To the Editor:
Recently, Republicans have claimed that Democrats are not protecting Greenwich from state housing mandates. Further, there have been absurd allegations that if Democrats are elected, they will build “skyscrapers” in our backyards.
This rhetoric is not only inflammatory, it’s untrue.
In the last legislative session, your three Democratic state representatives spoke out, worked behind the scenes, and voted against two onerous state bills that would have required towns like Greenwich to add a lot more density than our town residents would like or our infrastructure could handle. We do not want to lose the historic feel of our town.
The fact is, Greenwich needs more housing for our seniors, our graduates, and our working men and women, like our teachers and first responders. Renting in Greenwich is so expensive because there are not enough homes to meet demand from middle-income earners or seniors on a fixed income.
Further, until 10% of our total housing meets the definition of affordable, Greenwich will continue to be subject to a burdensome state law called 8-30g. This statute allows developers to bypass local zoning departments and build as large as they want, as long as 30% of the units are deemed affordable. Although this law was passed 34 years ago, Greenwich has made little progress. In fact, in the last 21 years, Greenwich has only increased its affordable housing stock by 1.3%. At this rate, we will not meet the 10% threshold until the year 2093!
Greenwich needs leaders with vision who will shepherd development of moderately priced housing; doing it in a way that preserves our local autonomy – on our own terms.
The upcoming elections are for town leadership. The people you elect this November 7th do not vote on state zoning laws – as your state representatives, we do. We will keep fighting to preserve local control. To make our case the most effective, we need partners in Greenwich town government who will make progress on building affordable housing – unfortunately, our current town leaders are failing to deliver.
State Rep. Rachel Khanna, District 149
State Rep. Steve Meskers, District 150
State Rep. Hector Arzeno, District 151