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New York Considering Law To End Single-Family Zoning


New York lawmakers are weighing a new bill that aims to end exclusionary zoning and allow for multiple units to be built on most lots earmarked for residential development.

State Sen. Brad Hoylman is sponsoring the bill and introduced it last week, The Real Deal reports. Under the law, localities wouldn’t be allowed to require large lot sizes or mandate off-street parking. New York cities and villages wouldn't be allowed to set minimum lot sizes larger than 1,200 SF, and in cities, property owners would be allowed to build four family units on any residential lot.

“We need to end the policy of exclusionary zoning that disadvantages lower- and middle-income New Yorkers,” Hoylman told TRD. “The affordability crisis is best addressed statewide.”

Hoylman, who pushed against the SoHo/NoHo upzoning, said he has been inundated with emails from New Yorkers thanking him for the proposed bill.

New York, which has been grappling with a worsening housing crisis for years, wouldn’t be the first to introduce the measure. In September, California introduced Senate Bill 9, which eliminated single-family zoning and essentially allowed up to four units to be built on lots previously set aside for one home. In 2019, the city of Minneapolis passed a law increasing all single-family zoning to triplexes.

Supporters say the measures boost housing supply, driving down prices that have kept many severely rent-burdened and first-time buyers priced out of the market. Critics say that it damages the fabric of neighborhoods, but, there is no denying the rising cost of housing — nationally, 50% of households are rent-burdened, meaning they pay more than 30% of their income toward rent, according to The Counselors of Real Estate.

Analysis from New York University’s Furman Center has found that New York has some of the most exclusionary zoning in the country, which has slowed housing production. New York’s suburbs are “national laggards” in housing development, according to Furman's report, which Hoylman cited in introducing the bill, per TRD.