Connecticut Seal

Substitute House Bill No. 7090

Public Act No. 07-239

AN ACT CONCERNING RESPONSIBLE GROWTH.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (Effective from passage) There is established a Responsible Growth Task Force. The task force shall be comprised of the following members: (1) The Commissioners of Agriculture, Economic and Community Development, Environmental Protection, Public Health and Transportation and the executive directors of the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, Connecticut Development Authority, Connecticut Innovations, Inc. and Commission on Culture and Tourism and the president of the Office of Workforce Competitiveness, or their respective designees, (2) one member appointed by the Governor who is a current or former chief elected official or city or town manager from a municipality with a population in excess of twenty-five thousand on the date of appointment, (3) one member appointed by the Governor who is a current or former chief elected official or city or town manager from a municipality with a population of less than twenty-five thousand on the date of appointment, and (4) six members appointed as follows: One each by the speaker of the House of Representatives, the president pro tempore of the Senate, the majority leader of the Senate, the majority leader of the House of Representatives, the minority leader of the Senate and the minority leader of the House of Representatives. The Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, or the secretary's designee, shall be a member and the chairperson of the task force.

(b) The task force shall identify responsible growth criteria to help guide the state's future investment decisions, study land use laws, policies and programs, including laws, policies and programs concerning the transfer of development rights.

(c) Not later than February 15, 2008, the task force shall submit a report containing its recommendations to the Governor. The task force shall terminate on the date that it submits such report or February 15, 2008, whichever is earlier.

Sec. 2. Subsection (a) of section 16a-31 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2007):

(a) The following actions when undertaken by any state agency, with state or federal funds, shall be consistent with the plan:

(1) The acquisition of real property when the acquisition costs are in excess of [one] two hundred thousand dollars;

(2) The development or improvement of real property when the development costs are in excess of [one] two hundred thousand dollars;

(3) The acquisition of public transportation equipment or facilities when the acquisition costs are in excess of [one] two hundred thousand dollars; and

(4) The authorization of each state grant, any application for which is not pending on July 1, 1991, for an amount in excess of [one] two hundred thousand dollars, for the acquisition or development or improvement of real property or for the acquisition of public transportation equipment or facilities.

Sec. 3. Section 8-23 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2010):

(a) (1) At least once every ten years, the commission shall prepare or amend and shall adopt a plan of conservation and development for the municipality. Following adoption, the commission shall regularly review and maintain such plan. The commission may adopt such geographical, functional or other amendments to the plan or parts of the plan, in accordance with the provisions of this section, as it deems necessary. The commission may, at any time, prepare, amend and adopt plans for the redevelopment and improvement of districts or neighborhoods which, in its judgment, contain special problems or opportunities or show a trend toward lower land values.

(2) If a plan is not amended decennially, the chief elected official of the municipality shall submit a letter to the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management and the Commissioners of Transportation, Environmental Protection and Economic and Community Development that explains why such plan was not amended. A copy of such letter shall be included in each application by the municipality for discretionary funding submitted to any state agency.

(b) Until the plan is amended in accordance with this subsection [, a copy of such letter shall be included in each application by the municipality for funding for the conservation or development of real property submitted to said secretary or commissioners] the municipality shall be ineligible for discretionary state funding unless such prohibition is expressly waived by the secretary.

[(b)] (c) In the preparation of such plan, the commission may appoint one or more special committees to develop and make recommendations for the plan. The membership of any special committee may include: Residents of the municipality and representatives of local boards dealing with zoning, inland wetlands, conservation, recreation, education, public works, finance, redevelopment, general government and other municipal functions. In performing its duties under this section, the commission or any special committee may accept information from any source or solicit input from any organization or individual. The commission or any special committee may hold public informational meetings or organize other activities to inform residents about the process of preparing the plan.

[(c)] (d) In preparing such plan, the commission or any special committee shall consider the following: (1) The community development action plan of the municipality, if any, (2) the need for affordable housing, (3) the need for protection of existing and potential public surface and ground drinking water supplies, (4) the use of cluster development and other development patterns to the extent consistent with soil types, terrain and infrastructure capacity within the municipality, (5) the state plan of conservation and development adopted pursuant to chapter 297, (6) the regional plan of development adopted pursuant to section 8-35a, (7) physical, social, economic and governmental conditions and trends, (8) the needs of the municipality including, but not limited to, human resources, education, health, housing, recreation, social services, public utilities, public protection, transportation and circulation and cultural and interpersonal communications, (9) the objectives of energy-efficient patterns of development, the use of solar and other renewable forms of energy and energy conservation, and (10) protection and preservation of agriculture.

[(d)] (e) (1) Such plan of conservation and development shall (A) be a statement of policies, goals and standards for the physical and economic development of the municipality, (B) provide for a system of principal thoroughfares, parkways, bridges, streets, sidewalks, multipurpose trails and other public ways as appropriate, (C) be designed to promote, with the greatest efficiency and economy, the coordinated development of the municipality and the general welfare and prosperity of its people and identify areas where it is feasible and prudent (i) to have compact, transit accessible, pedestrian-oriented mixed use development patterns and land reuse, and (ii) to promote such development patterns and land reuse, (D) recommend the most desirable use of land within the municipality for residential, recreational, commercial, industrial, conservation and other purposes and include a map showing such proposed land uses, (E) recommend the most desirable density of population in the several parts of the municipality, (F) note any inconsistencies with the following growth management principles: (i) Redevelopment and revitalization of commercial centers and areas of mixed land uses with existing or planned physical infrastructure; (ii) expansion of housing opportunities and design choices to accommodate a variety of household types and needs; (iii) concentration of development around transportation nodes and along major transportation corridors to support the viability of transportation options and land reuse; (iv) conservation and restoration of the natural environment, cultural and historical resources and existing farmlands; (v) protection of environmental assets critical to public health and safety; and (vi) integration of planning across all levels of government to address issues on a local, regional and state-wide basis, (G) make provision for the development of housing opportunities, including opportunities for multifamily dwellings, consistent with soil types, terrain and infrastructure capacity, for all residents of the municipality and the planning region in which the municipality is located, as designated by the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management under section 16a-4a, (H) promote housing choice and economic diversity in housing, including housing for both low and moderate income households, and encourage the development of housing which will meet the housing needs identified in the housing plan prepared pursuant to section 8-37t and in the housing component and the other components of the state plan of conservation and development prepared pursuant to chapter 297. In preparing such plan the commission shall consider focusing development and revitalization in areas with existing or planned physical infrastructure.

(2) For any municipality that is contiguous to Long Island Sound, such plan shall be (A) consistent with the municipal coastal program requirements of sections 22a-101 to 22a-104, inclusive, (B) made with reasonable consideration for restoration and protection of the ecosystem and habitat of Long Island Sound, and (C) designed to reduce hypoxia, pathogens, toxic contaminants and floatable debris in Long Island Sound.

[(e)] (f) Such plan may show the commission's and any special committee's recommendation for (1) conservation and preservation of traprock and other ridgelines, (2) airports, parks, playgrounds and other public grounds, (3) the general location, relocation and improvement of schools and other public buildings, (4) the general location and extent of public utilities and terminals, whether publicly or privately owned, for water, sewerage, light, power, transit and other purposes, (5) the extent and location of public housing projects, (6) programs for the implementation of the plan, including (A) a schedule, (B) a budget for public capital projects, (C) a program for enactment and enforcement of zoning and subdivision controls, building and housing codes and safety regulations, (D) plans for implementation of affordable housing, (E) plans for open space acquisition and greenways protection and development, and (F) plans for corridor management areas along limited access highways or rail lines, designated under section 16a-27, (7) proposed priority funding areas, and (8) any other recommendations as will, in the commission's or any special committee's judgment, be beneficial to the municipality. The plan may include any necessary and related maps, explanatory material, photographs, charts or other pertinent data and information relative to the past, present and future trends of the municipality.

[(f)] (g) (1) A plan of conservation and development or any part thereof or amendment thereto prepared by the commission or any special committee shall be reviewed, and may be amended, by the commission prior to scheduling at least one public hearing on adoption.

(2) At least sixty-five days prior to the public hearing on adoption, the commission shall submit a copy of such plan or part thereof or amendment thereto for review and comment to the legislative body or, in the case of a municipality for which the legislative body of the municipality is a town meeting or representative town meeting, to the board of selectmen. The legislative body or board of selectmen, as the case may be, may hold one or more public hearings on the plan and shall endorse or reject such entire plan or part thereof or amendment and may submit comments and recommended changes to the commission. The commission may render a decision on the plan without the report of such body or board.

(3) At least thirty-five days prior to the public hearing on adoption, the commission shall post the plan on the Internet web site of the municipality, if any.

(4) At least sixty-five days prior to the public hearing on adoption, the commission shall submit a copy of such plan or part thereof or amendment thereto to the regional planning agency for review and comment. The regional planning agency shall submit an advisory report along with its comments to the commission at or before the hearing. Such comments shall include a finding on the consistency of the plan with (A) the regional plan of development, adopted under section 8-35a, (B) the state plan of conservation and development, adopted pursuant to chapter 297, and (C) the plans of conservation and development of other municipalities in the area of operation of the regional planning agency. The commission may render a decision on the plan without the report of the regional planning agency.

(5) At least thirty-five days prior to the public hearing on adoption, the commission shall file in the office of the town clerk a copy of such plan or part thereof or amendment thereto but, in the case of a district commission, such commission shall file such information in the offices of both the district clerk and the town clerk.

(6) The commission shall cause to be published in a newspaper having a general circulation in the municipality, at least twice at intervals of not less than two days, the first not more than fifteen days, or less than ten days, and the last not less than two days prior to the date of each such hearing, notice of the time and place of any such public hearing. Such notice shall make reference to the filing of such draft plan in the office of the town clerk, or both the district clerk and the town clerk, as the case may be.

[(g)] (h) (1) After completion of the public hearing, the commission may revise the plan and may adopt the plan or any part thereof or amendment thereto by a single resolution or may, by successive resolutions, adopt parts of the plan and amendments thereto.

(2) Any plan, section of a plan or recommendation in the plan that is not endorsed in the report of the legislative body or, in the case of a municipality for which the legislative body is a town meeting or representative town meeting, by the board of selectmen, of the municipality may only be adopted by the commission by a vote of not less than two-thirds of all the members of the commission.

(3) Upon adoption by the commission, any plan or part thereof or amendment thereto shall become effective at a time established by the commission, provided notice thereof shall be published in a newspaper having a general circulation in the municipality prior to such effective date.

(4) Not more than thirty days after adoption, any plan or part thereof or amendment thereto shall be posted on the Internet web site of the municipality, if any, and shall be filed in the office of the town clerk, except that, if it is a district plan or amendment, it shall be filed in the offices of both the district and town clerks.

(5) Not more than sixty days after adoption of the plan, the commission shall submit a copy of the plan to the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management and shall include with such copy a description of any inconsistency between the plan adopted by the commission and the state plan of conservation and development and the reasons therefor.

[(h)] (i) Any owner or tenant, or authorized agent of such owner or tenant, of real property or buildings thereon located in the municipality may submit a proposal to the commission requesting a change to the plan of conservation and development. Such proposal shall be submitted in writing and on a form prescribed by the commission. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of section 8-7d, the commission shall review and may approve, modify and approve or reject the proposal in accordance with the provisions of subsection [(f)] (g) of this section.

Sec. 4. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) On or before July 1, 2009, and every five years thereafter, the Commissioner of Economic and Community Development, within available appropriations, shall prepare an economic strategic plan for the state in consultation with the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, the Commissioners of Environmental Protection and Transportation, the Labor Commissioner, the executive directors of the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, the Connecticut Development Authority, the Connecticut Innovations, Inc. , the Commission on Culture and Tourism and the Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority, and the president of the Office of Workforce Competitiveness, or their respective designees, and any other agencies the Commissioner of Economic and Community Development deems appropriate.

(b) In developing the plan, the Commissioner of Economic and Community Development shall:

(1) Ensure that the plan is consistent with (A) the text and locational guide map of the state plan of conservation and development, adopted pursuant to chapter 297 of the general statutes, (B) the long-range state housing plan, adopted pursuant to section 8-37t of the general statutes, and (C) the transportation strategy adopted pursuant to section 13b-57g of the general statutes;

(2) Consult regional councils of governments, regional planning organizations, regional economic development agencies, interested state and local officials, entities involved in economic and community development, stakeholders and business, economic, labor, community and housing organizations;

(3) Consider (A) regional economic, community and housing development plans, and (B) applicable state and local workforce investment strategies;

(4) Assess and evaluate the economic development challenges and opportunities of the state and against the economic development competitiveness of other states and regions; and

(5) Host regional forums to provide for public involvement in the planning process.

(c) The strategic plan required under this section shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

(1) A review and evaluation of the economy of the state. Such review and evaluation shall include, but not be limited to, a sectoral analysis, housing market and housing affordability analysis, labor market and labor quality analysis, demographic analysis and include historic trend analysis and projections;

(2) A review and analysis of factors, issues and forces that impact or impede economic development and responsible growth in Connecticut and its constituent regions. Such factors, issues or forces shall include, but not be limited to, transportation, including, but not limited to, commuter transit, rail and barge freight, technology transfer, brownfield remediation and development, health care delivery and costs, early education, primary education, secondary and post secondary education systems and student performance, business regulation, labor force quality and sustainability, social services costs and delivery systems, affordable and workforce housing cost and availability, land use policy, emergency preparedness, taxation, availability of capital and energy costs and supply;

(3) Identification and analysis of economic clusters that are growing or declining within the state;

(4) An analysis of targeted industry sectors in the state that (A) identifies those industry sectors that are of current or future importance to the growth of the state's economy and to its global competitive position, (B) identifies what those industry sectors need for continued growth, and (C) identifies, those industry sectors current and potential impediments to growth;

(5) A review and evaluation of the economic development structure in the state, including, but not limited to, (A) a review and analysis of the past and current economic, community and housing development structures, budgets and policies, efforts and responsibilities of its constituent parts in Connecticut; and (B) an analysis of the performance of the current economic, community and housing development structure, and its individual constituent parts, in meeting its statutory obligations, responsibilities and mandates and their impact on economic development and responsible growth in Connecticut;

(6) Establishment and articulation of a vision for Connecticut that identifies where the state should be in five, ten, fifteen and twenty years;

(7) Establishment of clear and measurable goals and objectives for the state and regions, to meet the short and long-term goals established under this section and provide clear steps and strategies to achieve said goals and objectives, including, but not limited to, the following: (A) The promotion of economic development and opportunity, (B) the fostering of effective transportation access and choice including the use of airports and ports for economic development, (C) enhancement and protection of the environment, (D) maximization of the effective development and use of the workforce consistent with applicable state or local workforce investment strategy, (E) promotion of the use of technology in economic development, including access to high-speed telecommunications, and (F) the balance of resources through sound management of physical development;

(8) Prioritization of goals and objectives established under this section;

(9) Establishment of relevant measures that clearly identify and quantify (A) whether a goal and objective is being met at the state, regional, local and private sector level, and (B) cause and effect relationships, and provides a clear and replicable measurement methodology;

(10) Recommendations on how the state can best achieve goals under the strategic plan and provide cost estimates for implementation of the plan and the projected return on investment for those areas; and

(11) Any other responsible growth information that the commissioner deems appropriate.

(d) On or before July 1, 2009, and every five years thereafter, the Commissioner of Economic and Community Development shall submit an economic development strategic plan for the state to the Governor for approval. The Governor shall review and approve or disapprove such plan not more than sixty days after submission. The plan shall be effective upon approval by the Governor or sixty days after the date of submission.

(e) Upon approval, the commissioner shall submit the economic development strategic plan to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to commerce, planning and development, appropriations and the budgets of state agencies and finance, revenue and bonding. Not later than thirty days after such submission, the commissioner shall post the plan on the web site of the Department of Economic and Community Development.

(f) The commissioner from time to time, may revise and update the strategic plan upon approval of the Governor. The commissioner shall post any such revisions on the web site of the Department of Economic and Community Development.

Sec. 5. Section 4-124d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2007):

The council shall consider such matters of a public nature common to two or more members of the council as it deems appropriate, including matters affecting transportation and the health, safety, welfare, education and economic conditions of the area comprised by its members. The council shall promote cooperative arrangements and coordinate action among its members and make recommendations therefor to the members and such other public agencies as exist or perform functions within the region or regions.

Sec. 6. Section 8-35a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2007):

(a) At least once every ten years, each regional planning agency shall make a plan of development for its area of operation, showing its recommendations for the general use of the area including land use, housing, principal highways and freeways, bridges, airports, parks, playgrounds, recreational areas, schools, public institutions, public utilities, agriculture and such other matters as, in the opinion of the agency, will be beneficial to the area. Any regional plan so developed shall be based on studies of physical, social, economic and governmental conditions and trends and shall be designed to promote with the greatest efficiency and economy the coordinated development of its area of operation and the general welfare and prosperity of its people. Such plan may encourage energy-efficient patterns of development, the use of solar and other renewable forms of energy, and energy conservation. Such plan shall be designed to promote abatement of the pollution of the waters and air of the region. The regional plan shall identify areas where it is feasible and prudent (1) to have compact, transit accessible, pedestrian-oriented mixed use development patterns and land reuse, and (2) to promote such development patterns and land reuse and shall note any inconsistencies with the following growth management principles: (A) Redevelopment and revitalization of regional centers and areas of mixed land uses with existing or planned physical infrastructure; (B) expansion of housing opportunities and design choices to accommodate a variety of household types and needs; (C) concentration of development around transportation nodes and along major transportation corridors to support the viability of transportation options and land reuse; (D) conservation and restoration of the natural environment, cultural and historical resources and traditional rural lands; (E) protection of environmental assets critical to public health and safety; and (F) integration of planning across all levels of government to address issues on a local, regional and state-wide basis. The plan of each region contiguous to Long Island Sound shall be designed to reduce hypoxia, pathogens, toxic contaminants and floatable debris in Long Island Sound.

(b) Before adopting the regional plan of development or any part thereof or amendment thereto the agency shall hold at least one public hearing thereon, notice of the time, place and subject of which shall be given in writing to the chief executive officer and planning commission, where one exists, of each member town, city or borough. Notice of the time, place and subject of such hearing shall be published once in a newspaper having a substantial circulation in the region. At least sixty-five days before the public hearing the regional planning agency shall post the plan on the Internet web site of the agency, if any, and submit the plan to the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management for findings in the form of comments and recommendations. Such findings shall include a review of the plan to determine if the proposed regional plan of development is not inconsistent with the state plan of conservation and development and the state economic strategic plan. Such notices shall be given not more than twenty days nor less than ten days before such hearing. The regional planning agency shall note on the record any inconsistency with the state plan of conservation and development and the reasons for such inconsistency. Adoption of the plan or part thereof or amendment thereto shall be made by the affirmative vote of not less than a majority of the representatives on the agency. The plan shall be posted on the Internet web site of the agency, if any, and a copy of the plan or of any amendments thereto, signed by the chairman of the agency, shall be transmitted to the chief executive officers, the town, city or borough clerks, as the case may be, and to planning commissions, if any, in member towns, cities or boroughs, and to the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, or his designee. The regional planning agency shall notify the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management of any inconsistency with the state plan of conservation and development and the reasons therefor.

(c) The regional planning agency shall revise the plan of development not more than three years after July 1, 2005.

(d) The regional planning agency shall assist municipalities within its region and state agencies and may assist other public and private agencies in developing and carrying out any regional plan or plans of such regional planning agency. The regional planning agency may provide administrative, management, technical or planning assistance to municipalities within its region and other public agencies under such terms as it may determine, provided, prior to entering into an agreement for assistance to any municipality or other public agency, the regional planning agency shall have adopted a policy governing such assistance. The regional planning agency may be compensated by the municipality or other public agency with which an agreement for assistance has been made for all or part of the cost of such assistance.

Sec. 7. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2007) (a) The Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management shall, within available appropriations, conduct a review of (1) regional tax-based revenue sharing programs, and (2) the establishment of regional asset districts. The review under subdivision (1) of this subsection shall include, but not be limited to, a study of any available models of such revenue sharing programs, the adaptations that may be needed in such programs for use in this state, the effect on property taxes and on a town's grand list, and other possible effects on both municipal and regional finances. The review under subdivision (2) of this subsection shall include, but not be limited to, a study of any available models of regional asset districts, the adaptations that may be needed in such programs for use in this state and other possible effects on both municipal and regional finances.

(b) Not later than July 1, 2009, the secretary shall submit a report, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes, to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to planning and development, and finance, revenue and bonding, with the results of the review undertaken pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, and with recommendations relating to the institution of revenue sharing programs and establishment of regional asset districts.

Sec. 8. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2007) (a) For purposes of this section, (1) "regional council of governments" means any such council organized under the provisions of sections 4-124i to 4-124p, inclusive, of the general statutes, (2) "regional council of elected officials" means any such council organized under the provisions of sections 4-124c to 4-124h, inclusive, of the general statutes, and (3) "regional planning agency" means an agency defined in chapter 127 of the general statutes.

(b) There is established a regional performance incentive program that shall be administered by the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management. On or before December 1, 2007, and annually thereafter, any regional planning agency, any regional council of elected officials, any regional council of governments, or any combination thereof, may submit to said secretary a proposal for joint provision of a service or services that are currently provided by municipalities within the region of such agency or council or contiguous thereto, but not currently provided on a regional basis. The proposal shall include such service or services which may increase the participating municipalities' purchasing power or provide a cost savings initiative resulting in a decrease in participating municipalities' expenses and lower property taxes. A copy of said proposal shall be sent to the legislators representing said participating municipalities.

(c) The proposal shall (1) describe at least one service currently provided by a municipality or municipalities within the region of the agency or council or contiguous thereto, but not currently provided on a regional basis, (2) provide a description of how such service would be delivered on a regional basis, including consideration of what entity would be responsible for such service, and how the population would continue to be served, (3) describe the amount and the manner in which the service will achieve economies of scale and the amount and manner in which each municipality will reduce its mill rate as a result of the savings realized by changing the municipal service to a regional service, (4) include a cost benefit analysis for the provision of such service by the municipality and by the council or agency, (5) set out a plan of implementation for such regional service, (6) estimate the savings that will be realized by each municipality, and (7) any other items requested by said secretary. Each proposal shall have attached to it (A) a resolution by the legislative body of each municipality affected by the proposal endorsing such proposal; and (B) certification by each such municipality that there are no legal obstacles to provision of services in the manner specified in the proposal including, but not limited to, binding arbitration. The proposal shall be submitted on a form prescribed by said secretary. Said secretary shall review all such proposals, and award grants to those that the secretary determines best meet the requirements of this subsection. In making such grants the secretary shall give priority to proposals presented by regional councils of government which include participation of at least fifty per cent of the member municipalities of such council.

(d) Not later than February 1, 2008, and annually thereafter, the secretary shall submit to the Governor and the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to finance, revenue and bonding a report on the grants provided pursuant to this section. Each such report shall include information on the amount of each grant, and the potential of each grant for leveraging other public and private investments.

Approved July 11, 2007