Affordable Housing, Community Development, Housing Policy Briefs

February IForum Focuses on Economic Impact of Zoning

Partnership for Strong Communities (PSC)

Over 150 people filled the Lyceum on Friday, February 24 for the second IForum of the 2017 season. State and municipal officials, town planners, housing developers, nonprofit and community leaders gathered to learn more about the impact of housing choice on economic growth. The event, Forecasting our Future: The Economic Impact of Exclusionary Zoning, highlighted how zoning regulations price-out many workers that are vital to Connecticut’s labor market.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Daniel Shoag, Associate Professor at Harvard Kennedy School, shared results from one of his more recent articles that explores why many people aren’t moving to high wage states like Connecticut.  His findings suggest that land use regulations eliminate the incentive to move to high income states for many Americans because of high housing costs. After housing costs, employees at the bottom of the economic ladder take home more money in low income states, such as those in the Deep South, than high income states like Connecticut.

February 2017 IForum - Forecasting Our Future: The Economic Impact of Exclusionary Zoning

Following the keynote, Jennifer Herz, counsel for Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA), introduced a diverse panel comprised of members of the Connecticut business community:

  • Joe McGee – Vice President, Public Policy and Programs, The Business Council of Fairfield County, Stamford, CT
  • Paul Rocheleau – Chief Financial Officer, HABCO, Glastonbury, CT
  • Hal Kurfehs – Vice President, Coldwell Banker Commercial Scalzo Group, Bethel, CT
  • Nicole Licata Grant – Nicole Licata Grant, UIL Holdings Corporation, New Haven, CT

Each panel member highlighted how the lack of housing choice has impacted their respective industries and the state’s overall economic growth. Issues discussed included the state’s need to attract employees at both the top and bottom of the economic ladder, how employees are lost due to the high cost of housing, strategies to make Connecticut more attractive (e.g., diversify housing stock across the state through C.G.S. Section 8-30g), etc.



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