Hochul withdraws portion of affordable housing proposal from budget

Hochul withdraws portion of affordable housing proposal from budget
Gov. Kathy Hochul withdrew parts of her affordable housing plan from the state budget, according to multiple reports. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Gov. Kathy Hochul withdrew a section of her affordable housing plan from the state budget after strong opposition from elected officials throughout Long Island, according to multiple reports.

Part of Hochul’s affordable housing plan, which was introduced in January, included the statewide expansion of accessory dwelling units, which were removed from the state budget, according to reports.

Local governments, according to the proposal, would be required to allow ADUs to be developed in areas zoned for single-family use.

Local officials throughout Nassau County have been critical of Hochul’s proposal, claiming that the ADUs could negatively impact the quality of life, electric and water supply, emergency services and other aspects throughout Nassau and Long Island.

Gubernatorial candidate and U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), in a statement to Blank Slate Media, said Hochul’s removal of the ADU section of the proposal is “one small victory” but those advocating to preserve suburban areas will face “many battles ahead.”

“We successfully stopped Governor Hochul’s radical proposal from being passed in the budget, but we’re not done yet,” Suozzi continued. “Now we must stop her and the state legislature from passing this misguided legislation during the Albany legislative session.”

Democrats in the state Senate and Assembly possess supermajority powers to push the legislation through.

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said the withdrawal of the ADU portion of the affordable housing plan will help protect Long Island’s suburban areas for future generations.

Gov. Hochul’s proposal was so “woke” that our pushback against her plans actually woke her up,” Blakeman said in a statement. “She dropped plans to allow thousands of new apartments in our neighborhoods.”

“Today is a great day, as Governor Hochul has abandoned her ill-conceived plan to outlaw single-family zoning and legalize accessory dwelling units across the state of New York in a reckless one-size-fits-all approach,” Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jennifer DeSena said in a statement. “Allowing Accessory Dwelling Units on the property of homes that are currently zoned for single-family use would have been nothing short of disastrous for our suburban communities and the quality of life we cherish.”

Hochul, in a statement to Newsday, stressed the importance of providing New Yorkers with affordable housing and will continue to make efforts to do so, but with more conversations on how to achieve that effectively.

“I have heard real concerns about the proposed approach on accessory dwelling units,” Hochul told Newsday. “I understand that my colleagues in the State Senate believe a different set of tools is needed, even if they agree with the goal of supporting the growth of this kind of housing.”

Efforts to reach Hochul for further comment were unavailing.

Hochul’s five-year, $25 billion housing plan was implemented to create and preserve 100,000 affordable homes throughout the state, 10,000 of which will have support services for vulnerable populations.

Proponents of the legislation have claimed establishing ADUs could help senior citizens on fixed incomes remain in their homes, help younger people afford homes and be a new source of income for homeowners who live in high-cost areas.

Hochul also previously cited the financial hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic as to why she believes the legislation is vital to implement throughout the state.

“In the wake of the pandemic, it’s crucial that we tackle the housing crisis and make New York a more affordable place for all,” Hochul said. “These bold steps are a major step forward in transforming our housing market, protecting affordability and increasing the housing supply.”

For New York City, the legislation would require an amnesty program to legalize existing ADUs if they are brought into compliance with its building code.

Hochul’s plans to modify zoning in local municipalities followed legislation proposed by Democratic state Sen. Brad Hoylman that also aims to limit the authorities of cities, villages and towns throughout New York to impose certain zoning requirements.

According to Hoylman’s legislation, which currently sits in the senate’s Cities 2 Committee, would prohibit cities and villages from establishing a minimum lot size greater than 1,200 square feet and prohibit towns from establishing a minimum lot size of greater than 5,000 square feet if a lot has access to sewer and water infrastructure of 20,000 square feet in any other area.

The legislation would also mandate cities and villages to not require the construction of off-street parking as a condition of permitting construction or prohibit the construction of occupation of a dwelling of six or fewer families on a single lot that is within one-quarter mile of any commuter rail station.

Hoylman said New York’s “exclusionary zoning measures” have resulted in increased rents, segregation and carbon emissions along with a slower economy and fewer homes.

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