From Greenwich First Selectman Fred Camillo
Dear Sen. Moore, Rep.Luxenburg, Sen. Sampson, and Rep. Scott and members of the Housing Committee,
I stand in strong opposition to HB 6633, a legislative proposal that seeks to mandate towns abide by a “Fair Share” concept that has failed in the only state it has been tried and put into practice.
Sadly, that state “shares” other negative traits with Connecticut that has us leading the pack in out-migration and trailing the field in economic growth.
While this proposal would be catastrophic for all 169 municipalities in our wonderful State, my town would be forced to spend almost $1.5 billion in the next decade with no guarantee of affordability nor success. I ask the proponents of the bill to explain how they think towns will afford these price tags, especially when even more head to more tax friendly states that still honor local autonomy.
And worse, the bill would result in municipalities being sued and forced to build at public expense housing when the private sector does not do so, when a municipality does not meet its “Fair Share” allocation, which is not based on market demand or the wishes of state residents, but rather the determination of one branch of state government as informed by housing advocates and organizations. If housing development lobbyists succeed, then towns, especially communities who have high grand lists and are generally economically successful, could be mandated to build new affordable housing that equals up to 20% of total housing stock- which equates to thousands of units. In the case of Greenwich, that would mean over 3300 more housing units!
To contemplate anything that attempts to outlaw single family zoning is beyond baffling. If you are trying to motivate even more Connecticut residents to pack up and leave our state, then this would be a good vehicle to pursue. If that is not the intent, then what else would a proposal like this be designed for?
I would suggest that the good representatives and senators work with all stakeholders to craft meaningful legislation that is pro-growth in nature and not punitive, especially when it comes to taking authority away from a municipality.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Former State Representative, 151st District
Current First Selectman of Greenwich