Hochul pulls affordable housing proposal from state budget


ALBANY — Governor Kathy Hochul has withdrawn her budget proposal to force local governments to agree to an expansion of backyard apartments and cottages in single-family neighborhoods as a way to tackle a citywide affordable housing crisis. the state, Newsday has learned.

Hochul had proposed the expansion of “secondary suites” in his January budget proposal to the legislature. Since then, however, there has been strong opposition from mostly Republican local government officials on Long Island and some Democrats, including Representative Tom Suozzi and Long Island State Senators. Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) is challenging Hochul for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Opponents argued that Hochul’s proposal would harm suburban neighborhoods by worsening parking problems and straining local services, including sewers and water facilities, while eliminating local control over zoning. .

“From my days in local government, I have been a firm believer in the importance of building consensus and listening to communities and my fellow decision makers,” said Hochul, former Erie County Clerk and suburban councillor, in a press release.

“I’ve heard real concerns about the proposed approach on secondary suites,” she said. “I understand that my colleagues in the State Senate believe that a different set of tools is needed, even though they agree with the goal of supporting the growth of this type of housing. So I submit a 30-day amendment to my budget bill that removes locality requirements to facilitate a conversation about how we build consensus around solutions.”

The governor also said she would pursue part of the ADU proposal: bring units located in New York into compliance with building and safety codes. Many city and suburban units were built without local approval and are believed to have safety issues.

In September, several New Yorkers died when basement apartments flooded during the remnants of Hurricane Ida.

The ADU proposal had faced an uncertain future in the state legislature. Democrats have supermajorities in the Senate and Assembly, and Republicans could not stop the proposal. Additionally, governors have extraordinary constitutional power to ultimately force the state legislature to either accept whatever is in the budget or risk shutting down the government.

But Democrats also worried that approving the progressive measure would alienate their broader base of more centrist suburban voters and put moderate Long Island senators at risk in the fall election by providing Republicans with a cudgel. , said political observers.

A bill similar to Hochul’s proposal remains active in the legislature. The bill is sponsored by two key Democratic lawmakers — Sen. Pete Harckham (D-South Salem) and Assembly. Harvey Epstein (D-Manhattan) — who said he works closely with the governor’s office.

Hochul’s decision to withdraw his proposal to expand ADUs surprised those who criticized the proposal, but it was well received.

“To roll out the ADU proposal without consulting local officials, including some from her own party, was a strategic political mistake that she is smart enough to correct before she can do more damage,” Lawrence said. Levy, executive dean of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University. “If she kept pushing it, ADUs could have become the ‘bail reform’ of 2020.”

Levy referred to the progressive measure to eliminate cash bail on a list of crimes so that poor defendants are not held in jail awaiting trial, while a person charged with the same crime who could afford a surety could return to his work, his studies and his family. Republicans cited some instances in which defendants released under the bail law committed more crimes and used opposition to the bail law to help win multiple offices in presidential elections. 2021.

Levy told Newsday that Hochul should encourage local governments to accept ADUs and use their success to encourage others to accept the units, sometimes called “grandmother’s apartments” and “mother-daughter apartments”.

Hochul said she is also withdrawing her proposal to expand “transit-oriented development” for further discussion with local governments.

The proposal received less criticism, but was another complex idea within its budget. The transit-oriented development consists of housing built near commuter and Amtrak stations. The idea is to create apartments within walking distance of trains to limit or eliminate the need for residents to have cars and help bring vitality to downtown blocks.


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