Posted on February 20, 2019 by admin
Always a strong supporter of the arts, State Rep. John Frey (R-111) proposed legislation that would allow municipalities to create designated cultural districts to create awareness and promote economic development. Today, the Planning and Development Committee further advanced the bill by a unanimous vote to have the bill drafted, the next step in the adoption process.
“Allowing municipalities the ability to establish cultural districts will increase the visibility and awareness of the arts, especially on the local level, and help foster community engagement and encourage economic development,” Rep. Frey said. “This is a win-win proposal.”
Proposed Bill 6939 – An Act Concerning the Establishment of Municipal Cultural Districts – would let local officials establish specific areas of their town or city as a cultural district to promote art, music and entertainment.
“We’ve seen success with our Antique, Winery and Brewery Trails,” Rep. Frey said. “The best thing about this proposal is that it would be available statewide and smaller towns like Ridgefield, Westport, Mystic and Wethersfield could benefit as much as the large cities of Hartford, New Haven and Stamford.”
“The Ridgefield community, rich in history, has always supported arts, cultural enterprise and entertainment and this legislation would allow Ridgefield and other municipalities to leverage unique cultural experiences to bring the community together,” Rep. Frey said. “Creating these districts will also boost other local businesses by bringing in people from the surrounding area and across the state to explore the town and enjoy new experiences. I’m hopeful that we can get this bill through the legislature and ready for the governor’s signature this year.”
Rep. Frey stressed that his proposal would not regulate property use within any cultural district and is merely a recognition of the cultural venues within a certain geographic area. The proposal would not cost residents, businesses or visitors a fee of any kind.
Frey’s proposal was referred to Planning and Development Committee and a public hearing was held February 13th. The 2019 legislative session ends at midnight on Wednesday, June 5.
Posted on February 4, 2019 by admin
Rep. John Frey was proud to join Ridgefield’s Scout Troop 19, and other Scout Troops, during the 2018 Boy Scouts of America Report to the State at the Capitol last Friday. More than 150 Scouts, their parents, Scout leaders and elected officials packed the Hall of the House to hear the report and to join together for a meet and greet. Scouts from all five Connecticut Boy Scout councils visited the Capitol.
Troop 19 is Ridgefield’s first BSA all girl troop and their Troop number comes from the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution which gave women the right to vote. They are an outdoors-oriented troop and plan to camp at least once a month during the school year, as well as going backpacking, rappelling, taking bike trips and whatever other activities the scouts want to do.
Boy Scout Day at the Capitol celebrated the new Co-Educational Scouting program in Connecticut that welcomed its first girls into the Boy Scouts program. The girls at this unique Court of Honor Ceremony also received their Scout badge.
Posted on February 1, 2019 by admin
In an effort to protect local water resources and reduce overdevelopment throughout the state, State Representative John Frey (R-111) proposed two pieces of legislation to limit the density of certain housing development in watershed areas, and to exempt municipalities that meet certain requirements from the affordable housing appeals process.
Proposed Bill 5710 – An Act Concerning Density Requirements for Certain Affordable Housing Developments – would amend current law to require affordable housing developments with land in watershed areas have “not more than one dwelling unit per two acres.”
“Our natural resources are under constant pressure from overuse and real estate encroachment and this legislation would help protect the more sensitive areas of Ridgefield, and Connecticut, from over-development,” Rep. Frey said. “Reducing housing density to levels lower than previously allowed strikes a balance between our need for affordable housing in the state and preserving the nature and resources that make Connecticut a great place to live, work and raise a family. We must be careful not to squander or destroy the bucolic areas of our state.”
Proposed Bill 6893 – An Act Concerning Exemptions From and Moratoriums On the Applicability of the Affordable Housing Land Use Appeals Procedure – would exempt municipalities in which at least eight per cent of the dwellings are assisted housing, currently financed by Connecticut Housing Finance Authority mortgages, subject to binding recorded deeds containing certain covenants or restrictions or certain mobile manufactured homes, from the affordable housing land use appeals procedure. The bill would also increase the moratorium period on the applicability of the appeals procedure to five years, if certain conditions are met.
“Knowing that land is not unlimited and overdevelopment can stress town services, including school systems and budgets, I proposed extending the moratorium to allow local officials to better plan for the future of their towns. ” Rep. Frey said.
The affordable housing land use appeals procedure (Sec. 8-30g in statute) requires municipalities to defend their decisions to reject or to approve affordable housing development with costly conditions. The appeals process has been used by developers to leverage significant power over municipalities. Generally, developers can contest a municipality’s decision if fewer than 10% of the municipality’s housing units are affordable, based on statutory criteria, and the municipality has not qualified for a moratorium. A municipality is eligible for the moratorium if it shows it has added a certain number of affordable units over the applicable time frame. Ridgefield’s moratorium expired recently.
The bill has been referred to the legislative Housing committee and is awaiting action. The 2019 legislative session ends at midnight on Wednesday, June 5.