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‘Frankensteined’ Housing Bill Monstrously Expensive, Submits Towns to Central Planning

Halloween has come early this year with the General Assembly imitating Dr. Frankenstein by cobbling together multiple “affordable housing” bills into one monstrously expensive and restrictive piece of legislation. 

The trouble begins with a newly proposed 90-page amendment to HB 6781 — An Act Addressing Housing Affordability for Residents in the State. Without the amendment, the bill “imposes a duplicative and confusing planning requirement on municipalities” despite towns having already “invested considerable time and resources in developing affordable housing plans,” according to Betsy Gara, executive director of the Connecticut Council of Small Towns.  

Meanwhile, the Office of Fiscal Analysis report predicts tens of millions of dollars’ worth of expenses for implementing the un-amended bill, which doesn’t include additional costs the state’s 169 towns and cities would have to bear. 

Yet lawmakers are entertaining to cram into HB 6781 three other bills that are antithetical to keeping zoning local: HB 6633 (An Act Concerning a Needs Assessment and Fair Share Plans for Municipalities to Increase Affordable Housing); HB 6890 (An Act Concerning Qualifying Transit-Oriented Communities); and SB 4 (An Act Concerning Connecticut’s Present and Future Housing Needs). 

Both HB 6633 and HB 6890 topped Yankee Institute’s “Five Bad Bills” list as the former would require “fair share” housing plans for each municipality (as well as penalties if they fail to submit plans), while the latter — known as the ‘Work, Live, Ride’ bill — would require towns to create transit-oriented developments (i.e., walkable neighborhoods), and places expansive zoning authority in an unelected government official. 

SB 4, however, will limit the ability of housing providers to properly screen potential renters, recoup losses from delinquent tenants, and evict renters that have damaged units or threatened other tenants. This restricts housing providers’ ability to successfully run a business and keep their rental units livable and affordable. 

On their own, any one of these bills would be a massive expense; but they are also power grabs with Hartford ripping zoning controls away from local officials who are more knowledgeable and closer to housing issues impacting their respective communities. But HB 6781’s one-size-fits-all approach doubles down — it fails to incorporate local communities, and ignores ongoing developments that will help increase access but don’t necessarily fit within the strict centrally designed regulations.  

Additionally, the new amendment ignores environmental concerns over development in and around wetlands and other protected areas, which fails to jive with the General Assembly’s push for environmental mandates to address various climate crises.  

Bottom line: it might be time to grab the proverbial torches and pitchforks and run the Frankensteined HB 6781 out of town.  

If you don’t like what’s happening in Hartford, but not sure how to reach your legislator, Yankee Institute has got you covered. Our TAKE ACTION page easily allows you to send messages directly to your representative. Tell Hartford NO on these costly/restrictive housing ideas. Keep housing local!  


Andrew Fowler

Andrew Fowler joined Yankee Institute in July 2022 after four years in the communications department for the Knights of Columbus international headquarters in New Haven. In that span, he managed the organization’s social media accounts and wrote for the company’s various publications, including COLUMBIA magazine, which is delivered to nearly two million members. Additionally, he is the curator of the Blessed Michael McGivney Pilgrimage Center’s online exhibit “K of C Baseball: An American Story,” that explores the intricate ties between the organization and the growth of the national pastime. He was also a production assistant for MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and the 2016 Dinesh D’Souza film, “Hillary’s America.” Andrew currently serves on the Milford Board of Education. He is an avid runner and basketball fan, cinephile, and an aspiring musician and author. He graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2015.

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