LETTER: Please read the state land use and zoning bills!

Submitted by Ken Rogozinski, Riverside

I am writing to encourage all interested Greenwich residents to read the full text of the many land use/zoning bills currently under consideration in Hartford.

In (Monday’s) marathon hearing on SB 1024, many participants referenced the potential development of two to four family dwellings within one-half mile of a designated transit station.

The funny thing is, the transit oriented development section of SB 1024 doesn’t say anything about two to four family dwellings.

Section 6 of the bill starts by allowing “as of right” development of dwelling units with no parking requirements.  

“As of right” is defined by the bill as “able to be approved in accordance with the terms of a zoning regulation or regulations and without requiring that a public hearing be held, a variance, special permit or special exception be granted or some other discretionary zoning action be taken, other than a determination that a site plan is in conformance with applicable zoning regulations”.

That ability to build “as of right” with no parking requirements is granted to (i) mixed use developments with at least four dwelling units, (ii) mixed use developments with at least live work units and (iii) multifamily housing with at least four units if they meet the following criteria: (A) a minimum density of fifteen units per acre; (B) at least 50% lot coverage; (C) lots are served by water and sewer infrastructure and (D) are within one-half mile of any primary transit station.

So four units is the minimum project size and there is a minimum (not maximum) density requirement of 15 units per acre both of which are reinforced by the lot coverage requirement.

As the owner of a .50 acre lot in the R-20 zone within one-half mile of the Riverside train station, if Riverside is designated as a primary transit station, this bill would give me the right to replace my existing single family dwelling with eight units of multifamily housing (16 units per acre meeting the density minimum), with on-street parking only, no affordability restrictions (less than 10 units) and no opportunity for a public hearing on my plan.

The same would be true for every other R-20 lot owner in Riverside within one-half mile of Riverside station.  This kind of shift in land use would completely destroy the neighborhood at the heart of Riverside with, as far I can envision, no tangible public policy benefit as no affordable rental units would be created.

Please don’t rely on flyers or tweets or Facebook posts for your information on these important issues – read the legislation for yourselves so you fully understand what is being proposed.

Ken Rogozinski