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Connecticut legislative leaders say controversial housing bill is ready for a vote

The Connecticut State Capitol building.
Molly Ingram
The Connecticut State Capitol building.

Connecticut House Democrats say a controversial bill aimed at dealing with the state’s affordable housing crisis is ready for a vote.

Democratic House Speaker Matt Ritter said the final bill would override some local zoning laws.

“You have to build more housing in the state of Connecticut," Ritter said. "And we understand that there’s a difference of opinion based on where you live. But this bill is probably the most comprehensive, well vetted and also the most compromising piece of legislation that still moves the needle. And so we hope members will see the value in that."

The aim is to expedite the creation of more transit-oriented multi-family housing developments, said Jason Rojas, the House Democratic majority leader.

“Communities that are along a rail line, that are along a fast-track, who have bus service. That is regular bus service, not one bus in the morning, one bus in the afternoon. Those towns would be captured in that,” Rojas said.

Rojas added rural communities in the state would not be affected. “It largely cuts out northeast Connecticut and northwest Connecticut who simply don’t have the infrastructure to support this kind of development of housing."

Opponents claim the bill would override local control in all 169 towns and cities. They say it would remove public hearings, local zoning commission discretion as well as wetland and sewer commission review.

It would restrict the ability of towns to preserve open space, protect nature and historic resources or address future impacts from climate change, according to a group called CT169Strong, who are lobbying lawmakers to vote against the measure.

The bill has Democratic Governor Ned Lamont’s support.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.