2019 Legislative Session
Legislative Summary Handout (pdf)
The regular 2019 session ended Thursday, June 5, 2019.
Bill descriptions adapted from Office of Legislative Research summaries
New Public Acts & Resolutions
PA 19-143 AN ACT CONCERNING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF MUNICIPAL CULTURAL DISTRICTS.
Authorizes municipalities to adopt cultural districts for marketing arts and culture attractions, encouraging artists and artistic and cultural enterprises, and promoting tourism.
PA 19-156 AN ACT EXEMPTING CERTAIN PERSONS ENGAGED IN THE BOARDING OF CATS AND DOGS FROM THE REQUIREMENT TO OBTAIN A LICENSE TO OPERATE A COMMERCIAL KENNEL.
This bill exempts people who board up to three dogs or cats in their residence from having to obtain a commercial kennel license from the Department of Agriculture (DoAg). Current law requires all commercial kennel operators to obtain a license.
PA 19-163 AN ACT ACCELERATING THE DEPLOYMENT OF 5G WIRELESS FACILITIES.
This bill establishes a Council on 5G Technology and tasks it with (1) reviewing wireless carriers’ requests to place personal wireless service facilities and small wireless facilities on state-owned real property and (2) determining which state-owned properties may be made available to the wireless carriers for these facilities. The bill also requires OPM, in consultation with PURA and the Siting Council, to work with municipalities to establish a process for siting small wireless facilities on municipal property and, when using utility or light poles is insufficient, private property with the property owner’s permission.
PA 19-175 AN ACT CONCERNING THE CREATION OF LAND BANK AUTHORITIES.
Authorizes municipalities, either on their own or jointly with other municipalities, to create nonprofit land bank authorities to acquire, maintain, and dispose of real property, except for brownfields (brownfield land banks are authorized by CGA 32-771).
PA 19-92 AN ACT CONCERNING ABANDONED AND BLIGHTED PROPERTY CONSERVATORSHIP.
This bill establishes a mechanism to rehabilitate abandoned properties in municipalities with populations of at least 35,000 by providing that if an owner of a residential, commercial, or industrial building fails to maintain it in accordance with applicable municipal codes, the Superior Court may appoint a receiver to make the necessary improvements. Lienholders and individuals and entities with development capacity may seek to be appointed as the receiver and, once appointed, are granted extensive powers to rehabilitate the property pursuant to a court-approved plan. Once the property is rehabilitated, the court may approve its sale, free of any encumbrances. Unless terminated by the court, a receivership continues even if the property owner sells the property or it is foreclosed by a lender. Appointment of a receiver does not terminate the owner’s debt or environmental obligations related to the property.
HJ 171 RESOLUTION APPROVING THE STATE WATER PLAN
PA 19-77 AN ACT AUTHORIZING MUNICIPAL CLIMATE CHANGE AND COASTAL RESILIENCY RESERVE FUNDS.
Authorizes municipalities to establish reserve funds that can be used to fund payments for property losses and land acquisitions due to climate change.
PA 19-54 AN ACT CONCERNING OPPORTUNITY ZONES.
Requires DECD to conduct various outreach efforts (§§ 6 & 7), allows opportunity zone projects to receive assistance from DECD’s Office of the Permit Ombudsman, and designates DECD’s deputy commissioner as the state’s primary point of contact for all state programs relating to opportunity zones (§ 1). Funding: the act requires that qualifying projects in opportunity zones be given preference for the state historic structure rehabilitation tax credit’s 30% credit, urban and industrial site reinvestment tax credits, and state financial assistance for brownfield remediation (§§ 12 & 13).
PA 19-117 AN ACT CONCERNING THE STATE BUDGET FOR THE BIENNIUM ENDING JUNE THIRTIETH, 2021, AND MAKING APPROPRIATIONS THEREFOR, AND IMPLEMENTING PROVISIONS OF THE BUDGET.
See Partnership for Strong Communities' overview of the budget as it relates to funding for affordable housing.
Budget bill includes language creating the Connecticut Municipal Redevelopment Authority (MRDA) as a quasi-public agency to, among other things, stimulate economic and transit-oriented development. The bill establishes MRDA as a public instrumentality and political subdivision of the state, created to perform an essential public and government function. It is a quasi-public agency, not a state department, institution, or agency, and as such is subject to statutory procedural, operating, and reporting requirements for quasi-public agencies, including lobbying restrictions and the State Code of Ethics.
The bill authorizes MRDA to develop property and manage facilities in development districts encompassing the areas around transit stations and downtowns. Under the bill, and with certain exceptions, members are: 1. municipalities classified by OPM as a designated Tier III or IV municipality (i.e., fiscally distressed municipalities subject to the Municipal Accountability Review Board’s oversight), 2. municipalities with a population of at least 70,000 (as of the last decennial census), if their legislative bodies opt to become members, or 3. two or more municipalities with a combined population of at least 70,000 (as of the last decennial census), if their legislative bodies opt to jointly become members (“joint members”). Each member’s legislative body must appoint a local development board to serve as its liaison to MRDA. Joint-members’ legislative bodies must appoint a board jointly.
- CCAPA opposed this Raised Bill as originally drafted, and urged the Committee to amend the Bill. As originally drafted, municipalities with populations of more than 70,000 could opt in to the proposed Redevelopment Authority. Smaller municipalities were apparently automatically subject to the Authority upon applying for Tier III or Tier IV status, which are finance designations that are not directly connected to the function or purpose of this Authority. We believed that municipalities of all sizes should have the option of joining the Authority and should not be required to join or be automatically made members by statute.
Did Not Pass
HB 6749-- AN ACT TO REORGANIZE THE ZONING ENABLING ACT AND PROMOTE MUNICIPAL COMPLIANCE. To enable zoning commissions and lay people to more easily understand the requirements of section 8-2 of the general statutes and provide an administrative mechanism to promote municipal compliance with said section. Testimony
- Bill was bypassed by Senate on last day of session
SB 1107-- AN ACT CONCERNING THE TERMS OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE CONNECTICUT TRUST FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION AND CONSTRUCTION INVOLVING HISTORIC STRUCTURES. To remove the term limit restriction for members of the board of trustees of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation and to exempt certain plans for new construction that involve a historic structure from provisions concerning the assessment of court costs against the plaintiff.
- Bill was withdrawn
SB 522 – AN ACT CONCERNING ALTERNATE MEMBERS OF PLANNING COMMISSIONS. To permit members of municipal zoning commissions and municipal zoning boards of appeals to serve as alternate members of municipal planning commissions. Testimony
CCAPA supports this Proposed Bill, as narrowly defined. CGS §8-19a refers to municipal planning commissions, and currently prohibits alternate members to be drawn from the membership of the municipal zoning commissions or zoning board of appeals. Opening up alternate membership, as this Bill proposes, to members of the local zoning board of appeals should not create much opportunity for conflict or predisposition on applications, as the jurisdiction of a zoning board of appeals and a planning commission are quite distinct. In communities where the potential volunteer commissioner/board member pool is small, this may help facilitate having a full roster of commissions.
HB 5229 – AN ACT DEFINING ADVERTISING SIGN FOR THE PURPOSES OF MUNICIPAL ZONING REGULATIONS. To authorize municipal zoning commissions to regulate the height, size, location, brightness and illumination of all signs. Testimony
- Revised bill passed out of committee 3/25 which makes the corrections that CCAPA (and others) requested.
HB 5123 - AN ACT PROHIBITING THE USE OF EMINENT DOMAIN FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES. To prohibit state and municipal governments from exercising the use of eminent domain for certain commercial purposes. Testimony
CCAPA opposes this proposed legislation because it is unnecessary and would needlessly restrict the use of eminent domain even when such use would meet the valid “public use” test. Case law supports broad interpretation of “public use” to include development that serves the public benefit (including economic development).
HB 5127 - AN ACT CONCERNING THE ERECTION OF FENCES AND THE PLANTING OF HEDGES AND TREES THAT OBSTRUCT WATER VIEWS. To permit municipalities to regulate the erection of fences and planting of hedges and trees that obstruct a neighbor's water views.
SB 548 - AN ACT CONCERNING COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT AND
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSISTANCE. To (1) require certain municipalities to establish community investment boards and to use a certain percentage of grant funding received through the municipal revenue sharing account and the select payment in lieu of taxes account for the priorities of such boards, (2) require the Office of Policy and Management to establish an Internet web site for the submission of proposals for solutions to urban-area problems and authorize the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management to establish pilot programs to implement certain proposals, and (3) establish a task force to study issues concerning nonprofit providers.
- Failed in Senate
SB 808 AN ACT CONCERNING WORKFORCE HOUSING.
To require the Department of Housing to conduct a study of methods to increase housing options for municipal employees.
HB 7067 AN ACT CONCERNING HOUSING AUTHORITY JURISDICTION.
To allow a housing authority to expand its jurisdiction to include certain high and very high opportunity areas, as determined by the Department of Housing.
HB 6892 AN ACT CONCERNING THE STATE'S CONSOLIDATED PLAN FOR HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT.
To specify certain fair housing goals in the state's consolidated plan for housing and community development and to report progress made toward such goals.
HB 6291 AN ACT CONCERNING PROTECTIONS FOR CERTAIN GROUP CHILD CARE AND FAMILY CHILD CARE HOMES.
To clarify and enforce protections for licensed group child care homes and licensed family child care homes and prevent landlords and certain homeowners associations from placing restrictions on the operation of such homes.
- House passed amendment 5/16
S.B. 1061 AN ACT CONCERNING THE RESTORATION OF FUNDS TO THE COMMUNITY INVESTMENT ACCOUNT.
To restore recent funds cut from the community investment account.
S.B. 1060 AN ACT CONCERNING THE REGULATION OF STORMWATER.
To require the submission of recommendations concerning the requirements of stormwater regulation pursuant to the MS4 permit and the availability of funding sources for the implementation of best practices concerning the management of stormwater by municipalities.
- Senate passed 5/21
H.B. 7348 AN ACT CONCERNING BONDING AUTHORIZATIONS FOR CLEAN WATER FUND PROJECTS.
To increase bonding authorizations for Clean Water Fund projects.
H.B. 5318 AN ACT ESTABLISHING LOCAL REPRESENTATION ON THE CONNECTICUT SITING COUNCIL FOR CERTAIN PROJECTS.
To establish local representation via nonvoting members of the Siting Council for certain projects.
SB 1121-- AN ACT CONCERNING PRIORITIZE PROGRESS.
SB 872-- AN ACT IMPLEMENTING THE GOVERNOR'S BUDGET
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR GENERAL GOVERNMENT.
Died in Committee:
7177-- AN ACT CONCERNING SHORT-TERM RENTAL PROPERTIES
CCAPA opposes this proposed bill, which would force municipalities to hold all zoning, subdivision, and environmental permits active on a property until all such permits have expired.
CCAPA supports this Proposed Bill. It is our understanding, based on Senator Needleman’s testimony, that the intent of this Bill is to move the State into a leadership position in unifying the scattered and disconnected Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data into a common format and database. This intent reflects core goal of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association’s (CCAPA) “Start With Planning” initiative for moving Connecticut forward over the next decade.
CCAPA supports the intention behind HB 5273 to expand the availability of housing near transit but asks for a more effective process to meet those goals.
CCAPA opposes this Proposed Bill. Title 8 of the Connecticut General Statutes provides broad latitude to municipalities in defining, determining, and prioritizing land set aside for “recreational, conservation, and agricultural purposes,” as well as for “open space, parks, and playgrounds” when land is subdivided within those communities. Just as the function of conservation or park lands may vary widely from town to city, the local need or priority for this land – as expressed in the municipal Plan of Conservation & Development – may also be quite wide-ranging. The Proposed Bill seeks to eliminate a municipality’s flexibility when it comes to how it calculates and incentivizes proposed open space in cluster developments (as defined in CGS §8-18).