Letter: Shelton Alderman opposes any legislation that eliminates zoning “home rule”

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 Editor:

The City of Shelton belongs to the CCM (Connecticut Conference of Municipalities) whose membership contains 168 of 169 of the towns and cities in Connecticut. They monitor and actually will promote — or in this case, intercede — to discourage or change legislation which might be harmful or detrimental to Shelton's economy or autonomy.

On March 11, the Shelton BoA along with P&Z Chair Virginia Harger and the zoning administrative staff had the pleasure and discomfort of listening to the CCM CEO and his staff with regard to newly proposed state legislation. If passed, the proposed legislation would begin to remove "home rule" with regard to the placement and number of affordable housing units required in any one area/zone. I am not in favor of any further state or federal intervention in our city's land use decisions and, as I stated during the meeting, that the housing market should dictate the needs rather than any government body.

The CCM CEO was very direct when asked why this type of legislation is so prevalent this year and so bold in its content and focus on removing home rule. He pointed out that this very progressive agenda was directly attributable to and the result of the results from the November 2020 election. Elections do have consequences and everyone needs to participate to direct their legislators across the state to focus on problems like a $60 billion unfunded pension deficit and not any towns’ P&Z issues.

The meeting began with a short review of and discussion concerning House Bill 804 which, as proposed, contains elements which our Shelton P&Z Commission and staff are already aware of and addressing. This bill as proposed is still more overreach by the state government with more actions directing and controlling our P&Z. The fear as Mayor (Mark) Lauretti immediately picked up on and pointed out is that many times at the end of the session, aggressive and progressive amendments are added to legislation and they require even more scrutiny when most legislators are getting ready to leave Hartford.

The second and more critical legislation is HB 1064 which could remove "home rule" from every city and town in Connecticut. This proposed bill could force a city to allow housing projects with affordable living in single family home areas. So the "hard earned money" that you have paid for a private home, which you keep up and pay taxes on and almost three times its cost to a banking or lending institution may suddenly drop in value. Not something I particularly want to happen to anyone’s home equity.

Please take the time to contact the offices of our three legislators, state Reps. Jason Perillo and Ben McGorty and state Sen. Kevin Kelly and ask them to vote accordingly to avoid any government agency, commission or board overseeing land use in Shelton or anywhere else in the state. If you have friends, family and coworkers in other parts of the state, please ask them to contact their elected officials in Hartford to discuss this matter also.

If you believe, as I do, that less government is better, be assured we are on a slippery slope to being over regulated when state legislators from areas miles from Shelton are demanding we turn over our land use and building decisions to persons that don't live, work, play or raise their families in our city.

Anthony F. Simonetti