Category Archives: Uncategorized

Matt Waggner’s Plan to Protect Affordable Housing in Fairfield

Protecting Fairfield’s affordability — and our neighborhoods
by Matt Waggner
Published in the Fairfield Sun, 5/30/2014

As a candidate for state representative, I often hear from our neighbors that while we value making the town more affordable, we also enjoy the personality of our residential neighborhoods as they are — after all, that’s why we chose to live here!

“McMansions” and inappropriate multi-unit complexes — erected over neighborhood objections — are creating anger and disillusionment among Fairfield residents, while the zoning board lacks the power to limit density until much more of our housing can be counted as affordable under state law.

Fortunately, we can rise to the challenge. As local legislators like Kim Fawcett and Jonathan Steinberg work to increase transit-oriented housing development, I’d like to offer another strategy to meet these affordability goals in a way that protects and strengthens our community.

Because current affordable housing laws only affect zoning decisions, we only ask whether a home or an apartment is affordable when it is being built. But, let’s be realistic: a house will seldom be affordable when it’s new. By making affordability a “new house” problem, the policy is mainly used by developers to evade our Town Plan. We need to have “old houses” in our toolbox to make affordability a productive part of our conversation.

As a legislator, I will offer legislation to empower towns like Fairfield to create “Hometown Character Affordable Housing” ordinances, giving us options to meet our affordable housing obligations with already-existing housing stock, and restore the power to fully regulate density to our zoning commissions. Continue reading

Support for the Fracking Ban Bill (SB 237)

From the Environment Committee public hearing:

Senator Meyer, Representative Gentile, and distinguished members of the Environment Committee,

Thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony in support of SB 237, An Act Prohibiting the Storage or Disposal of Fracking Waste in Connecticut. I’m glad to see your committee participating in the national dialog about energy usage and the environmental and economic costs associated with hydraulic fracturing.

This issue is not a hypothetical one: natural gas is an important part of the state’s revised energy policy, but it’s important to consider the comprehensive costs associated with this energy source to ensure that Connecticut pursues the best strategy to meet our needs in a sustainable way. Ultimately, I believe that the cheapest energy will also be the best for us, as long as the costs to health, environmental stability, and future treatment and cleanup are not left out of the equation. With so much unknown, even about the contents of the chemicals being utilized, establishing a moratorium on this waste is entirely appropriate.

Advancing on this and the related concepts before you will demonstrate Connecticut’s leadership in fracking policy and lay the groundwork for a future comprehensive strategy in collaboration with neighboring states or at the federal level. This is an approach that has worked productively with greenhouse gases via the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and I hope that we can continue to work with like-minded states to continue towards the goal of a sustainable energy economy. Please support SB 237 for passage in this session.