OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 6466 (as amended by House “A”)*

AN ACT CONCERNING PROJECTS OF REGIONAL SIGNIFICANCE.

SUMMARY:

This bill requires each regional planning organization (RPO) to establish a voluntary process for applicants to state or local agencies, departments, or commissions to request a pre-application review of proposed projects of regional significance. There are three types of RPOs: regional councils of governments, regional councils of elected officials, and regional planning agencies. Under the bill, a project of regional significance is an open air theater, shopping center or other development to be built by a private developer that is planned to create more than (1) 500,000 square feet of indoor commercial or industrial space, (2) 250 housing units in one to three story building, or (3) 1,000 parking spaces.

The bill requires the RPO process to determine the components of the review. These components must include a procedure to assure that all relevant municipalities and regional and state agencies provide the applicant with (1) preliminary comment on the project, in a form determined by the agency; (2) summaries of the review process of each agency; and (3) an opportunity for the applicant to discuss the project with representatives of each relevant municipality or state agency at a meeting convened by the RPO. At least one representative from each relevant municipality and each state agency, department, or commission must participate in a review of the project at the RPO's request at a meeting convened for this purpose. This requirement applies if the RPO notifies each agency, department, or commission of the meeting at least three weeks in advance. An RPO cannot convene more than one meeting for a particular project in any quarter of a calendar year. The bill does not prevent two or more RPOs from convening joint meetings to carry out the bill.

The results or information obtained from the preapplication review cannot be appealed under any provision of the statutes and are not binding on the applicant or any authority, commission, department, agency, or other official having jurisdiction to review the proposed project.

The RPO must prepare a report of the comments of the agencies reviewing the proposal and give a copy of the report to the applicant and each reviewing agency.

*House Amendment “A” (1) narrows the scope of projects subject to the bill, (2) requires agencies to participate in the review only if they receive advance notice of the meeting, (3) limits the number of reviews on a project to one per quarter, (4) eliminates provisions that exempted information provided by an applicant or agency as part of the review from the Freedom of Information Act and barred agencies from considering this information in their subsequent deliberations, (5) bars appeals based on this information, (6) specifies that this information is not binding on the applicant or the agencies, and (7) makes minor related changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2009

COMMITTEE ACTION

Planning and Development Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

17

Nay

1

(03/13/2009)

Government Administration and Elections Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

14

Nay

1

(04/14/2009)

Appropriations Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

47

Nay

4

(04/27/2009)