FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | Overwhelming Support Voiced for S.B. 333 in Public Hearing Before the Planning & Development Committee

March 14, 2024

Overwhelming Support Voiced for S.B. 333 in Public Hearing Before the Planning & Development Committee

HARTFORD, CT– The public hearing held today before the Planning and Development Committee saw a tremendous show of support for S.B. 333, An Act Concerning Local Charter Revisions. Dozens of participants advocated passionately in favor of this bipartisan bill, introduced by elected officials in Stamford on both sides of the aisle.

“This bill returns power to our residents and municipalities,” Senator Ryan Fazio (R-Greenwich), Ranking Member on the Planning and Development Committee, began. “Last year, power was stripped away from over 100 towns and cities without any public debate or input. The testimony for S.B. 333 overwhelmingly supports the notion that our residents want local control and local democracy back in Connecticut.”

Representative Tom O’Dea (R-New Canaan) said, “This policy is about reaffirming our commitment to local governance.”

S.B. 333 seeks to reverse last session’s last-minute legislation that barred towns and cities from making any necessary modifications to their municipal charters. The earlier policy, labeled the “Stamford Zoning Rat,” was passed covertly, denying municipalities the right to alter their local planning and zoning commissions’ composition or abilities, change the process of eminent domain, or increase public input regarding municipally controlled land.

The policy was passed last session without public hearings, debate, or most legislators’ knowledge. It was concealed in a lengthy spending bill, and many were unaware of its existence until it was too late.

Representative David Michel (D-Stamford) emphasized, “Removing the public from the eminent domain process, among other limitations on public input, cannot be allowed. This bill would allow our cities and towns to include the public.”

Representative Anabel Figueroa (D-Stamford) stressed, “We are elected to represent our constituents, and from the testimony before the Planning and Development Committee, they are overwhelmingly supportive of S.B. 333.”

Betsy Gara, Executive Director of the Connecticut Council of Small Towns, testified, “Although it is our understanding that the language adopted last session was intended to apply only to the City of Stamford, as approved, the provisions affect the ability of the 109 municipalities with local charters to revise those charters.”

Senator Fazio concluded, “Working in bipartisan fashion is the best way to deliver results for our constituents. That’s what we are elected to do, and we believe that this legislation reflects these wishes from our constituents.”