Sen. Gordon Continues Support of Housing Affordability, Local Decision-Making in Senate Debate

May 2, 2024

Supports towns’ voices in residential development for attainable housing, while leveraging existing resources during three-hour senate debate.


State Sen. Jeff Gordon (R-Woodstock), former Chairman of the Woodstock Planning & Zoning Commission for 15 years, supported housing affordability and local decision-making during his three-hour debate yesterday on a measure that would exempt commercial properties that seek to become residential development projects from local planning and zoning commission regulations.


“We want to do something meaningful for housing affordability and more housing units. However, this bill has too many unintended, yet foreseeable, consequences. The bill was not properly and carefully thought through. It fails to provide guardrails to ensure that land use addresses public health, public safety, public welfare, livability, and environmental concerns. These are important considerations when deciding about housing where people and families will live.


“I am not against the concept of moving commercial property to residential use. However, this bill is a missed opportunity to achieve several different goals, like incentivizing the use of existing commercial buildings for safe and healthy housing, providing affordable housing opportunities, and reclaiming properties through environmental remedies. What we need is a better process that respects local decision-making. The people of Connecticut know best what is best for their own communities,” said Sen. Gordon.


The legislation effectively allows developers to convert commercial buildings into residential units under “as-of-right” statutes, which would preclude public input and fast-track large projects with limited oversight. During the debate, Sen. Gordon explained how this policy would overlook the unique needs of the state’s communities and lacks guardrails to ensure that developers create attainable housing—rather than luxury units that otherwise do not address the state’s current housing needs.


View full senate debate here.