Did Ryan Fazio ...
Just Save Greenwich?

This happened Wednesday.

You need to know this story of heroics in Hartford, starring our own State Senator Ryan Fazio.

 

Ryan Fazio, a town native, represents Greenwich, and he takes the concerns of residents very seriously. One extremely consequential issue is our right to determine the characteristics of our own hometown... also known as zoning laws.

But the politicians of Hartford have other plans for our beautiful Greenwich.

Last week, as their legislative session came to a close, Hartford Democrats passed HB5390 — the Transit Oriented Development bill — which would push town zoning towards allowing developers to develop anything they want in neighborhoods around train and bus stations.

HB5390 was proposed by a developer-backed group called Desegregate Connecticut. It pushes municipalities to designate areas near train or bus stations as places where developers can build structures of up to nine units, regardless of local zoning. Worse, if the builder promises to set aside 30% of the units as “affordable housing,” the buildings can go as big as the developer wants. 10 stories? No problem

Imagine serene Greenwich neighborhoods like Cos Cob, Old Greenwich, Riverside, even Belle Haven and the Avenue, dominated by multi-story apartment buildings, parking garages, and alleyways — hyper-dense and unrecognizable.

Towns that refuse to hand their central neighborhoods over to greedy developers would be cut off from billions of dollars in state funding — money Greenwich already pays way more into than we ever get back.

The bill explicitly bribes towns with billions of dollars into radically changing their zoning in a giveaway to developers. It could turn Cos Cob, Riverside, and Old Greenwich totally on their heads. — JERRY CINCOTTA, GREENWICH RTC CHAIR

Here’s the really infuriating part.

After promising to protect local zoning while they were campaigning, Greenwich’s state reps — Democrats Steve Meskers, Rachel Khanna, and Hector Arzeno — did a one-eighty and threw their support behind HB5390. They voted along with their Democrat leadership in the House to pass HB5390. It then headed to the Democrat-dominated State Senate, where it would pass easily. Our town’s scenic, orderly, and historic neighborhoods were doomed.

Sen. Fazio Singlehandedly Derailed the Railroading of Greenwich

The Hartford Democrats who control the state Senate scheduled their final votes for the last day of the session, a trick they use to ram through all the extras they tuck into legislation because time is too short to argue.

Ryan Fazio outsmarted them by using their tactic against them.

He telegraphed to Senate leadership that he would filibuster HB5390 in the closing days of the annual legislative session. This would effectively stop all other legislation from moving forward, which included lots of things Democrats really wanted.

He wasn’t bluffing, either: he had prepared for that moment for weeks, gathering information about the effects of the bill. Fazio worked with the Council on Small Towns and CT 169 Strong, arming himself with enough information to run out the clock on all the other things Hartford senators wanted to pass.

In the face of Sen. Fazio’s determined leadership, Senate Democrats gave in. They jettisoned HB5390 from the agenda.

This last-minute save was much too close for comfort.

Sen. Ryan Fazio is the only thing standing between Greenwich and Hartford’s radical social planners and their developer allies. If you see him, take a moment to thank him for working so hard to preserve our town. 

 

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