Some Nassau officials fear Hochul plan for transit hub housing

Some Nassau officials fear Hochul plan for transit hub housing
North Hempstead Supervisor Jennifer DeSena speaks in Manhasset alongside elected officials against a recent housing proposal made by Gov. Kathy Hochul. (Photo by Brandon Duffy)

Local governments would have three years to rezone areas within a half-mile of Metropolitan Transportation Authority rail stations, including the Long Island Rail Road, under Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed housing plan.

During her State of the State address Jan. 10 Hochul unveiled her plan to build 800,000 new homes over the next decade to address the state’s housing shortage. Included in the New York Housing Compact are local participation requirements and incentives to achieve housing growth along with requiring municipalities with MTA stations to rezone for higher-density residential development.

A Newsday poll of 2,910 Long Islanders showed that 43.7% were in favor of increased housing near transit hubs, while 38.6% were pleased with the current amount. A total of 17.6% of participants said they would like to see less housing near transit hubs.

Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jennifer DeSena said Hochul’s plan would convert the suburban areas of Nassau County into New York City.

“This housing plan will turn Nassau County into NYC and allow NY State to unilaterally flood our communities with thousands of apartment and high-density zoning,” DeSena said in a statement. ”This proposal is unacceptable, not consistent with the character of our communities, and it will negatively impact traffic, water and sewers, emergency services, and overcrowd our schools.”

Nassau and Suffolk Counties would be required to grow housing stock by 3% every three years along with downstate areas such as Westchester and Putnam Counties, while upstate New York would be required to grow by 1%. 

“Putting forth a plan like this without input from local municipalities tells us that Gov. Hochul is more interested in meeting goals than working with the people directly affected by this housing plan,” DeSena said. “Together we’ll fight to maintain local control, not Hochul control.”

In 2022, Hochul rolled out a $25 billion, five-year housing plan aimed at creating and preserving 100,000 affordable homes throughout New York, 10,000 of which would have support services for vulnerable populations.

Hochul also called last year for changing zoning laws for Accessory Dwelling Units, which include basements, attics and garages, and was criticized by Long Island officials. 

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

Local officials in Great Neck said they feared that the anti-development crowd prominent in some villages could deter individuals from wanting to build in their municipalities during a December meeting of the peninsula’s village officials association.

Village of Great Neck Mayor Pedram Bral and other elected officials said they have heard concerns from residents about increased traffic as a result of increased residential or mixed-use development. Great Neck Estates Mayor William Warner said residential units generate less traffic than retail.

Village of Great Neck Plaza Mayor Ted Rosen said his community has faced opposition to a proposed 12-unit structure, not because of taxes but due to the burden the building would present for the school district.

Rosen said the idea of transit-oriented developments is something villages and residents need to adapt to so that retail developers want to set up shop in Great Neck and true downtown revitalization in a more technological shopping age can be achieved.

“We were probably one of the first villages in Nassau County to adopt transit-oriented development where you give incentives to landlords of retail buildings so they can build up,” Rosen said.

Gov. Kathy Hochul. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

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