New Canaan Legislators and First Selectman Announce Efforts to Protect Local Control of Zoning

February 17, 2022

New Canaan Legislators and First Selectman Announce Efforts to Protect Local Control of Zoning 

NEW CANAAN, CT – On Feb. 17New Canaan state legislators and community leaders announced efforts to reform 8-30g, protect local control over zoning, and advance affordable housing goals sustainably

State Senator Ryan Fazio (R-36), State Rep. Tom O’Dea (R-125), State Rep. Lucy Dathan (D-142), First Selectman Kevin Moynihan, and New Canaan Housing Authority Chairman Scott Hobbs assembled at Canaan Parish to show support for constructing affordable housing in-scale and consistent with our neighborhoods.

The state’s 8-30g housing and development regulations are becoming unworkable and burdensome on New Canaan and many other towns across Connecticut. New Canaan and towns like it are dynamic and vibrant in large part because they have been effectively governed locally over many generations. Local control is a great tradition in our state and has served us well. But 8-30g overrides our town’s local planning and zoning decisions and allows developers to build large and dense apartment buildings inconsistent with the town’s infrastructure, natural environment and more.

The New Canaan Housing Authority, the Planning and Zoning Commission, and other community leaders are working hard to advance affordable housing goals in a sensible manner in New Canaan. In October, the town completed construction on its fantastic 60-unit affordable apartment complex, “Canaan Parish,” and will continue to work creatively toward those goals. But the town is also demoralized by 8-30g which sets an unattainable goal of 10 percent “affordable housing,” by a byzantine and narrow definition, and then allows developers to ignore zoning laws and build large and dense developments with a 30 percent set-asides for so-called affordable unitsBy contrast, Canaan Parish is 100 percent affordable.

But that means getting to 10 percent will also require building thousands of new expensive apartments in a town of only 7,000 households presently, overburdening the existing infrastructure, and destroying green space in our beautiful town. Recently, a 100-unit 8-30g application was submitted for Weed and Elm Streets, a single-family residential area where a historic single-family home has stood for generations.

The legislators will support proposals to reform 8-30gSenator Fazio, for example, authored legislation last week to alter the statute. They also want the state and town to work together to support New Canaan Housing Authority and other affordable housing initiatives that are in-scale and have support from the community. New Canaan was one of only a few towns to have moratorium from 8-30g recently because it is so proactive with affordable housing. We think it deserves one now, too. The state should not have an adversarial relationship with the town and instead collaborate to protect quality of life, local control, and also create affordable housing.

New Canaan legislators, the first selectman, and community leaders are committed to protecting the community and look forward to working with people across the state to make zoning rules work for everyone.