Honorable members of the Planning & Development Committee,
Effective public policy related to land use starts by engaging LOCAL municipal stakeholders and LOCAL experts from communities large and small, not just housing advocates! The following bills listed below are a gift to developers. They are being pushed by Housing Advocates, who have had an outsized voice in the legislative process, and are backed by developers and Regional Planning Associates (RPA). For three years now the local stakeholders and land use experts’ testimonies and concerns have been ignored. These bills, if passed, will escalate local property taxes, destroy commerce and retail around downtowns, exacerbate highway traffic, adversely impact the environment: esp. reservoirs, watershed & coastal communities and offer very little in the way of affordable housing.
I ask that you take the following items under consideration in your review of bills going to public hearing, in your vote moving bills out of committee and on the floor.
PLEASE OPPOSE THESE BILLS:
HB6890 – DesegregateCT’s Work Live Ride Transit Bill – Requires towns to decide to participate by choosing a Transit Oriented District area & rezone with a minimum average density of 15-30 units per acre (10 units in adjacent towns) covering an area of roughly 50-200 acres (25 acres in adjacent towns) before applying for state infrastructure grants – “carrots.” This onerous density, ranging from 750 – 6000 units (250 units for transit adjacent) allows little to no off-street parking allowance, infringes on local lot size minimums and only requires limited (0-20%) affordable development. As a “stick” to compel towns to participate, it deprioritizes existing state discretionary funding (including brownfields remediation) for any municipality that decides not to participate. Limiting this and other agency funding is not appropriate and undermines local development efforts. (P&D Hearing.)
SB1411 – “Builders Rush” Bill – allows “as of right” high density overdevelopment of residential rental apartments in ½ mile around any rapid transit bus or train station. First in developers will have the ability to override local zoning to build as many units as they want and as high as they want until the ½ mile transit areas in town have OVERALL AVERAGE DENSITY of 15 UNITS /ACRE. This is onerous density for ANY community with no off-street parking allowance and limited affordability <10%. This onerous bill with high density as of right multi-family development is just a retread from last year and must not be allowed to pass. (P&D Hearing.)
SB985 – The Governors bill is a great opportunity for collaboration, but I urge that the following MUST be removed or amended: 1) Remove “as of right” development and allow special permits instead. 2) Remove Zoning Board of Appeals as the designated authority to approve projects and restore approvals by planning and zoning, sewer, water, wetlands, historical preservation or conservation commission or board. 3) Remove provision that there is no requirement for off-street parking – unrealistic 4) Amend: Improve the % affordable required in projects. (P&D Hearning)
SB1001 – Do not approve the expansion of capacity of alternative sewage treatment systems. Without proper funding and oversight of alternative sewerage systems have failed in neighboring states and have resulted in bankruptcies of development projects and cost remediation to the state. Without proper funding and oversight CT would have the same issues. (P&D Moved to Appropriations)
PLEASE SUPPORT THIS GOOD BILL:
HB6394 – Grant any municipal project intended to increase the density of housing within one-half mile of any transit station the same benefits as a distressed municipality regarding any funding or cost-sharing programs. This increases the financial viability of municipal transit-oriented development projects by allowing equal access to funding and is truly collaborative between the municipalities and the state. Many non-distressed municipalities receive little to no funding from the state, so providing funds directly to municipalities will ensure that more transit projects are developed.(P&D Moved to Floor.
It has been stated over and over that there is a “significant” need for affordability in Connecticut yet, passing bills that simply increase a massive number of high-density market rate units, mostly rentals, do not improve affordability. Do not penalize municipalities for non-participation when certain bills being proposed still include onerous “one size fits all” mandates that are unworkable for CT’s 169 cities, suburbs and rural municipalities. Please engage in real collaboration with local land use experts and municipalities.