Congressman Tom Suozzi, common sense Democratic candidate for Governor, today joined a bipartisan coalition of town supervisors, local community officials, and homeowners in Westchester to oppose plans by Governor Kathy Hochul that would eliminate single family zoning laws in New York and dramatically alter the housing landscape across the state.
Standing near the Chappaqua Metro North Train Station, Suozzi rallied with local officials just two days after joining with Suffolk County officials to call on State leaders to stop the Governor’s proposal in its tracks. On January 27, Suozzi held a press conference with several village and city mayors as well as civic leaders to speak out against Hochul’s attempt to change the landscape of suburbia. This was followed by a letter from Suozzi to State Senators calling on them to oppose the Governor’s plan.
“Governor Hochul’s radical proposal would eviscerate local zoning control, erode the authority of local governments in Westchester, and end single family housing across New York,” said Suozzi. “Instead of engaging with local communities and building consensus, Governor Hochul has chosen confrontation that will cause chaos. I stand in solidarity with officials here in Westchester who know what’s best for their communities.
Town of New Castle Lisa S. Katz, who spoke at the press conference, commented, “This isn’t about politics or affordable housing opportunities. It’s about State government overreach, plain and simple. Home rule is premised on the idea that local elected officials are better equipped to understand their communities than lawmakers in Albany. This proposed legislation will override Home Rule and radically change neighborhoods all across the state by effectively ending single family zoning, eliminating local control and requiring transit oriented development in a one-size-fits-all development approach. Thank you to Congressman Tom Suozzi for coming to New Castle and raising awareness about this critical issue.”
Town of North Castle Supervisor Michael Schiliro, who also spoke at Saturday’s press conference, said, “Governor Hochul’s proposal to take away local zoning decisions from towns and villages is out of touch and a perfect example of government overreach. If her plan is enacted, it will fundamentally change towns and municipalities across New York State, including North Castle. Even worse, it will remove the ability of residents and elected officials to do anything about it. Municipalities don’t need New York State dictating local zoning policy – it’s not the Governor’s role. One size does not fit all. Thank you to Congressman Tom Suozzi for raising this issue and fighting for our communities.”
To date, a bevy of elected officials and civic associations across the state including the Nassau County Village Officials Association, Westchester Town Supervisors and Queens Civic Associations have joined Suozzi in opposing the Governor’s far-reaching proposal.
In her State of the State Address, Governor Hochul said, “We’ll fix outdated land use laws that hold back housing supply.”
If adopted, in Hochul’s budget proposal, the state would supersede the zoning authority of local governments and impose its own requirements.
End Single Family Zoning As We Know It
Hochul’s proposal would require at least 1 accessory dwelling unit (ADU) on every owner-occupied in single family zoned areas. ADUs could be built within an existing structure, such as a converted garage, or could be a whole new structure. While the proposal would let localities set size and safety standards for ADUs, it would still drastically alter communities.
Eliminate Home Rule
Under Hochul’s proposal, Towns would no longer have control of their local land use regulations. The proposal would decimate local zoning control, which is the bedrock of New York’s local governments.
Amnesty for Illegal ADUs
The Hochul proposal would mandate amnesty for tens of thousands of illegally converted ADUs in NYC. It would reward slumlords who have housed vulnerable New Yorkers in dangerous spaces for decades. While it would require illegal ADUs to be brought up to code, it would not punish their slumlord owners.
“Having served as both a mayor and county executive, I know local land use planning is the bedrock of local government; zoning and land use planning is one of the key reasons that local governments were created in the first place,” said Suozzi.
Suozzi has been a longtime advocate for additional housing options, including affordable housing, and has especially promoted the creation of “Cool Downtowns” based on the concept of transit-oriented development to be built around train stations.
Photos from Saturday’s press conference are available here.