Hochul’s executive budget met with mixed feelings by Floral Park mayor

Hochul’s executive budget met with mixed feelings by Floral Park mayor
The Floral Park Board of Trustees pictured at their Feb. 7 meeting. (Photo by Annabel Hofmann)

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s 2024 fiscal year New York state executive budget, announced on Jan. 10, was met with both praise and criticism from Floral Park Mayor Kevin Fitzgerald at the Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 7.

While funding for improvements to the Belmont Racetrack was seen as a positive, Fitzpatrick expressed concerns with Hochul’s Housing Compact plan calling for increasing the number of homes in New York with a particular emphasis on Long Island.

The newest state executive budget includes a $455 million loan to fund renovations of the Belmont Racetrack.

The project would include the installation of new racetracks and an improved grandstand. The goal is to eventually move all the races held at Aqueduct Racing to Belmont in order to repurpose the Aqueduct property.

These renovations will “ensure that Belmont is a premier racing facility, not only in New York but across the world,” Fitzgerald said. “It’ll be great for our area.”

Also included in the executive budget is Hochul’s Housing Compact, a plan to address New York’s housing crisis and build 800,000 new homes across the state in the next 10 years.

Under this strategy, Nassau and Suffolk counties are required to meet a 3% housing growth target within each three-year cycle. Other areas of New York, such as upstate, are only held to 1% growth targets.

Additionally, municipalities within 15 miles of New York City and containing a Metropolitan Transport Authority station, such as Floral Park and Bellerose, will have to increase their housing density to 50 units per acre in the half-mile around the station, no matter what the zoning requirements are now.

This would increase the housing stock by five times in areas surrounding MTA stations according to Fitzgerald. With this comes “entire infrastructure issues, whether it’s roads, schools [or] water sourcing” he said. “None of that has been addressed.”

The Floral Park mayor said he will be looking to learn more about Hochul’s plan, and citizens should be on the lookout for more information as it becomes available.

Additionally, Fitzgerald said he attended a press conference on Friday, Feb. 3, along with other Long Island legislators, to express opposition to the housing plan.

“This is a very serious concern for not just Floral Park, but the entire metropolitan area, as it will dramatically change the suburbs,” he said. “The closer you live to the city, the worse it will be.”

“The bill will improve economic, environmental, and social quality of life by increasing housing stock throughout New York state, encouraging affordable housing development and social and economic mobility and promoting efficiency and coordinated development efforts in localities across the state,” according to a memorandum in support of the bill released by the New York Division of the Budget.

However, Fitzgerald concluded the Tuesday night meeting saying: “It does seem like everybody is against this … It just doesn’t fit.”

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