NRZ bill passes out of the House of Representatives

May 3, 2017

State Reps. Steve Stafstrom (D-Bridgeport) and Christopher Rosario (D-Bridgeport) welcome House passage of a bill that would increase citizen participation in Neighborhood Revitalization Zone (NRZ) committees. House Bill 5377 passed out of the House of Representatives May 3 with a 147-2 vote.

Through HB 5377 “An Act Concerning Neighborhood Revitalization,” municipal committee members will be fully protected if a committee rejects a developer’s plan or if the committee member is sued while acting in his or her official capacity.

The bill was co-sponsored by Stafstrom and Rosario.

“It is vital that we extend legal protection to residents who volunteer to serve on these Neighborhood Revitalization Zone committees. These citizens, who volunteer their free time, play a key role in getting together with local stakeholders and municipal leaders to find ways to enhance our local neighborhoods,” Stafstrom said. “The House’s passage of the bill was made possible by the support of the Black Rock NRZ, Bridgeport delegation and the Planning and Development Committee.”

Cities like Bridgeport sponsor several NRZ committees, which are comprised of community members who work tirelessly to set neighborhood priorities, devise plans to revitalize the area, and improve quality of life for the city’s residents.

This bill would relieve NRZ committee members of the unnecessary administrative burdens and would be protected by the sponsoring municipality.

“I’d like to acknowledge the work of my colleagues on helping move this bill forward,” Rosario said. “Community volunteers serving on local neighborhood boards merit the legal protection this measure offers and allows them to focus on implementing the work of improving our neighborhoods.”

The bill now heads to the Senate for approval.