Sen. Hwang Offers Amendments and Passionate Senate Debate to Preserve Local Zoning, Land Use and Affordable Housing “Home Rule” Decision-Making

May 28, 2021

HARTFORD – Late Thursday evening, State Senator Tony Hwang (R-28) led a multi-hour legislative intent exchange on House Bill 6107 which passed out of the House last week which will start Connecticut down the slippery slope of a state mandated “one size fits all” takeover of local zoning, land use and affordable housing solutions.


Senator Hwang said, “I am deeply concerned about how this bill has been misleadingly purported to ‘empower’ local zoning and land use rules. In reality, this bill does not offer data proof toward improving social equity, segregation, or even affect the affordability of living in Connecticut, all concepts which I strongly believe in and support. If the legislature truly wanted to implement visionary solutions in affordable housing regulations then we should re-explore CT General Statute section 8-30g which has not been examined since 1989. The partisan Democratic vote further raises the alarming fear of the camel’s nose under the tent regarding expansive zoning, land use legislative mandates evident by the multiple overreaching bills passed out of committees throughout the CT General Assembly this session.”


During the discussion, Senator Hwang offered two amendments, both of which failed along a party line vote. One was to prevent a one-size fits all mandate, but instead preserve “home rule” and “local control” on not only land use and zoning but also on education, local finances and taxation, and environmental protection. The second proposed amendment hoped to provide a better balance between the represented stakeholders on the newly-created working group ensuring that local experts and members of all political backgrounds had a voice in the future of zoning and land use in the state.


Senator Hwang added, “There is an urgent need for more affordable, accessible and diverse housing opportunities not only in our suburban communities but also urban and rural as well. We just need to take proper action to consider the viewpoints of all involved and collaborate with neighborhoods, local, state and federal government entities to create sustainable and effective solutions.”


“There is no doubt that this bill’s passage will codify state power and prerogative in granting enabling powers to municipalities, changing Connecticut’s law written almost 100 years ago,” said Hwang. “This is only the beginning of a statewide takeover of zoning under the guise of greater empowerment of local control. What will be next: regionalized education, statewide property taxes or even more mandated personal body choices?”


Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) also shared his thoughts “Connecticut must work to improve access to housing for all residents and address deep inequities across all levels of society. Once again, the bill put forward by Democrats completely misses that mark. It does nothing to address the root causes of these issues: a stagnant economy, a state that is dead last in job and income growth, and a lack of opportunity to break the cycle of generational poverty. People who need better housing need more income and better job opportunities to be able to afford better housing, not more government programs.”