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Governor Hochul Sidesteps State Legislature - Will Use $650M "Discretionary" to Push Housing


By Edie Johnson



EDITORIAL

It was only a few months ago that Governor Hochul proposed a plan to require NY communities to show massive affordable housing growth. It received a clear NO from legislators from both sides of the aisle in Albany. Now she is approaching the same goal by funding earmarked for those communities that "come onboard" the housing plan willingly. But where is the "Smart Growth Plan?". What and where are the criteria for "buildout", when a municipality has reached its maximum housing without damage to essential environmental health. And $650 does not just drop from heaven because it's called "Discretionary". Just which municipalities will bear the majority of the burden to cover the $650M cost? This will be $650M largely from the pockets of those who don't want it. And will the communities adjacent to what could easily become unchecked growth be the ones to pay (both monetarily and by what has to date been environmentally unsound designs). Water know no municipal boundaries. Neither does sewatge. Will we hear another developer like the one who proposed Apple Ridge in New Windsor saying that drinking water supply will not be a problem because they have new technology where you can drink fresh water right out of the effluent pipes. How about Albany steps up to check the litany of code violations already going on without appropriate fines before beginniung another round of building. How about they call it a violation to do massive clearcutting on property not even approved for development and then leave hundreds of acres of downed trees and brush to bake in the heat of the hottest Summer ever for half a year, causing enormous fire risks. How about they have required meaningful state code workshops and then enforce them and see that code enforcement officers that don'trequire them get fired.. How much of the problem is a "Housing Crisis", and how much is it "Population Crisis", and Shouldn't we at least be addressing both? Where are the incentives for smaller families instead of unsustainably sized families? Of course we must take care of all children. But we must also educate the need to balance family size with the earth's resources. Why are we failing at getting support for needed environmentally unused land rather than potential overuse of land?


It's simple math - there will continue to be a housing crisis while essential environmentally beneficial land doesn't grow, does not get rewarded at least by PDR's, and our population numbers continue to rise.


Where are the details of any required "Smart Growth" components of the plan?


Is this going to result in "Smart Growth?". You be the judge -Clearly it's not in this plan. Here is her plan, and by the way here is one of the important criteria, according to her, of what municipal applications will be acceptable:


  • Any other funding where future appropriation language designates it as a Pro-Housing Community program.



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Qualifying Localities With Pro-Housing Community Certification Will Receive Priority Consideration for Key Economic Development and Housing Programs Part of Governor’s Package of Executive Actions to Promote Housing Growth Across New York State Application and Program Page Available Here Traducción al español

Governor Kathy Hochul today launched the Pro-Housing Communities Program, a statewide initiative to give priority consideration for up to $650 million in state discretionary funds to localities committed to housing growth. The program, announced by Governor Hochul earlier this summer as part of a package of executive actions to promote housing growth, invites municipalities (cities, towns, and villages) to apply for Pro-Housing Community certification. Certified Pro-Housing Communities will receive priority over other localities in their applications for certain discretionary funds, including $650 million in State grant programs like the Downtown Revitalization Initiative that were included in the FY24 Budget. Applications for the new program are now open. “Communities willing to help us solve the housing crisis should be first in line for State discretionary funding,” Governor Hochul said. “Increasing the housing supply in New York is critical, and I’m using every tool a governor has at her disposal to make an impact. I look forward to visiting Certified Pro-Housing communities across New York to celebrate their accomplishments in the months to come.” New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “Local governments are a critical part of the solution to the housing shortage in New York State and we now have a program in place to reward them for their efforts. Communities who do their part to increase housing supply will receive a boost in their applications for some of the State’s most in-demand discretionary funding streams. This is a win-win for everyone and an important step toward growing the housing that New York needs.”To be designated a Pro-Housing Community, municipalities must provide key information about their local zoning map/code and information detailing local housing permit approvals over the past five years. Localities who submit documentation that their housing stock has increased by one percent in the previous year or 3 percent over the previous three years (downstate) or by 0.33 percent in the last year or 1 percent over the previous three years (upstate) will qualify for the certification. Communities that have not yet seen housing growth can also achieve Pro-Housing Community designation by passing a resolution stating their commitment to Pro-Housing principles. The New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal will review program applications on a rolling basis and provide approval or denial within 90 days of submission. Those receiving certification must resubmit their housing permit data and any updates to their zoning on an annual basis to remain certified and qualify for prioritization. Certified Pro-Housing Communities will be considered first among localities applying for:

  • The Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI)

  • The NY Forward program

  • The Regional Council Capital Fund

  • Capital projects from the Market New York program

  • The New York Main Street program

  • The Long Island Investment Fund (LIIF)

  • The Mid-Hudson Momentum Fund

  • The Public Transportation Modernization Enhancement Program (MEP).

  • Any other funding where future appropriation language designates it as a Pro-Housing Community program.

The Pro-Housing Communities Program builds on Governor Hochul’s bold vision to increase the housing supply and address New York’s housing crisis. The Governor’s executive actions also included:

  • A program to advance residential projects halted by the expiration of 421-A that include affordable housing in the Gowanus neighborhood in Brooklyn.

  • A new requirement that all State entities identify the potential for their state-owned lands to support housing.

  • Recent and forthcoming regulatory initiatives to identify opportunities for greater efficiencies to promote housing growth.

  • The launch of the beta version of a new, interactive portal to collect and share community-level housing and zoning data and information on an ongoing basis.

For more information about the Governor’s housing agenda, including recent executive actions like the Pro-Housing Communities Program, visit the Governor’s website. Contact the Governor’s Press Office Contact us by phone: Albany: (518) 474 - 8418 New York City: (212) 681 - 4640 Contact us by email: Press.Office@exec.ny.gov

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