A new plan, called the “New York Housing Compact”, laid out by New York Governor Kathy Hochul that allows for cities to build more housing on their own terms—or possibly be forced by the state to do so if they don’t comply.
According to the Governor, the plan sets three separate housing targets for upstate and downstate municipalities in three-year increments to meet her goal of building 800,000 new homes in the next decade.
The plan targets a 3% growth in housing stock every three years in downstate localities, and 1% for upstate localities.
When calculating final numbers, additional points will also be given for creating affordable housing or rehabbing existing housing.
Cities that fail to meet targets may qualify for plan extensions if they enact certain policies like legalizing accessory dwelling units, upzoning, and eliminating exclusionary zoning situations.
Under the plan, municipalities with MTA rail stations would be required to rezone areas within half a mile of the stop, allowing for at least 25 homes per acre. The proposal includes $250 million for infrastructure to accommodate increases in density and an expedited environmental review process for the rezonings.
Governor Hochul’s plan follows the lead of other states such as California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.
“Between full-on bans of multi-family homes and onerous zoning and approvals processes, they make it difficult—even impossible—to build new homes,” Hochul said of localities during her State of the State address. “Think about that. People want to live here, but local decisions to limit growth mean they cannot. Local governments can and should make different choices.”
Representatives for the administration acknowledged Tuesday that the success of the plan — which seeks to double the number of housing units created in the past decade — partially hinges on the revival of a tax break akin to the expired 421a program. The administration, however, believes such an incentive is needed for less than a quarter of the additional units that would be created as part of the plan.