Friday, February 27, 2009

Take Action -- Smart Growth Hearing

Friends, your hard work and dedicated advocacy is making its mark!

On Monday, March 2nd, at 11 AM in Room 2B of the Legislative Office Building, the Planning and Development Committee will hear testimony on bills based on the recommendations of the Smart Growth Working Group and the Governor’s smart growth budget proposals.

Below is a short summary of the bills the committee will consider.  The public hearing process is a beginning step, but a crucial one to successfully changing where and how we develop.

 Please take time to review the bills, then take action.

  • Come tell the committee why these bills are important to you. Testimony should be three minutes long. You can sign up to testify at 10:00. The committee will also accept written testimony. It requests 40 copies of written testimony be delivered to staff by 9:30. If you send your testimony to me by Sunday morning, I’ll compile it and submit it for you.
  • Short of all that, please take time to call or email members of the Planning and Development Committee. Find the list on line at: .
  • Thank them for raising the smart growth bill and scheduling this hearing. Don’t forget to encourage their championship for smart growth going forward!

6463 An Act Concerning Membership on Regional Planning Agencies = Smart Growth Working Group Recommendation

Would require the chief elected official of a city or town be a member of the regional planning agency.

Why does this matter? There is wide support for increasing services delivered and authority granted (including a share of the sales tax, see 6585 below) to regional entities. If regional agencies are to take on wider government responsibilities, they must be directly accountable to voters. Including mayors and first selectmen in the membership would meet that good governance goal.  

6464 An Act Concerning Coordinated Preservation and Development = Smart Growth Working Group Recommendation

Would require the Face of Connecticut Steering Committee screen grant applications for open space and watershed land acquisition, purchase of development rights for farmland, grants for historic preservation, and funds for brownfield remediation for compliance with smart growth principles and notify if the applications were found inconsistent. Inconsistent applications would be denied.

Why does this matter? State resources are limited. We can’t afford investments that aren’t smart and sustainable.   

6465 An Act Concerning Smart Growth and Transportation Planning = Smart Growth Working Group Recommendation

Would require the Transportation Strategy Board to maintain a capital plan for transportation investment that incorporates smart growth principles and to screen transportation projects using a smart growth filter.

Why does this matter? To date, the transportation project list is compiled at the regional level and fails to reflect an overarching transportation vision for the state. State resources are limited. We can’t afford investments that aren’t smart and sustainable. In addition, a capital plan will increase transparency about what is in the transportation project queue, project timelines and specific sources of project funding. 

6466 An Act Concerning Projects of Regional Significance = Smart Growth Working Group Recommendation

This bill defines regional planning organizations. It defines projects of regional significance. And it would enable regional planning organizations to establish a process for combined state, regional and local agencies to conduct pre-application reviews of projects of regional significance.

Why does this matter? Large-scale smart growth projects can involve approvals from myriad offices and agencies, from the local historic commission, to the local zoning commission, to the Department of Environmental Protection, to the State Traffic Commission, to the Connecticut Development Authority. A pre-application review at the regional scale would let developers know what timelines and submission requirements to expect and would let agencies know what they have on deck so applications can be filed more completely, problems identified early on in the process, and approvals expedited.

6467 An Act Concerning Smart Growth and Plans of Conservation and Development = Smart Growth Working Group Recommendation

Defines smart growth as economic, social and environmental development that (1)uses land and resources to enhance the long-term quality of life for current and future generation in the state and promotes (A)integrated planning that coordinates tax, transportation, housing, environmental and economic development policies at the state and local level, (B) the reduction of reliance on the property tax by municipalities by creating efficiencies and coordination of services on the regional level while reducing interlocal competition for grand list growth, (C) the redevelopment of existing infrastructure and resources, including brownfields and historic places, instead of new construction in undeveloped places, (D) transportation choices that provide alternatives to automobiles, including rail, bikeways and walking, while reducing energy consumption, (E) affordable and available housing for mixed income households in close proximity to transportation and employment centers, (F) concentrated, mixed use development around transportation nodes and civic and cultural centers, and (G) the conservation and protection of natural resources by preserving open space, farmland and historic properties and furthering energy efficiency, and (2) is accomplished by a collaborative approach to planning, decision-making and evaluation between and among all levels of government to promote economic competitiveness in the state while preserving natural resources.  

The bill would declare it the policy of the state to address the high financial, social and environmental cost of sprawl through effective smart growth.  It would require the State’s economic development strategy, and conservation and development policies plan, as well as regional and local plans incorporate smart growth.   Finally, this legislation would require the Office of Policy and Management to develop model zoning regulations to be used by zoning commissions that provide for smart growth.

Why does this matter? We plan for what’s important. If passed, in Connecticut we would be planning a smart sustainable future! And we’d provide an important tool to towns to implement that plan.

6585 An Act Concerning Regionalism = Smart Growth Working Group Recommendation

Would give municipalities engaged in regional agreements meeting criteria for regional taxation, economic development, and land use a share of the sales tax.  Would create a grant program for regional planning organizations to facilitate regional agreements.

Why does this matter? Coordinates land use and economic development policy and reduces town’s reliance on the regressive property tax.

6588 An Act Concerning Training For Local Land Use Commissioners = Smart Growth Working Group Recommendation

Would put the Center for Land Use Education and Research at the University of Connecticut in charge of developing land use courses and certification programs for zoning, inland wetland, conservation, planning, and water pollution control commissions.

 6589 An Act Concerning Land Use Appeals  = Smart Growth Working Group Recommendation

Would establish a land use court in each judicial district.

371 An Act Concerning Intermunicipal Cooperation = Smart Growth Working Group Recommendation

Would authorize regional planning organizations to coordinate cooperative agreements among towns

384 An Act Concerning Regionalism  = Smart Growth Working Group Recommendation

Seeks to promote and encourage regionalism among municipalities for the purpose of lowering costs, promoting smart growth, and creating efficiencies for providing certain services.

5544 An Act Concerning Regional Economic Development = Smart Growth Working Group Recommendation

Would enable cooperative agreements between any two or more municipalities.

6387 An Act Concerning the Small Town Economic Assistance Program = Governor’s proposal

Would allow towns to apply jointly for Small Town Economic Assistance Grants.

6388 An Act Providing Mandate relief to Municipalities = Governor’s proposal

Would require a two-thirds General Assembly vote for new requirements on cities and towns if state funding is not provided for the requirements.

6389 An Act Concerning Regionalization = Governor’s proposal  

Would create a new regional grant program that would incent multi-town service sharing and allow for the purchase of capital equipment to provide regional services. 

No comments:

Post a Comment