Mayors, GOP pols knock Hochul’s housing plans

Mayors, GOP pols knock Hochul’s housing plans
Mineola Mayor Paul Pereira speaks at a Friday morning press conference in the village. (Photo courtesy of the Village of Mineola)

Village, town and state officials gathered Friday in Mineola to express their opposition to state budget housing mandates proposed by Gov. Kathy Hochul. 

The $227 billion budget announced last week details Hochul’s vision for solving the state’s housing shortages.

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 the proposed housing plan.

State Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola) said the proposal is “foolish” and “clumsy.”

“The governor’s proposal is nothing less than an existential threat to our way of life that cannot be overstated or ignored. Although we acknowledge that there is a housing crisis in New York, the governor needs to understand that she cannot mandate, legislate or regulate her way through this,” Martins said in a statement. “Nor can she expect our communities to sit idly by while bureaucrats in Albany demolish the pillars of our suburban quality of life.”

Martins was joined by six other Republican state senators, North Hempstead Supervisor Jennifer DeSena, a Republican, and mayors throughout the North Shore. 

During her State of the State address on 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.

Hochul spokesman Justin Henry told the New York Post the governor is “eager to work on solving the housing crisis and making New York more affordable with any elected leader who wants to be part of the solution.”

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% participants said they would like to see less housing near transit hubs.

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%. 

Martins, who was mayor of Mineola before his first stint as a state senator in 2010, said the village had added 1,000 units over the past 10 years. 

While mayor of Mineola, we worked with the community to develop a master plan that allowed for transit-oriented, residential development around Mineola’s LIRR station,” Martins said. “It was done by building consensus for construction in the right area, in the right way, at the right time. Collaboration and sharing best practices will work where this proposal will not.”

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, but 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.

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