State Rep. Harry Arora: Should the state impose local zoning mandates?

Posted on April 4, 2022

Dear friends and neighbors,

There are four bills proposed in committees that deal with new statewide zoning rules and affordable housing mandates on towns. Legislators from big cities and housing advocates are the proponents. These bills face widespread opposition from many communities as they would result in high-density developments and congestion in quiet neighborhoods. Here is the status of these four bills.

HB 5429 imposes mandatory zoning of 15 units per acre in a half-mile area around train stations. This bill would allow over 5000 apartments around Greenwich train station and has met stiff opposition from residents of most towns with transit points. This bill was NOT advanced out of committee due to opposition. I opposed this bill strongly.

SB 169 required a study of affordable housing policies, especially reform of 8-30g. It was not advanced out of committee and, unfortunately, will not go any further. I have advocated for a reform of 8-30g, but this committee does not agree.

HB 5204 empowers the state to define fair share plans for municipalities, determining and mandating the number of affordable units and a housing plan for each town. Towns with a more extensive grand list and lower density would be required to have more affordable subsidized units. The housing committee has favorably reported this bill, and it will come before the assembly. Most residents in Greenwich and many other communities oppose the state making that decision for their town. This bill needs to be defeated.

HB 5209, An act concerning Housing Authority jurisdiction, allows housing authority in one town to build in another town. The motivation for this bill is not apparent unless the state starts using a city’s housing authority to fund and expand in various towns. The housing committee favorably reported this bill. I oppose this bill.

While many towns are still trying to figure out a way to stop the high-density development from 8-30g exemptions, these new bills are another attempt to impose state zoning and housing plans on all towns. HB 5204 and HB 5209 offer no solutions or funds to make housing affordable but impose mandates and reduce local control. I will oppose these bills and vote against them when they come up in the General Assembly. Please click HERE to take a three-question survey to provide your viewpoint on this issue.