Hochul proposes new housing targets for every locality in New York

January 11, 2023

Photo courtesy of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Office on Flickr

To spur housing development in New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday unveiled a proposal that would require every locality in the state to meet home creation targets. During her 2023 State of the State address, the governor announced plans to build 800,000 new homes over the next decade to address the current housing crisis. The new initiative, dubbed the New York Housing Compact, requires all cities, towns, and villages to hit home creation goals on a three-year cycle.

“Every community in New York must do their part to encourage housing growth to move our State forward and keep our economy strong,” Hochul said. “The New York Housing Compact is a comprehensive plan to spur the changes needed to create more housing, meet rising demand, and make our state a more equitable, stable, and affordable place to live.”

Under the plan, downstate communities served by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will have a three percent new homes growth target over three years.

Municipalities in upstate counties will have a new home target of one percent over three years.

According to Hochul, local governments can decide how they want to meet the residential housing targets, like “redeveloping old malls and office parks, incentivizing new housing production, or updating zoning rules to reduce barriers.”

To make sure affordable housing is included, Hochul said affordable units will be assigned “extra weight” when calculating progress toward housing targets.

If a community doesn’t make an effort to reach its state-mandated goals, the state will implement a new approval process that would allow developers to construct buildings without the local government’s approval.

“But when communities haven’t made good-faith efforts to grow when proposed housing projects are languishing for no legitimate reason, the State will implement a new fast-track approval process,” Hochul said during her speech on Tuesday. “Because to do nothing is an abdication of our responsibility to act in times of crisis.”

The Housing Compact plan targets areas that have not built enough housing to meet demand, including towns on Long Island, which, as Gothamist reported, have produced just seven new units of housing for every 1,000 residents compared to areas of New Jersey immediately adjacent to New York City, which have produced five times that amount.

The New York Housing Conference, an affordable housing policy nonprofit, said Hochul’s proposal “has the potential to be truly transformative.”

“We are particularly encouraged by measures that will create local growth mandates in communities while maintaining their autonomy over proposals,” Rachel Fee, executive director of NYHC, said in a statement. “If enacted, this measure – which includes an appeals board and mandated levels of density around transit corridors – will hold communities to account and ensure that residents of all backgrounds can find an affordable place to call home.”

Other proposed measures Hochul announced to reach the goal of 800,000 new homes include expediting rezoning, reversing maximum density of residential floor area laws, making it easier to convert commercial housing into residential use, legalizing basement apartments, and developing a successor for the 421-a property tax exemption that expired last year.


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