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Smart Growth Arises From The Town, Not Directed From Elsewhere



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To the Editor:

Anyone who has tried to find a home in Newtown, whether it’s seniors looking to downsize from the large homes they bought to raise their children, or those same parents seeking a place for their children to start their own families, knows that rents and home prices are very high due to a statewide housing crisis. The State of Connecticut has prioritized this issue, and the General Assembly has been proposing and enacting legislation to give developers tools to move projects forward with higher density if they meet certain state requirements. These new priorities will impact Newtown whether we want them to or not.

I will always strive to find a good fit for our community and encourage developers to work with the Town rather than against it. As opportunities arise, I prefer to be seen as a partner rather than opposition, as this better positions the Land Use department to advocate for Newtown’s interests. Objecting to development will only push developers to use the courts, where the voices of our residents will not be heard. Balancing market demands for housing with land conservation is delicate. Additionally, returning property to the tax rolls benefits taxpayers by offsetting their burden. Housing projects generate revenue, can provide workforce housing, create walkable communities, and support local businesses, keeping Newtown vibrant. A community that stops growing is a community in decline.

Newtown must continue to grow because it is a wonderful and attractive place where people want to live. As we grow, I aim to preserve what makes Newtown special while managing the process positively and respecting our rural qualities. These decisions are best made by our local, elected Planning and Zoning officials, not by state government or Superior Court judges. I see development as an opportunity to achieve planning goals set in our locally controlled Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD), such as becoming a more walkable, multi-generational, and welcoming community for years to come. Smart growth arises from the Town assessing and addressing its needs holistically, rather than being directed by the state or the courts.


Jeff Capeci

First Selectman


A letter from First Selectman Jeff Capeci.
Comments are open. Be civil.
  1. qstorm says:

    In between growth and decline is status quo. The town certainly needs to anticipate that the state and certain developers will push for their particular requirements through any means necessary. This does not mean that the town should rush to embrace a ‘growth’ strategy. We must be prepared to push back against unwarranted and unwanted development.

  2. rpower says:

    The status quo is clearly not appealing to voters who rejected the school budget at first and only narrowly approved the town’s budget. Smart growth is the name of the game here. That would be growth that respects our past, retains and ensures our vibrancy, and simultaneously widens our tax base.

    1. qstorm says:

      Rejecting or approving town budgets has nothing to do with ‘smart’ growth. These budgets are expected to grow appropriately as cost of services increases.

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