As “8-30g” and “Affordable Housing” Take Center Stage in Upcoming Legislative Session, East Haven Rep. Joe Zullo Reappointed “Ranking Member” on State’s “Planning and Development Committee”

Posted on December 13, 2022

EAST HAVEN/HARTFORD – On Thursday, East Haven State Representative Joe Zullo (R-99) was reappointed as “Ranking Member” of the General Assembly’s Planning and Development Committee (“P&D”) by House Republican Leader-elect State Representative Vincent Candelora (R-86), a committee which has proved to be fertile ground in past years for proposals relating to affordable housing and the State’s “8-30g” framework.

“I am grateful and excited to remain in a leadership role on the ‘Planning and Development’ committee. Over the past two years, in addition to addressing several municipal governance and conservation issues, the P&D committee has been a busy pipeline for proposals relating to local control, affordable housing, and 8-30g.  Over the next two years, I expect the State and other leaders will continue to focus on identifying solutions for creating more affordable housing.  I am excited to have a leadership role on a committee that is central to those discussions, and I look forward to being a strong voice in the conversation about balancing the imminent need for more housing with the importance of preserving and protecting local control.”

The P&D Committee has been a hotbed for proposals relating to 8-30g and affordable housing in past years.  Last session, the committee received proposals to:

  • exempt communities with large watersheds entirely from 8-30g;
  • allow towns to classify housing as “affordable” regardless of year built;
  • permit towns to identify and count “naturally occurring affordable housing” units as part of towns’ affordable housing stock;
  • exempt municipalities with populations under 75,000 from the State’s affordable housing framework, including 8-30g;
  • eliminate the burden shifting element of the State’s affordable housing appeals framework.

“During the recent election, many constituents voiced common concerns related to state zoning, development, and land use that could negatively affect property values without enough local influence,” commented Rep. Candelora. “Although many of these concerns require support from the House Majority party, I am confident that Rep. Zullo will establish common ground and cultivate bipartisan solutions with his proven and sincere interest in these matters. Joe is a young, yet experienced legislator and I look forward to witnessing his thoughtful debate, rooted in empathy and active listening.”

Rep. Zullo continued, “8-30g has absolutely worked to increase affordable housing.  However, it has also worked tremendous injustices in instances where developers have leveraged the statute to the detriment of municipalities to get deals they wouldn’t otherwise be entitled to under towns’ existing zoning regulations.  The State’s affordable housing framework hasn’t been substantively updated since it’s passage and I am hopeful our committee can serve as an additional forum for soliciting proposals to make the statute both more effective and fairer.”

Rep. Zullo added, “There is a need for compromise and good faith from individuals on all sides of the 8-30g debate.  We need to take a hard look at proposals to expand the breadth of 8-30g to better address those municipalities who either haven’t acted in good faith or haven’t necessarily embraced the spirit of 8-30g.  At the same time, though, we need to acknowledge that many municipalities have worked hard to increase affordable housing and that proposals like allowing towns to count naturally occurring affordable housing toward their housing stock have a legitimate place in the conversation.”

Aside from his prior service as Ranking Member to the Planning and Development Committee from 2020-2022, Rep. Zullo has also served as ranking member on the State’s “Housing Committee,” another committee central to the 8-30g debate.  For the upcoming session, Rep. Zullo will retain appointments on the General Assembly’s “Housing” and “Finance, Revenue, and Bonding” committees.

Zullo noted, “When I speak of protecting and expanding ‘local control,’ I mean that I am committed to transforming 8-30g from a blunt instrument into a more refined tool that both respects the place for local input in the municipal planning and development process and that also gives towns tools, right down to the hyper-local level, for creating meaningful and affordable housing opportunities.  For example, next session, I intend to re-raise my proposal to allow, but not require, towns to give five hundred ($500.00) dollar yearly tax credits to first-time homebuyers who utilize ‘CHFA’ loans to purchase their first homes, because I believe we’re under-utilizing the state’s first-time homebuyer program, which is a tremendous pathway for connecting homebuyers with affordable housing.”

Rep. Zullo concluded, “I am grateful for the trust that residents placed in me this past November and for the continued opportunity to be a part of key discussions on the P&D Committee that will shape the State’s housing framework for decades to come.  I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to identify bipartisan solutions that will give our municipalities better and more refined tools for tackling all of the challenges they continue to face.”