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Ridgefield @ Risk

Proposed Housing Bills a
Disaster for Ridgefield 

by Linda Lavelle
April 6, 2023

Below are four of the most egregious housing bills making their way through the Connecticut legislative process.  Only brief summaries are included for each one, but for more depth and other concerning bills, please visit
If these bills become law, Ridgefield will become unrecognizable.  Our town will be run by Hartford unelected bureaucrats and commissioners who will decide how many high density apartment buildings we need and who will live in them, with little regard for traffic congestion, sewer and water resources, impact on schools, job availability, etc. Please contact your state Senator and Representative (listed at the end of this article) and tell them to vote
against these bills.  Silence is tacit approval so please do not be silent!

HB6890  An Act Concerning Transit Oriented Communities

              Within ½ mile of a train station or rapid bus station, 163 out of 169 municipalities are invited to Opt In to rezone the area to allow a minimum net density of 15 homes per acre if the town’s population is 25,000 or less; 20 units per acre if the population is over 25,000, etc.  80% to 100% of the new units can be at market price; only 0 to 20% need be “affordable.” This does not help towns reach 8-30g targets and can set us back instead.  If these Transit Oriented Communities opt in they are then eligible for state funding for infrastructure.  If they don’t comply, no state funding for infrastructure will be available to them.  Transit Adjacent Towns are also included by requiring a rezoned area with a “minimum net density” of 10 units per acre on at least 25 acres near a downtown, or state road (250 units total). The Bill sets up a new oversight bureaucracy: The Office of Responsible Growth under the Office of Policy Management. The Bill is vague, not specifying how much land is to be rezoned, what is the maximum density of units, how many units are required overall (it could be thousands), and more. 

The housing bills are being pushed by lobbyists and housing advocates funded largely by New York City’s Regional Planning Assoc, made up of some of the largest builders/developers in the country and outside corporate sponsors, all of whom will benefit handsomely from hi-rise developments.  The over-development of apartment houses will not benefit us all.

HB6633  An Act Concerning a Needs Assessment and Fair Share Plans for Municipalities to Increase Affordable Housing

              This Bill puts into action the Obama administration’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing plan in every suburban community. It determines the income levels for Low Income, Very Low Income, and Extremely Low Income designations.  20% of building units must be affordable and the Commissioner of Housing and Commissioner of Economic and Community Development will determine the need for affordable housing in each planning region now and every 10 years.  Wealthier areas are to have more fair-share allocations of affordable housing. “As of Right” development renders Planning and Zoning committees largely irrelevant, as set-backs, densities, parking, etc. can be ignored.

If a municipality fails to adopt an acceptable fair-share plan, they can be sued by any housing advocacy group or builder.  A judge can force a plan and, if no builder wants to build it, the municipality is then required to build the affordable housing. With their proposed methodology the town of Ridgefield will be required to build 1,588 multifamily units, but if the building is done by developers, then over 15,000 units will be required over 10 years. How many small towns can afford to do that?  This entire Bill is based on an ideology of central state planning that runs roughshod over local residents and their elected officials.

HB6593  An Act Concerning Housing Authority Jurisdiction

              A municipality can expand its area of operation into another municipality with the approval of its own Housing Authority, but the approval of the expanded operation’s municipality is not required. This allows the Housing Authority to build affordable housing in the expanded area or a third area, over riding local zoning laws in those municipalities.  Two or more municipalities can also form a regional Housing Authority and expand its area of operation.  Housing Authorities have the power of Eminent Domain in their own municipalities, but not in the expanded areas of operation.

 Local housing authorities are autonomous public corporations, which are generally funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) but may also receive state funding.

HB6781  An Act Addressing Affordability in the State

              Beginning June 1, 2024 and every five years thereafter, each municipality, in consultation with the State Responsible Growth Coordinator, shall prepare a plan to affirmatively further fair housing. It must 1) develop additional affordable housing 2) overcome patterns of segregation 3) promote housing and community asset equity 4) foster inclusive communities free from barriers that have perpetuated inequality, segregation, and poverty.
No later than January 1, 2024, the Coordinator will produce a data set of demographic information on segregation for each municipality. Segregation is defined as a concentration of persons of a particular race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, familial status, national origin, or disability.

Not later than December 1, 2024, and annually thereafter, the chief executive of each municipality must submit to the Office of Responsible Growth a statement that his/her town is in compliance with the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing plan for that town.  Any municipality that fails must spend any funds already received for any economic and community development project on affordable housing or its supportive infrastructure.

All the above Bills have been passed favorably out of their respective joint committees. They then can be referred to a different committee for approval or go to the full House for a vote.  If approved in the House without amendments, it would then go to the full Senate for approval.  If passed there without amendments, it would go to the Governor for signature.  If changes are made in either chamber, the process would repeat.

State Representatives from Ridgefield:

Aimee Berger-Girvalo
Keith Denning
State Senators from Ridgefield:

Julie Kushner
Ceci Maher