New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Housing Plan Avoids Common Mistake of Other YIMBY Reforms
New York has some of the most restrictive local zoning regimes in the country, resulting in rock-bottom rates of housing construction and sky-high prices.
Now, Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul is proposing to fix this sad status quo by allowing developers to bypass city and town zoning codes altogether and get their housing projects approved directly by a fast-tracked state process.
“Through zoning, local communities hold enormous power to block growth,” said Hochul in her annual State of the State address yesterday. “People want to live here, but local decisions to limit growth mean they cannot. Local governments can and should make different choices.”
In her speech, Hochul announced a Housing Compact strategy that she says will lead to 800,000 new homes being built in the state over the next decade.
To make that happen, her plan would give local governments a goal of growing their housing stock by 1 percent every three years, or in the case of New York City and surrounding communities, 3 percent every three years.
Any new housing would count toward that target, although local governments would get bonus points for approving new below-market-rate, income-restricted “affordable” housing. Cities that miss their growth targets would have to show the state that they’re proactively reducing zoning restrictions on new housing.
If a locality fails to remove zoning restrictions, developers would be allowed to bypass local officials entirely and get their projects approved via the courts or a new housing approval board. A fact sheet on Hochul’s plan says projects appealed to that board “will be approved unless a locality can demonstrate a valid health or safety reason for denying the application.”
Crucially, those projects wouldn’t have to conform to local zoning restrictions. Developers could theoretically use this process to build projects of unlimited density anywhere in a city, although they would have to include some affordable housing units to qualify for state approval.
Hochul’s proposal would, in effect, create similar arrangements to what exists in California and New Jersey.
In both places, the state requires local governments to plan for a
Article from Reason.com