MD Rahman


MD Rahman



May 1, 2024

Senator Rahman Leads Passage of Bill to Ease Residential Developments

Senator MD Rahman, Senate chair of the Planning and Development Committee, led passage Wednesday of a bill designed  to increase housing availability in Connecticut by reducing the red tape associated with converting commercial buildings into residential developments.

Senate Bill 416, An Act Concerning the Conversion of Commercial Real Property for Residential Use, was proposed by Senator Rahman and passed by the state Senate during a session Wednesday and will now head to the House for consideration.

The legislation would boost the availability of homes in Connecticut by allowing developers to convert unused commercial space into housing “as of right.” This term means that municipalities must approve the projects if they comply with local building or fire safety codes. This distinction prevents towns from requiring public hearings or special permits before granting approval.

“This proposal aims to help Connecticut communities convert vacant commercial properties into vibrant residential developments by cutting through some of the red tape that often impedes these projects,” Senator Rahman, D-Manchester, said.

“By putting aside these bureaucratic barriers, we encourage growth, promote the construction of affordable housing for our neighbors, and expand our tax base,” Senator Rahman said. “Proactively repurposing unused commercial sites staves off the degradation of vacant properties before they become blighted eyesores that pose public health risks and drag down property values.”

In order to be converted into residential developments, properties would still need to meet applicable building and fire codes under Senate Bill 416. The proposal requires towns and cities to decide on a conversion application within 65 days of its submission.

The bill advanced out of the Planning and Development Committee, where it received a public hearing on March 13. Jim Perras, CEO of the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Connecticut, was among those who submitted testimony in favor of the legislation.

“The bill’s provision ensuring that any zoning regulations allow such conversions as of right is a progressive step towards addressing Connecticut’s housing shortage,” Perras said in written testimony. “By removing unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles, this legislation empowers property owners to repurpose commercial spaces efficiently, meeting the growing demand for residential units.”