Rhode Island House Speaker Joe Shekarchi has presented a legislative package aimed at addressing the state’s housing crisis, without removing local control over planning and zoning. Shekarchi and fellow House Democrats launched 14 bills that would streamline and simplify the process for developers to build more housing units at local levels. These include accelerating hearing procedures, standardizing permits and allowing owners of old mill buildings and hospitals to create housing by right with no middle-step in the appeal process. While the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns has expressed conceptual agreement, there are concerns among local leaders, particularly in more rural areas, that statewide housing mandates may not suit every community. Shekarchi’s package does not include moves for the state to build more government-run housing, which Nixon halted in 1974.