Care about local zoning? Here’s how Greenwich State Democrats Protected It

Submitted by the Greenwich House delegation, State Representatives Rachel Khanna, Steve Meskers and Hector Arzeno

The Greenwich delegation ran on a promise to protect local zoning control and that is exactly what we have done. Don’t fall for the hype from the Republican party alleging that your Greenwich state representatives voted against local zoning control. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In 2023, your Greenwich house delegation all voted against the “Fair Share Bill” (SB998), which would have essentially turned over housing development policy to a state agency.

In 2024, when the Work Live Ride (HB5390) bill came up and looked like it would pass the House, we worked behind the scenes to make sure that the bill was truly opt-in, with no mandates or penalties for towns that choose not to. We know that a one-size-fits-all approach will never work with housing policy.

We worked closely with the chair of Greenwich Planning & Zoning and with the executive director of the Western Connecticut Council of Governments–both staunch advocates of local control, to make sure there were no poison pills in the bill, and we voted “yes” with their support.

“The Greenwich Planning & Zoning Commission is deeply appreciative of our delegation’s commitment to promoting legislation that protects grass roots municipal efforts to advance housing options,” said Margarita Alban, its chair.

Moreover, the bill’s contents are being misrepresented, so let’s set the record straight.

HB 5390, would have provided financial assistance for towns to adopt “transit oriented districts” (TODs) that allow for multifamily residential development near train stations or bus stops if they decided to opt-in to the program.

To suggest that Greenwich would be losing out on “billions of state dollars” is absurd because the grants for towns that opt in were specifically for promoting dense development. Greenwich would not be applying for many of these grants anyway.

Considering that the Greenwich finance board recently voted to turn down $400,000 in federal money for a traffic safety plan, this claim is especially odd.

It’s patently false that the bill would have sidestepped environmental protections. In fact, this bill was supported by the League of Conservation Voters, CT Land Conservation Council, Sierra Club, and Save the Sound.

The punchline to this story? This bill didn’t come up for a vote in the senate, so it’s dead. Why all the hype then? Because a small group of local Republicans have nothing to highlight as legislative wins, so here we are responding to misinformation.

Your Greenwich state reps remain hard at work bringing home state and federal funding for our districts–over $25 million in the last two years- and protecting local zoning control.

State Representatives Rachel Khanna, Steve Meskers and Hector Arzeno