Hugh Bailey: It’s not the funding; it’s the zoning
Hugh Bailey | CT Post
The housing crisis may be the most significant issue facing Connecticut, but it’s hardly unique to this state. It’s a problem throughout the Northeast and around the country — even in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz, a Democrat, recently gave a thoroughly sensible interview on the issue with Slate magazine that hit on many of the major themes of the debate. The change in recent years, he said, is who is being affected. “It’s not just San Francisco and Honolulu and New York City and a few other places that are experiencing a shortage of housing,” he said. “It’s every place across the country. So, this is a national issue, whether we like it or not.”
The same could be said of Connecticut. It’s not just Stamford and Greenwich, it’s everywhere in the state. We don’t have enough homes, and we need to do something about it.
Focusing on cities sends a message that this is mostly an urban problem. There’s nothing wrong with promoting more and better housing in our cities. But the most pressing issue is how too much of the state makes it impossible to do just about anything. It’s not the cities that have been stuck in amber for the past 50 years.
Lamont’s plans are not sufficient. They don’t do much of anything to touch the suburbs. And by focusing on subsidies, they go against what everyone from Schatz to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul acknowledges — you can’t get where you need with incentives alone.
But by acknowledging the problem, it advanced the discussion to its next phase — what are we going to do about it.
Having reached this point, we can’t go halfway. There are enough legislators who understand the scope of the issue and aren’t beholden to suburban do-nothingism to pass meaningful reform, something that makes clear that all towns have to play a part in solutions. That all towns, in other words, need to do their fair share.