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"A new coalition of lawmakers, advocates and others called Tuesday for zoning and land use reforms in the hopes of eventually creating more affordable housing, less exclusionary zoning and widespread desegregation," reports Christopher Keating.
The coalition grew out of an effort to push the state legislature to address housing affordability in a special session next week, but instead Gov. Ned Lamont pushed the issue until next session.
Keating detail the agenda of the new coalition:
The coalition, known as DesegregateCT, is pushing a series of ideas, including allowing accessory apartments as large as 1,200 square feet to be permitted on large, single-family lots. In addition, they are calling for more small-scale townhouses and duplexes or so-called middle housing that could be built within a half-mile of train stations and a quarter-mile of commercial developments. They want towns to designate 10% of their property as middle housing or multifamily in order to diversify the housing options. They also want to relax minimum parking requirements that they say are highest in wealthier towns.
Already, more than 25 different organizations have joined DesegregateCT, according to Keating, including the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Connecticut Voices for Children and the Partnership for Strong Communities.
Keating credits the momentum beyond the group to Sara Bronin, who spearheaded sweeping parking reforms as chair of the Hartford Planning and Zoning Commission, and has contributed to zoning and planning news on several occasions during the pandemic, highlighting efforts to loosen zoning restrictions as an anti-racist practice and removing parking minimums as an economic stimulus for local businesses.
DesegregateCT is likely to find opposition, however, in a state that still prides itself on its suburban character, as detailed in a recent article by Joseph De Avila and Jon Kamp that is behind the Wall Street Journal paywall.