Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy has proposed the creation of a statewide transit agency that would oversee transit station area development and would have the authority to exercise eminent domain. The Governor’s proposed legislation to establish the Connecticut Transit Corridor Development Authority may be found here. The proposal has generated stiff opposition by municipal leaders who fear their communities will lose local land use authority in the station areas (see recent editorial here and article here). According to one recent news article (see here), state legislators quickly proposed amendments to the bill eliminate eminent domain authority, require the agency to enter into a memorandum of understanding with host communities regarding transit projects, allow municipalities to opt out of an authority project, ensure local zoning rules are followed and provide a municipality’s chief elected official with a vote on the agency’s 11-member, politically appointed board.
Opposition to the proposed legislation from municipal officials is understandable given the primary role of communities in land use regulation. That said, the legislation is important because it is creating a regional dialogue about the need for collaborative planning and zoning along transit corridors where the state is investing significant funds to expand transit infrastructure (see CTFastrak and New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Rail Program). One such editorial has recognized the need for this legislation (see editorial here). As David Kooris, the Director of the Office of Planning and Economic Development for the City of Bridgeport has previously written, “Success will be achieved when the region looks holistically at its transit corridors and plans multiple station areas together with complementary land uses to create a functioning ecosystem of neighborhoods and commercial centers stitched together by commuter rail” (see article here).
We will continue to follow this story here at the TOD LINE.