Meskers, Khana, Arzeno Break Trust on Local Control

Meskers, Khana, Arzeno Break Trust on Local Control 

To the Editor:

Greenwich Democrat state Reps. Arzeno, Khanna, and Meskers promised over and over to support local control of zoning in their campaigns so they could get elected. However, they just voted with Democrat Hartford legislators in a party line vote to betray our town by taking away more of our local control by supporting passage of HB5390, Desegregate CT’s Transit Oriented Development bill.

The legislation pushes towns and cities to adopt “as of right” development near train and bus stations up to 9 units per building and any development 10 units or above and has 30% affordable units—and without customary environmental reviews. If a town does not agree to such an aggressive zoning plan, they lose priority for billions of state funding. It’s an “offer towns can’t refuse” so developers can get everything they want.

The funding tied to this aggressive zoning includes billions of dollars that are expended under “Urban Act” funds and “STEAP” Grants, which are major funding buckets that now will be prioritized to the towns with pro-developer zoning. Money in the state is limited which could turn off funding for Greenwich if our town doesn’t comply with the major pro-developer zoning.

On the other hand, Greenwich and other towns could try to keep the money by making major zoning changes. By allowing large apartment developments in “transit” areas. This could turn single family neighborhoods like Cos Cob, Belle Haven, Riverside, Old Greenwich into developer dreams with mid-sized and large apartment complexes where there are currently single-family homes and remake historic Greenwich neighborhoods.

Reps. Arzeno, Khanna, and Meskers promised again and again and again on the campaign trail over the years that they support “local control.” It turns out that was just lip service. When the Democrat bosses in the legislature pressured them, they buckled and voted for an anti-local control bill—the biggest one to pass the House in the last six years since Greenwich sent Meskers to Hartford.

 They have misled the public about why they voted for the bill. CT 169 Strong, the preeminent nonpartisan nonprofit organization in the state focused on defending local control of town’s decision making, adamantly opposed the bill and the Council on Small Towns opposed the bill. 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.

Greenwich Democrats Arzeno, Khanna, and Meskers broke their biggest promise violating their trust with voters.Voters should vote them out of office in November.

Jerry Cincotta

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