“While this might be a watered-down version, this is a huge boot in the door for state control over our towns that would eliminate that uniqueness that makes Connecticut so special,” said Rep. Laura Devlin, R-Fairfield.
Devlin credited citizens who held rallies against the legislation and towns that passed resolutions for some of the changes ultimately made to the legislation.
“They have been loud. There have been rallies. I heard somebody say, ‘oh, there’s just all these noisy rallies.’ That is the voices of the people saying, ‘we do not want this,’” Devlin said. Among other things, those groups argued that local people and not state government should be making local zoning decisions.
But House Majority Leader Jason Rojas, D-East Hartford, said that’s why Connecticut still has racial and economic inequities.
“There’s been comments about top down approach, bottom up approach,” he said. “I would only suggest that the bottom up approach has led us to where we are today, which is a segregated state.”
Rojas acknowledged the bill does not go as far as he wanted. But he urged his colleagues to still support the legislation.
“It is moving us in the right direction by balancing the goals of updating our zoning and land use statutes while recognizing the premium that I think we all place on local control and local decision making,” he said, promising that housing and zoning policy will be debated again in the House.