Wednesday, June 10, 2009

An Act Concerning Smart Growth and the State Conservation and Development Policies Plan

Passed 36 to 0 in the Senate, 143 to 2 in the House in the January to June 2009 Session of the Connecticut General Assembly

This legislation defines smart growth and establishes smart growth principles. It authorizes the Continuing Legislative Committee on State Planning to study the State Plan of Conservation and Development, how the plan is adopted, and the process for integrating smart growth into the plan. The legislation gives the Office of Policy and Management extra time to update the next version of the state’s plan and requires that the plan integrate the Connecticut Climate Change Action Plan.

“Smart Growth” is defined as: economic, social and environmental development that (A) promotes through financial and other incentives, economic competitiveness in the state while preserving natural resources, and (B) utilizes a collaborative approach to planning, decision making, and evaluation between and among all levels of government and the communities and the constituents they serve; and

“Principles of smart growth” means standards and objectives that support and encourage smart growth when used to guide actions and decisions, including, but not limited to, standards and criteria for (A) integrated planning or investment that coordinates tax, transportation, housing, environmental and economic development policies at the state, regional 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 but not limited to brownfields and historic places, (D) transportation choices that provide alternatives to automobiles including rail, public transit, bikeways and walking, while reducing energy consumption, (E) the development or preservation of housing affordable to households of varying income in locations proximate to transportation or employment centers or locations compatible with smart growth, (F) concentrated, mixed-use, mixed income development proximate to transit nodes and civic, employment or cultural centers, and (G) the conservation and protection of natural resources by (i) preserving open space, water resources, farmland, environmentally sensitive areas and historic properties, and (ii) further energy efficiency.

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