‘Fair Share’ affordable-housing bill, gets support, opposition in CT committee

Ken Dixon | CT Insider

Advocates for expanded affordable housing opportunities on Thursday supported legislation that would assess state needs, create plans for every town and city, and provide performance data.

During a public hearing on a bill before the General Assembly’s Housing Committee, favorable testimony was led by Cheryl Sharp, deputy director of the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, as well as Kevin Alvarez, director of legislative affairs for the city of New Haven.

But suburban and rural residents said that state-mandated housing goals would be too far to reach, while their local officials try to balance infrastructure limits, historic character and aging populations.

Sharp said that this year’s version of the so-called Fair Share bill would be a different way to tackle the obstacles of segregation established over generations. “It would give towns and planning regions control over development, but would require some degree of development of affordable housing,” Sharp said during an afternoon-long, virtual hearing.

“The commission is well aware of the grave impact impact individual town-based zoning statutes and regulations have had on the segregation of the residents of the state of Connecticut,” Sharp said, stressing that zoning restrictions affect educational outcomes, health care, food, jobs and other issues. “This legislation looks to change the way Connecticut towns have historically addressed where housing is located and who has the opportunity to live in it.”

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