Political Capitol

Brian Lockhart covers the Connecticut General Assembly in Hartford

Say it ain’t so! Gov’t overreach in GOP Greenwich?!?!

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A pending bill entitled “An Act Requiring the Display of House Numbers” is, at first blush, feeding into the government overreach crowd’s claims the General Assembly is full of tax-raising, freedom-trampling, country-ruining, out-of-touch Democrats.

But consider one of the sponsors is a Republican and the legislation is similar to an ordinance passed in his hometown, that GOP oasis in a blue state known as Greenwich.

“Some people are going to say it’s an invasion by big government. It’s only to help them,” said Rep. Fred Camillo, R-Greenwich.

Camillo said it is difficult for emergency responders to locate homes without numbers or without prominently displayed numbers, particularly in suburban and rural areas like Greenwich where buildings are set back from the road.

“God forbid there’s an emergency … Seconds can be the difference,” Camillo said.

Photo from House Number Shop Blog.

Camillo mentioned Greenwich passed a similar statute. Here are the details.

Rep. Louis Esposito, Jr., D-West Haven, another sponsor of mandatory building numbers, said other municipalities have their own criteria.

“It’s such a hodgepodge,” he said.

The legislation, which for days has been sitting in the House of Representatives, is endorsed by the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association, the Connecticut State Firefighters Association and the Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association of Connecticut.

In prepared testimony for the legislature, Ted Schroll of the State Firefighters Association agreed with Esposito that leaving numbering up to Connecticut’s 169 cities and towns results in 169 different solutions.

Rob Fish of Bethel, a retired volunteer firefighter and Medical Response Technician experienced frustration over poor numbering while performing those jobs.

“Seconds matter,” Fish said, adding he backs the legislation in Hartford.

Fish also has the perspective of a former takeout food deliveryman who searched for customers at poorly-numbered addresses.

“You shouldn’t have to make laws about common sense,” he said.

Categories: General
Brian Lockhart