing vouchers and rental payment subsidies to be used by all affordable housing programs in the state, including housing authorities, Study how to improve the processing of such applications and require DOH to seek to expend all funds appropriated for rental assistance.
- It is time to end the bureaucracy created by individual housing authorities with their own unique rules on vouchers that causes 50% of all housing vouchers in CT to go unused!
- Fix the severely broken voucher system, which can quickly address the financial challenges of many. It is the most equitable way to create greater choice, mobility and faster access to already existing housing throughout the state. Centralize the entire voucher system to prevent different rules imposed by Housing Authorities.
- Rather than instituting a half way measures to “disclose the rules” attached to the vouchers by the individual housing authorities, or creating a “common application,” the actual distribution of vouchers from the Federal Government by CT should be entirely centralized to prevent the creation of unique rules by different housing authorities. This consistency in rules allows for greater portability between towns or cities, and allows renters maximum choice where to live.
- Centralizing and standardizing the voucher system provides the greatest access to and protection of naturally occurring affordable housing that already exists statewide.
- Voucher values have not kept up with rent increases. Creating a centralized voucher system will help better address the need for higher cost markets to receive higher value vouchers than other areas of the state. It can open up more opportunity to rent higher cost naturally affordable rentals in Fairfield County by offering higher value vouchers to those looking to live there. This is a more efficient use of state/federal tax dollars and prevents lost opportunities.
- It brings competition and skin in the game to all Housing Authorities to up their customer service and quality of product to attract renters to their Housing Authority rather that confining renters to one Housing Authority by having unique rules that limit portability.
- Centralize Housing Authority Wait Lists as well which will better quantify actual AH demand - prevents duplication of names on different housing lists and overstating the existing need.
- Reduces confusion, improves access & simplifies search for those seeking affordable housing
- We cannot quantify true affordable housing need without first addressing this dysfunctional system that prioritizes protecting the revenue stream of housing authorities rather than focusing on addressing the needs of the residents. No decisions expensive affordable housing mandates should be made without first fully addressing the inefficiencies of the existing housing voucher program that results in so many vouchers being underutilized.
- Do not wait by requiring a study to kick the can down the road and just protect Housing Authority bureaucracy of the largest cities in CT. Residents that are struggling need help now, not 2 years from now. Centralize distribution of vouchers and waitlists this session!
- Direct state conveyance tax revenues in excess of $180 million to a state housing Trust Fund.
- Do not remove state conveyance tax revenues from municipalities, let towns put these revenues into their own housing trust funds to create affordable in their own towns. Removing revenues that fund their operations and this will only result in higher local property taxes on residents.
- Authorize state bonding for the conversion of hotels, malls, and office buildings to multifamily dwellings in non-distressed municipalities.
- This removes areas of commercial development and changes it only into residential.
- Our housing market was stagnant pre pandemic and now there are indications it will be headed towards out-migration again. For far too long, State Public Policy has created an onerous business unfriendly environment which has resulted in CT being the second highest taxed state.
- Address these factors first before subsidizing handouts for housing development that no longer allows commercial enterprise to step into the state? Focus on making CT affordable for businesses and its residents, then the marketplace will take care of expansion of industry, commerce and housing as actual demand increases.
Many good aspects of incentivizing middle housing development in CT and has funding in the bill, however, there are several state overreach items that excessively penalize landlords that should be removed. Includes incentives to develop workforce housing and energy efficiency upgrades as well as several landlord/tenant issues. The bill: 1) requires certain projects to be assessed below market value, and 2) allows municipalities to partially exempt such projects from property taxes for seven assessment years following project completion. It also exempts such projects from building permit fees.
These restrictive landlord policy provisions do not do anything to improve housing needs and assume all landlords are bad actors. This is simply not true. The more the government interferes with the free market, they end up hurting the people they are trying to help. More long-term Landlords are selling, losing or abandoning their properties as they cannot afford all the rising expenses and regulations being put on them while their hands are being tied on how they can protect their investment.
Concerning landlord restrictions within the bill:
Line 314 to 320 states: “(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, no state marshal may remove a defendant or occupant, or such defendant or occupant's possessions and effects, between December first and March thirty-first of any year unless the judgment of eviction binding upon such defendant or occupant to be executed by such marshal was entered due to serious nuisance, as defined in section 47a15, by such defendant or occupant.”
- This provision prohibits the execution of a summary process between Dec. 1st and March 31st. giving four months of free housing to tenants at the sole expense of landlords.
Unfairly restricts screening fee collection until the charge is incurred.
- An applicant denied a lease will not pay for the report that caused denial.
- Documents become easy to alter.
Landlords should not accept self-reporting. When you attempt to stop screening tenants, landlords are going to be more wary and selective.
The bill directs landlords to violate their Credit Bureau reporting regulations by providing a credit report to applicants.
- By regulation a landlord cannot provide a copy of the report to the applicant.
Critically limits late rent fees to a non-punitive amount.
- Unless the fee is somewhat punitive, the tenant will only consider the fee as increased rent and will not prioritize paying rent.
Late payment and fee application policy under the proposed bill violates accepted business practice.
- To be an effective deterrent against paying late, payments must be applied to the oldest rent due.
Please submit written testimony using the On-line Testimony Submission Form. Click on Hearing Date 3/10/23, SB985, OPPOSE: https://www.cga.ct.gov/aspx/CGATestimonySub/CGAtestimonysubmission.aspx?comm_code=PD
- It is a “shall permit” OPT IN, we love it!
- Towns collaborate and sign agreement with the CT Municipal Redevelopment Authority and decide where exactly they want to have transit development within the ½ mile. Proposal is made by the town to Authority for approval. Local decision making, we love it!
- State will make funding available to non-distressed municipalities that are NOT just the biggest distressed cities. Cost of development and infrastructure limitations often prevents development. ex) need a pedestrian bridge to allow proposed development to access transit. We love it!
- Does not mandate a set amount of units/acre density, allows for town flexibility, we love it!
- Requires towns to report development of single family, 2-4 family and 4+ units to the state annually and anything demolished. Lines 121-145
- State to study land owned by the state that could be used for TOD and Affordable development throughout the state. Lines 146-158
- ALLOWS MIDDLE HOUSING MULTI-FAMILY “AS OF RIGHT” – A zoning is change must be made in the “Project Development Area” PRIOR to submitting a funding request to the state. As of right does not take into consideration the unique site-specific land use concerns based on any individual project proposal. REMOVE THIS PROVISION AND ALLOW SPECIAL PERMIT APPLICATIONS Lines 86-87
- ONLY REQUIRES APPROVAL BY ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS AND ONE PUBLIC HEARING for any building project besides middle housing which is “as of right.” ZBA is not the town authority that has experience and expertise in handling land use development proposals, P&Z does. ZBA do not meet as frequently and they only handle appeals to ensure zoning laws are applied consistently - not the right body to decide on new proposals. Lines 86-101 REMOVE THIS PROVISION!
- In addition, requires NO APPROVAL by: P&Z, sewer, water, wetlands, historical preservation or conservation commission or board. This is unworkable and does not reflect the proper process for approval of development as these commission are tasked with being the proper and right stewards and protectors of municipal land. REMOVE THIS PROVISION!
- NO OFF-STREET PARKING REQUIRED – Absolutely unworkable “one size fits all” mandate – for our unique municipalities of different sizes. Let towns decide what parking is needed based on the unique differences in every town. HB6017 allowed opt outs of 1 space for studio &1Br, and 2 spaces for 2Br+ and almost all WestCOG cities, suburbs & rural areas opted out. Why add this rule when we know one size does not fit all and many roads are not wide enough to accommodate adequate on street parking. Lines 105-107 REMOVE THIS PROVISION!
- 10% INCLUSIONARY ONLY IF 10 OR MORE UNITS – Not enough affordability is attached to the project. Lines 107-110 Override municipal inclusionary policies with 12-20% affordable. ADD MORE AFFORDABILITY
- Line 110: PROMOTE RESIDENTIAL DIVERSITY – What does this mean? Economic? Fair housing prohibits discrimination of protected classes. Line 110 REMOVE THIS PROVISION!
- Imposes a very short timeline for project approval, often builders have not received signoff from all town departments first before submitting applications, which can cause delays which are not the fault of town departments or approval bodies. EXTEND OR REMOVE THIS PROVISION!
Submit written testimony TODAY using the On-line Testimony Submission form: https://www.cga.ct.gov/aspx/CGATestimonySub/CGAtestimonysubmission.aspx?comm_code=HSG
Select from menu options: Housing Committee Public Hearing: Feb 7th, Opposition, HB6593:
Allows for any housing authority or regional housing authority established pursuant to this section may adopt an expanded area of operation. Meaning any outside housing authority can operate in any other towns outside of their own, without first getting their permission or approval. So, for example, Hartford Housing Authority could operate in any other city, suburb or rural community in CT. This is a total attack on local municipal rights and local zoning authority not requiring the permission of the other municipality.
The "Expanded area of operation" means an area in a municipality adopted by a housing authority other than the municipality in which the housing authority is located. The area of operation of such authority shall include the municipalities for which such authority is created and any expanded area of operation adopted by such authority. An authority from another municipality could come in and buy property on the private market and build in the other municipality.
- If we have an outside authority developing in another municipality without their consent, the outside authority may leverage 8-30g to build outsized projects, overriding local zoning codes on setback, height, density, coverage, etc. and without regard to the municipal infrastructure and other limitations of the targeted municipality.
- The potential impacts to the targeted municipality of any outsized development are simply not of any economic or social concern to the outside authority. There needs to be “skin in the game” which is why not getting the targeted municipality’s consent is of grave concern.
- There is a symbiotic relationship between cities and towns. Towns provide the clean water and other resources utilized by cities and town residents daily go to cities for work, dining, shopping, entertainment, etc., which provides additional revenue to the cities. Isn’t it time to stop pitting cities against suburbs? Do not create an adversarial relationship with this bill. This is forced regionalization.
- In addition, the state would likely have to provide the funding to the city authorities to build in other municipalities, so why not fund suburban municipalities and their authorities directly instead?
- If you truly want to encourage development of more affordable housing in the suburbs then please provide funding directly to that municipal housing authority.
- Every municipality housing authority is best suited to develop affordable housing in their municipality or decide if they want to join with another municipality’s authority in the development of affordable housing.
- This could result in a situation where the authority – which is the creation of another municipality – then uses 8-30g to override the zoning of the municipality it is building in. So, for example, City X wants to protect its own local zoning, but then its authority is overriding the zoning in Town Y.
- A more productive partnership occurs if a municipality invites or approves an outside housing authority to operate in their municipality.
Please submit written testimony using the On-line Testimony Submission Form.
https://www.cga.ct.gov/aspx/CGATestimonySub/CGAtestimonysubmission.aspx?comm_code=PD Click on Public Hearing Date 3//23, SB1101, OPPOSE
SB1001 - Expands the existing delegation by DEEP to state Department of Public Health (which already delegates septic permitting to local health officials) the authority to issue permits for small, subsurface waste disposal systems. Allow alternative & community sewage systems for proposed multifamily projects that are located outside of municipal sewer district.
CONCERNS: DEEP would no longer be in charge of oversight of the alternative and community sewerage systems. Smaller and private sewer systems are more difficult to regulate and maintain, and if or when they fail or malfunction, it's a public health and environmental disaster. These systems are essentially mini-sewage treatment plants, with much of the same technical and operational complexity and cost that goes along with larger (municipal) facilities. These systems are beyond the capacity of many HOAs (and many local health districts) to manage/maintain and have a checkered history in states that have been laxer with respect to public health and environmental standards.
Significant additional funding is needed for DEEP and DPH to review and approve these systems and long-term management structures and to oversee their operation, including ordering corrective action.
Alternative treatment systems –
- Must provide adequate funding and a reasonable timeline for implementation for DEEP/DPH to permit private mini-sewage treatment plants.
- The complexity and high maintenance needs of these systems, which likely exceeds the ability of HOAs to manage.
A state official stated that 50% of these systems installed in Rhode Island had malfunctioned within 5 years. A separate MA public health expert shared the following:
“…I used to manage this type of system (community leaching field system) in my work… and it was a nightmare. We hired a PhD in biochemistry to manage the system and it was a constant challenge to keep them working. It should never have been allowed by Massachusetts was taking a more laidback approach to their approval.”
Maintenance costs: “As long as the DEEP or DPH does not have staff or funding, this approach "works" well since nobody knows that the systems are failing. In reality, they are a disaster. Once MA DEP started investigating the system… it became a major cost drain on the organization and called into question the initial siting of the… facility (with hundreds of employees on a 24/7 schedule) in an area without sewers. [The bill] is operating in the world of fantasy thinking and obviously never consulted experts in the field of sanitary engineering when they made their policy proposal. I spent many years reporting to senior… management about the weekly reports from our PhD Biochemist (he was also an expert in community leaching field systems and the problems of controlling nitrogen discharges) summarizing the maintenance failures and performance failures of the community septic system.”
[The bill] is operating in the world of fantasy thinking and obviously never consulted experts in the field of sanitary engineering when they made their policy proposal. I spent many years reporting to senior… management about the weekly reports from our PhD Biochemist (he was also an expert in community leaching field systems and the problems of controlling nitrogen discharges) summarizing the maintenance failures and performance failures of the community septic system.”
2) increases capacity from 7,500 gallons/day to 10,000 gallons, and
Raises the limit for alternative sewage/community sewerage systems from 5,000 gallons (equivalent to 33 one-bedroom, 22 two-bedroom, or 11 three-bedroom homes) ) to 10,000 gallons per day (66 one-bedroom, 44 two-bedroom, or 22 three-bedroom homes) DEEP would no longer be in charge; DPH would. Unclear DEEP/DPH position on this. Why is this new threshold being proposed?
CONCERNS: When you build more alternative sewer systems around town, you're also increasing the likelihood of environmental accidents related to waste or stormwater disposal.
- Smaller and private sewer systems are more difficult to regulate and maintain, and if or when they fail or malfunction, it's a public health and environmental disaster.
- Question: who will pay to fix a malfunctioning system, especially if HOA is MIA? May need authority for government to take over and repair failing systems at expense of served properties.
- Significant additional funding is needed for DEEP and DPH to review and approve these systems and long-term management structures and to oversee their operation, including ordering corrective action.
- Force DEEP/DPH to permit private mini-sewage treatment plants but not funding or a reasonable timeline for implementation. This is concerning given the complexity and high maintenance needs of these systems, which likely exceeds the ability of HOAs to manage. A state official stated that 50% of these systems installed in Rhode Island had malfunctioned within 5 years.
- Lack of sewer is a primary reason rural Easton (reservoir and farming town near the Merritt Parkway without sewer) cannot add apartment buildings. But septics do fail and when they do, they pollute both surface water & groundwater and have no business being in a town like Easton.
- Brookfield had a failure, and the project went into bankruptcy.
Submit a Testimony to the Planning and Development Committee
The following action should be done on your computer, not a mobile device, as you will need to save and re-attach the PDF file. Email CT169Strong with any questions you may have for this process.
1. Enter the bill(s) you are testifying against (SB1024, HB6611, SB961, HB6107, SB1066, HB6638), your email, first and last name below, select your town, and hit the LOAD TESTIMONY button.
2. Edit the sample testimony in your own words. Explain why you oppose the bills and offer suggestions to improve them. See Summary of Concerns and the above Bill info section if you want to include more content.
3. When you are done hit SAVE TESTIMONY button and open the downloaded PDF file to check the contents. If you are not happy with the contents of your file, you can repeat Steps 3. and 4. as many times as you want.
4. Once you are happy with the contents of your testimony, hit EMAIL TESTIMONY button to open an email, attach the testimony file you saved in Step 4, and hit SEND.