Letter: Local officials stand up for your zoning rights

Below is a Letter to the Editor from this week's Shelton Herald. If you'd like to have a letter to the editor run next week, email letters to brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com

Below is a Letter to the Editor from this week's Shelton Herald. If you'd like to have a letter to the editor run next week, email letters to brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com

Contributed photo

To the Editors:

Last week, the Planning and Development Committee advanced two bills that would completely upend the ability of Shelton and other towns to manage their local zoning. Unsurprisingly, it was decided along party lines with all 17 Democrats on the committee voting in favor of removing public input and accountability from town land use and development decisions.

I applaud the Shelton Board of Aldermen and Shelton P&Z Chair Virginia Harger for speaking out against these bills. Allowing Hartford to mismanage local zoning the same way they have mismanaged the state's finances would only end in disaster. As a legislature, we should reject any proposals that would take these decisions away from voters and put them in the hands of unelected Hartford bureaucrats.

As Democratic lawmakers forced through legislation that would deny public input in local zoning proceedings, the Zoom public hearing process effectively prevented many members of the public from making their opposition to those bills known. In a March 15 public hearing on several proposals targeting local zoning, Virginia Harger and around 100 other participants waited 24 hours for their turn to testify, only to have the hearing abruptly concluded with little to no warning.

Instead of tearing down the local zoning process that preserves each town's unique character, I believe we should be empowering people to make long-term financial plans that open greater housing options up to them. As a member of the Banking Committee, I voted in favor of a bill to establish a First-Time Homebuyer Savings Account Program, encouraging individuals to take the necessary steps towards buying their first home.

As the 2021 legislative session continues, know that I will be a strong 'no' vote against this attempt to take local zoning control away from our town.

Ben McGorty

State representative

122nd District