Video | Sen. Gordon, Lawmakers and CT169Strong Support Town Planning Decisions Ahead of Planning & Development Hearing

March 15, 2023


Today, State Sen. Jeff Gordon (R-Woodstock) stood with Republican lawmakers, town and city officials and members of CT169Strong to discuss their concerns with legislation being proposed and publicly heard before the Planning and Development Committee. These concerns include the proposed “Work Live Ride” legislation (H.B.6890) and its negative impact on local planning and zoning decisions.


Senator Gordon said, “I am in the middle of planning and zoning matters every day as Chair of Woodstock’s Planning & Zoning Commission. The people of Connecticut know what’s best for their towns, and that is why they elect local leaders to represent them.


“Each town is unique. The state’s approach to affordable housing with 830-g is outdated and reform is needed, but top-down is not the way. We must facilitate the good work that our towns are doing, like what we are doing in Woodstock to address affordability. We should be looking at ‘attainable’ housing where we broaden the definition of what we consider affordable, and work with towns to recognize what is in the best interest of their residents.”


State Sen. Ryan Fazio (R-36), ranking member of the legislature’s Planning and Development Committee who also led the discussion, said, “I appreciate the good intentions behind H.B. 6890; however, as written, it only hurts communities unwilling or unable to adhere to the loosely-defined TOC and emboldens big developers to bypass zoning and push high-density housing. This bill is either too broad or too restrictive in various places, leading the Lamont administration to testify that the proposal would be ‘difficult to administer’ and ‘would not meaningfully support high-quality transit.’ The legislation may even shut certain municipalities out of receiving critical infrastructure funding if they do not meet the definition of Transit-Oriented Communities demarcated by the bill.”


State Rep. Tom O’Dea (R-125) said, “Everyone agrees that the current affordable housing laws do not work in creating affordable housing in small, highly developed towns, like many of those across Fairfield County. It has been decades since a private developer has built affordable housing in New Canaan. We must emphasize two main goals in any new legislation: 1) Protect critical infrastructure of small, highly developed municipalities with strong awareness of local guidelines; and 2) Increase affordable housing stock built by municipalities so that it is 100 percent affordable forever as opposed to a small percentage of affordable units that cease to be affordable after a few decades if built by private developers. Municipalities need financial incentives from the state not blanket mandates. What works in Stamford does not necessarily work in New Canaan or Darien. I am committed to working in a bipartisan manner to achieve these goals and make real improvements to affordable housing laws in Connecticut.”

The press conference’s organizers, the nonpartisan CT169Strong, also shared concerns on state-mandated development.


“CT169Strong, a grassroots nonpartisan group dedicated to Connecticut’s 169 towns and local control, has significant concerns on DesegregateCT’s “Work Live Ride” bill, which includes punishing towns who do not opt in to the bill’s provisions. H.B. 6890 ignores the true concept and vision of transit-oriented development, and creates a “one-size-fits-all” approach to top-down mandated development, ignoring the nuances, needs and attributes of each of our local communities. The over densification of our communities does not make Connecticut more affordable, and this legislation is simply a gift to developers.


“Zoning benefits communities by ensuring consistency of land use, types of development in different zoning districts, and the pace of change, all of which preserves property values, enhances a town’s economic stability, protects historic and environmental resources, and governs the pace of change to a sustainable, supportable level. Proposed laws ignore these benefits, and some conflict with other existing and proposed laws,” said CT169Strong President Alexis Harrison.