Home Contributors Fairfield Opinion: FCBJ article on affordable housing falls short

Opinion: FCBJ article on affordable housing falls short

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As a frequent reader of the Westchester and Fairfield County Business Journal, I was disappointed with the recent article “CT Lawmakers Debate Who Should Control Zoning: State or Municipalities?” The piece was both intensely partisan and lacked a focus on what matters to businesses.

Modifying our state laws to better empower local zoning officials to diversify our housing stock is good for the state’s economic growth. How often have we heard business leaders complain about the high cost of living in this state? If we can diversify our housing stock in a responsible way, wouldn’t that actually help businesses?

We also hear so often that young people leave the state after attending college here rather than stay to work with Connecticut businesses. Providing affordable housing choices to young people starting their careers could expand that candidate pool for Connecticut employers.

Instead of providing the perspective of business leaders on these proposals, the Business Journal focused on only the most controversial of at least eight different proposed bills that are being discussed at the State Capitol regarding zoning changes, and described it using largely the criticisms and talking points of Republican legislators.

Even the headline was misleading — there is not a choice between local and state control. The issues are far more nuanced. I would be more interested in a discussion in these pages about how the state can partner with towns to encourage economic growth.

These are concerns that impact the very core of our suburban life. They deserve robust debate that brings in all perspectives, and the Business Journal could have a role to play in facilitating that conversation. However, the published article falls significantly short.

I look forward to hearing more about these issues in the Business Journal, with solid facts, diverse views, and the perspective of Connecticut businesses.

Karen Wackerman is an attorney at Bridgeport firm Pullman & Comley. She is also a member of the Fairfield Representative Town Meeting.

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