Senator Hwang: “Home Rule and Local Land Control are hanging by a thread.”

May 20, 2021

HARTFORD – The CT State House today passed HB 6107, which was amended to incorporate additional Planning and Development bills’ sweeping changes from the original HB 6611 and SB 1024. These bills were drafted at the behest of interest groups. Following the vote, Planning and Development Committee Ranking Members Senator Tony Hwang (R-28) and Representative Joe Zullo (R-99) offer the following statements:

“This is a creation of feigned compromise. This bill has been crafted to maximize a one-shot attempt to ram through blanket, statewide mandates. When reading the strike-all amendment, I interestingly found that it included the more palatable portions of the two drafted bills,” said Sen. Hwang.

“With that said, Connecticut municipalities and local leaders have spoken loud and clear: they strongly believe in the principle of ‘home rule’ and do not want to surrender local control over zoning and land use. Unfortunately, I believe this amended bill is a harbinger that ‘home rule’ will not exist in CT’s 169 towns and cities. Their advocacy for ‘home rule’ is being heard, however I implore residents and local leaders to keep the pressure on their state and local representatives. Local control is hanging by a thread and we need every voice to speak out and stop these policies from usurping home rule,” said Hwang.

“I do appreciate the work that the chairs and house leadership have done to make some improvements to this proposal, but I cannot accept any measure which allows the state to dictate local zoning regulations,” concluded Hwang.

“Issue advocacy groups made a strong push this year to implement a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach to zoning that would have stripped municipalities of local control of zoning matters and replaced it with mandates from Hartford bureaucracy.  However, from the public hearing process right up through today’s vote, residents, local leaders, and legislative bodies across the State exercised their collective voices to oppose this dangerous power grab” said Rep. Zullo.

Zullo added, “Expanding housing opportunities and creating new and diverse housing are laudable goals.  However, as we seek to realize these goals, we should be teaming with CHFA and DOH to leverage existing programs and monies to equip small businesses and local municipalities with tools to promote the types of unique development that advance the goals of each unique community in our State.”

Zullo concluded, “We can expand housing choice and opportunity without unduly encroaching on local control and I look forward to working with Senator Hwang and with leaders across the aisle to advance measures that accomplish both goals.”