Connecticut Bill Could Streamline Adaptive Reuse

The proposed law would exempt some conversion projects from local zoning regulations.

1 minute read

May 6, 2024, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Aerial view of downtown Hartford, Connecticut.

Mark Lotterhand / Adobe Stock

Connecticut’s state Senate just approved a new bill that supports the adaptive reuse of commercial buildings, reports Ken Dixon for CT Insider. The bill requires that projects seeking to convert retail, office, and hotel spaces to housing get approval from local officials, but exempt such projects from public hearings or special permits. According to Sen. MD Rahman, D-Manchester, “properties that are currently vacant and blighted will become more attractive for transformation and get back on the tax rolls.”

“If approved there and signed into law by the governor, who proposed similar legislation during his February State of the State address, it would let owners of retail, office and hotel space make partial or total conversions to apartments, in an attempt to address the state's housing crisis,” Dixon adds.

Opponents of the bill say it takes too much decision-making power away from local officials and community members and point out that it doesn’t differentiate between housing units at different affordability levels. “Sen. Tony Hwang, a member of the Planning and Development Committee, who also voted against the bill, railed for several minutes on a lack of affordable housing requirements in the bill, and the ability of developers to avoid public zoning hearings.” 

Thursday, May 2, 2024 in CT Insider

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