The mayors of several of the largest cities in the Hudson Valley came together to author
this op-ed in support of @GovKathyHochul’s efforts to promote housing growth. Full text of our letter follows below.
In the New York Housing Compact, Gov. Kathy Hochul has proposed an effective, flexible and comprehensive strategy for addressing our region’s increasingly urgent housing crisis. As the mayors of the largest cities in the Hudson Valley, we have seen firsthand the critical importance of housing growth to New York’s economic and environmental future, and we view the Housing Compact as a vital and positive step forward.
The present housing shortage is bad for everybody – raising costs, constraining job opportunities, and reducing the competitiveness of the entire New York region. To meet this challenge, a successful housing policy must strike a careful balance: facilitating housing production at sufficient scale to confront the shortage, while also respecting the distinct characteristics, capacities, and goals of New York’s highly diverse communities.
The Housing Compact strikes this balance well by providing local governments with practical tools and financial incentives to craft housing plans that best fit their needs and circumstances, drawing from an extensive menu of options. Contrary to some misimpressions, it does not impose one-size-fits-all requirements, nor does it abrogate the environmental review and oversight process.
More specifically, the proposal provides:
$250 million for necessary infrastructure upgrades,
$20 million for planning and technical assistance to support local efforts,
$15 million to help localities track progress through statewide maps, and
$4 million to establish a statewide Housing Planning Office.
Additionally, the governor recently announced the $150 million Mid-Hudson Momentum Fund to support projects that involve mixed-use housing, transit-oriented development, and housing-related infrastructure.
Housing opponents often portray growth as a threat or burden, posing a false choice between housing development and community character. Our experience shows clearly that this view is simply wrong. In our cities, new housing has generated enormous benefits — breathing economic and cultural energy into our downtowns, enabling young people to remain in the communities where they were raised, permitting retirees to age in place, strengthening our local tax bases, and improving our environment through energy efficiency and reduced car dependency. At the same time,we have preserved and even expanded open space, while improving the quality of life in urban and suburban neighborhood.
The general public gets it, with recent polling showing that 66% of residents have a favorable view of the Housing Compact and 73% are in support of transit-oriented development in their communities. This groundswell for action, combined with the governor’s visionary leadership, creates a generational opportunity for real progress, anopportunity that we must not miss.
Like any ambitious and wide-ranging proposal, the Housing Compact leaves room for discussion about its specific provisions, and we welcome the constructive engagement of municipal colleagues in getting the details rights. But let’s not allow myths or unjustified fears to stand in the way of a more sustainable, prosperous and equitable future.
Thomas Roach, White Plains
Noam Bramson, New Rochelle
Vivian McKenzie, Peekskill
Marc Nelson, Poughkeepsie
Joe DeStefano, Middletown
Torrance Harvey, Newburgh
Steve Noble, Kingston
Lee Kyriaciou, Beacon
Kelly Decker, Port Jervis