The Connecticut Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released an interim advisory memorandum on zoning practices in Connecticut. In December, the Committee began an investigation into whether zoning practices in Connecticut perpetuate segregation in the state.
The Committee issues this memorandum to draw the attention to HB 5204, which is being considered by the Connecticut General Assembly. HB 5204, “An Act Concerning a Needs Assessment and Fair Share Plans for Municipalities,” would require a statewide assessment of affordable housing needs by planning regions and municipalities.
The Committee believes that HB 5204 advances the state in addressing the racial segregation of Connecticut’s communities. The requirement that all municipalities be responsible for their fair share of affordable housing would not only alleviate the responsibility currently being supported by Connecticut’s cities but may work toward ending the practices that perpetuate housing segregation. The Committee notes that there is not enough affordable housing in the state, which will only worsen as the state’s population continues to grow. When creating affordable housing, policymakers should make a conscious effort to consider and evaluate racial impact to ensure there is fair housing. The goal of legislative efforts should be to reduce segregation and further integration.
“Through our briefings the Committee learned that Connecticut is one of the most racially segregated states in the nation,” said David McGuire, chair of the Advisory Committee. “By advancing this bill the legislature is acknowledging Connecticut’s zoning system exacerbates racial segregation and is poised to take a step towards righting a wrong.”
The Committee intends to submit a more comprehensive report, including formal findings and recommendations, this summer to the Commission on Civil Rights, state leadership, and Connecticut legislature.