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CHRO Issues Report on Zoning and Discrimination in CT


(HARTFORD, CT) – The Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities today released its report “Connecticut Zoning and Discrimination, 2021.” The report analyzes the state’s various zoning regulations and the resulting segregation throughout the state. It provides an overview of exclusionary zoning policies, the lack of affordable housing in the state, the intersectionality of housing segregation and its impact on education and health equity, and a summary of recent and relevant court cases. 

Connecticut is one of the most racially segregated states in the nation. While some of the most extreme policies and practices that resulted in that segregation have been outlawed, segregation persists today. The report recommends the state find multifaceted solutions that allow people to find affordable housing in all parts of the state while also investing in communities where Black and Latinx people are currently living.  The report makes multiple policy recommendations based on the findings of the report, including: 

  • Eliminate zoning bans on multifamily housing and accessory dwelling units; 
  • Eliminate excessive requirements for lot size, setback, height, parking, and density; 
  • Regionalize education funding to distribute education resources more equitably; 
  • Require racial equity be considered in the development of municipal affordable housing plans; 
  • Create a scheme where each town is responsible for a fair share of affordable housing that includes housing for families in addition to affordable housing reserved for older people and people with disabilities. 

“The report’s findings confirm what those of us who work on these issues already know: Connecticut’s zoning laws have historically led to widespread segregation and that pattern continues to this day,” said CHRO Executive Director Tanya Hughes. “This report adds to the overwhelming evidence that these zoning policies create significant and wide-ranging inequities in our state that are irresponsible to ignore. These cumulative inequities magnify the injustices experienced by Black and Latinx residents of our state, leading to racial profiling, negative health outcomes and lower educational opportunity.” 

“While the CHRO was heartened to see the legislature take an increased interest in the subject of zoning this year, we hope in the future this interest will lead to substantive change that provides equal opportunity regardless of zip code,” said CHRO Deputy Director Cheryl Sharp. “In the meantime, the CHRO continues to enforce the state’s housing antidiscrimination laws and to advocate for change alongside Desegregate Connecticut, Open Communities Alliance, and our other partners.” 




Contact:   Michelle Dumas Keuler