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Everything Easton 2/15/24 - Protect the Watershed!

You may have seen or heard about a proposal to exempt communities that are mainly watersheds from the state's 8-30g statute. There are a lot of details and nuances to the concept and many have tried to offer clear explanations. Here's my attempt to make it as simple as possible: this proposal would prevent developers from having an automatic means to appeal local zoning decisions that deny high-density housing in municipalities that are more than 70 percent watershed. 

Water from watershed areas flows into the reservoirs, which serve as the water supply for communities throughout the region. This is about protecting a necessary natural resource, and Easton is one of 14 towns in Connecticut that meet the 70 percent watershed threshold.

This is not about opposition to affordable housing, which is part of the 8-30g statute. It's about eliminating a means to circumvent local zoning. Towns, like Easton, use low-impact development as one way to help protect the watershed. Providing the exemption recognizes the importance of local control not only to the watershed community, but to those around it.

Easton's State Senator Tony Hwang and State Representative Tony Scott introduced this bill concept, but it needs to be raised as a bill by the state legislature's Housing Committee for the conversation to continue. The Housing Committee met today and raised several bills. This was not one of them. The committee meets again next Thursday, February 22nd, which will be the final opportunity for the Housing Committee to raise new bills before their deadline at the end of the month.

What can you do? Continue to reach out to state lawmakers over the next week, letting them know you support this concept. This is a bipartisan, regional issue. 

Our neighbors have made it easy. Follow this link where you'll find a letter you can copy and paste, as well as a list of email addresses to send it to. Thank you to the many people who have already shared their support.

Now is the time to act. Please join me in this effort.



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