Gov. Hochul visits Long Island to push affordable housing plan
Gov. Kathy Hochul was on Long Island Thursday to push her housing plan, which is meeting both praise and controversy.
Her plan would require communities across the state to come up with innovative ways to add affordable housing.
Hochul said Patchogue has seen a renaissance in the last couple of decades, adding more housing and affordable units to its downtown area.
She said she would like to see similar transitions in other parts of the state and the Island. But not everyone is happy with the idea.
"If you don't grow, you stagnate. When you stagnate you die," Hochul said, not mincing words when it comes to her housing plan for the state.
The plan sets a goal of 800,000 new homes across the state in the next decade. Her plan would require 3% housing growth in downstate communities and near train stations.
She pointed to places like Patchogue with its downtown growth as a prime example, saying the growth is needed and would be achievable.
"Eighty percent of New York state communities will only have to add 50 units or less. That's one small building," Hochul said.
"If I did not live there, I would not be here on Long Island," said Tracy Todd Hunter, who grew up in Patchogue and lives in affordable housing in the village. He says he wanted to come back to the Island and is happy to be here now because of the housing increase in the village.
Many Long Island leaders, however, say Hochul's mandate takes away local control of housing plans. They add that it does not do enough to fund infrastructure improvements that would need to come with the increased housing density.
"This proposal would strip local government of our ability to control zoning and would create state-mandated high density housing zones in the middle of existing neighborhoods," said North Hempstead Supervisor Jennifer DeSena.
Hochul disagrees and says New York is losing young people to other states because they cannot afford to live here. She also says employers want to stay in New York but need affordable housing for their workers, especially on the Island.
"Ultimately, change is always hard, but in the end, there will be no stopping Long Island in terms of people here and increasing affordability, which is what this is all about," Hochul added.
Hochul has also sweetened the pot with $250 million in grants for infrastructure improvements such as sewers. But some say that is not nearly enough help.
The Legislature and Hochul must come to an agreement on her plan by April 1.