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In September, students from across Connecticut gathered to seek “emergency action” to address climate change. They join a global uprising of young people urging us older folks to help preserve the planet that they will inherit. Their passion is laudable, but their demands ignore Connecticut’s greatest contributor to climate change: our inefficient zoning laws.

During the course of the 20th century, Connecticut’s municipalities have made it harder and harder to build small-lot and multifamily housing. Today, on most land in most Connecticut suburbs, one or two acres is required to build a new single-family home. Many municipalities prohibit multifamily housing (housing with three or more units) altogether; almost all others require a “special permit” to allow multifamily housing, in practice giving governments discretion to prohibit permits at will.

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