Contact Us

Hochul's Plan To Overrule Local Zoning For Housing Development Appears Dead As Budget Talks Drag On

Gov. Kathy Hochul at a REBNY ceremony.

Gov. Kathy Hochul says she and New York lawmakers are still unable to reach agreement on her proposals to spark development across the state, throwing the future of one of her signature policies into question.

"After weeks of negotiations, the Legislature continues to oppose core elements of the Housing Compact, including the requirement that communities across the state meet growth targets," Hochul said in a statement Tuesday, Spectrum News reported.

Her comments come a day after the deadline to pass the state's annual budget was extended again, until Thursday. It was originally due April 1. Hochul’s ambitious state housing agenda, which she dubbed the Housing Compact, included a requirement for 3% growth in housing units over three years for downstate municipalities, and 1% for those upstate. Locales that failed to meet the target would see the state override zoning restrictions to allow development.

But in the budget negotiations, members of the legislature have opposed that piece of Hochul's agenda, seen by housing industry advocates as vital to ensure there is enough supply in all parts of the state, Spectrum News reported. Sources told the publication a housing access voucher program is now under consideration.

"We have not yet come to a final agreement, but it remains clear that merely providing incentives will not make the meaningful change that New Yorkers deserve,” Hochul said in her statement. “I will continue to discuss other elements of the plan and policy changes that will increase supply and make housing more affordable.”

Hochul set a goal of creating 800,000 new units within the next decade, but her measures received a frosty reception from suburban areas, particularly from representatives on Long Island and in the Hudson Valley.

News that incentives are now being favored were slammed by housing advocates. Rachel Fee, the executive director of the New York Housing Conference said in a statement it was “especially shocking” that legislators who campaigned on promises to fix the housing crisis would reject the plan and instead “capitulated to powerful NIMBYs who prefer the status quo.”

Regional Plan Association President and CEO Tom Wright said in an emailed statement that incentives to spur housing won’t work because wealthy communities will not respond to them.

“Experience from other states around the country has made it clear that the incentive-based approaches proposed by the Legislature will not solve New York’s housing crisis,” he said. “While there are some positive improvements for expanding housing supply in New York City, such as legalizing basement apartments, expediting office-to-residential conversions and increasing the density of apartment buildings, without shared housing obligations there is little hope for a more inclusive and affordable future for New York State.”