Patrizia Zucaro: Keep local issues out of state hands

I’ve lived in Westport, next door to Wilton, my entire life. This year, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know Wilton even better, and Wiltonians have made me feel right at home. Like my hometown, Wilton is a small town with beautiful landscapes, historical significance, and exceptional schools. It’s a true New England town, unique and with an independent spirit.

Unfortunately, majority legislators in Hartford don’t value that independence. They want to control your zoning, your children’s education, and how your property taxes are spent.

For example, a draft bill authored by the Housing Committee co-chair threatens to override local zoning decisions. Among its many provisions is one that requires multi-family zoning in 50 percent of all areas within one-half mile of a transit facility and one-quarter mile from a commercial corridor — large swaths of Wilton’s residential neighborhoods. It has significant support, and it’s very real.

There’s wide agreement in Wilton that diversifying its housing options would better accommodate people of all ages and backgrounds and add to the community’s cultural richness. The issue is: who should make the relevant zoning decisions? Local officials appreciate Wilton’s landscape, architectural and historic character, and environmental concerns, and must listen to you. I vote for them — and you.

Wiltonians led the opposition to mandated school regionalization in 2019. You’ve been clear that you don’t want people who know nothing about Wilton’s students, educators, or schools to tell you how to educate your children. I oppose mandated school regionalization. I also support removing barriers like binding arbitration that prevent districts from voluntarily choosing to share services.

One-size-fits-all mandates stifle local voices and curb the spirit of independence that makes our towns unique. I’ll fight to keep local zoning and schools in the hands of the people you elect, who are directly accountable to you.

Patrizia Zucaro is the Republican and Independent Party candidate for state representative of the 143rd district, which includes parts of Wilton, Westport and Norwalk.