Dozens of angry and outraged officials at the state, county, town, city and village level slammed a provision of Governor Hochul’s State Budget Proposal, which effectively eliminates single family home zoning across New York State. The proposal is buried within the Governor’s Budget Proposal, and it mandates that localities permit Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), also known as apartments, on the property of homes that are currently zoned for single family use. The maneuver has been called a sneaky assault on the suburbs, and it is certain to have profoundly negative impacts on the environment, traffic, parking, emergency services, police protection, gas and electric supply, sanitary sewers and water supply, as well as the local school systems. In response, the officials have drafted letters to the Governor, demanding that the legislation be nixed. Additionally, local elected representatives are calling upon Long Island residents to contact the Governor to express outrage and demand that the legislation be removed from the Governor’s Budget Bill.
Among the representatives who attended the press briefing in front of a home in East Meadow were Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, Nassau Legislature Majority Leader Rich Nicolello, Town of Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin, Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joe Saladino, Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jen DeSena, Glen Cove City Mayor Pam Panzenbeck, Town of Hempstead Receiver of Taxes Jeanine Driscoll, Town Clerk Kate Murray, Hempstead Town Council Members Anthony D’Esposito, Dennis Dunne, Chris Carini and Tom Muscarella, Town of Oyster Bay Receiver of Taxes Jeff Pravato, Oyster Bay Town Clerk Rich LaMarca, Oyster Bay Town Council Members Steve Labriola, Michele Johnson, Lou Imbroto, Tom Hand, Laura Maier and Vicki Walsh, Town of North Hempstead Town Clerk Ragini Srivastava, North Hempstead Town Council Members Dennis Walsh and David Adhami, City of Glen Cove Council Members Joseph Capobianco, Kevin Maccarone, Jack Mancusi and Barbara Peebles, State Assembly Members Ed Ra, Dave McDonough, John Mikulin, Missy Miller, Michael Montesano and Michael Durso, Nassau Legislators Denise Ford, Bill Gaylor, Howard Kopel, John Giuffre, Mazi Melesa Pilip, James Kennedy, Tom McKevitt, Laura Schaefer, John Ferretti, Rose Walker and Steve Rhoads. Also present were Nassau Comptroller Elaine Phillips and County Clerk Maureen O’Connell. In addition, a large contingent of village mayors attended the press conference.
Some of those in attendance included Island Park Mayor Michael McGinty, Valley Stream Mayor Ed Fare, Lynbrook Village Mayor Alan Beach, Kensington Village Mayor Susan Lopatkin, Stewart Manor Village Mayor Michael Onorato, Village of Stewart Manor, East Hills Village Mayor Michael Koblen, Munsey Park Mayor Lawrence Cerrielo, East Williston Mayor Bonnie Parente and Village of Great Neck Mayor Bart Sobel, among others.
“Governor Hochul has declared war on the suburbs, the environment, local infrastructure, our schools, accessible parking and manageable traffic, among all of the other benefits that go along with the suburban quality of life that we enjoy on Long Island,” said Town of Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin. “People have moved to Long Island to enjoy a residential quality of life, and the Governor has launched a full-scale assault on our family-friendly communities…we will not stand for it.”
Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino stated, “This policy is a direct attack on suburbia and will turn our neighborhoods into the overcrowded urban centers that most residents fled from in order to live here. From overcrowding classrooms to compromising public safety, destroying our environment and increasing the carbon footprint, this radical policy will destroy our suburban quality of life and guarantee property taxes go through the roof. It’s an attack on suburbia and should upset every resident of Long Island for a long list of reasons. We must keep Long Island as a suburban community with single family homes.”
“When I researched the Governor’s State Budget Proposal, I was astonished to find that she buried this offensive legislation, which constitutes a sneaky attempt to destroy the suburbs,” commented Nassau Legislator Tom McKevitt. “Long Island neighbors will not stand for this attempt to urbanize suburbia by outlawing single-family homes.”
The legislation essentially strips away the “home rule” authority of localities, eliminating the ability of local governments to determine zoning that is consistent with the character of communities and the wishes of neighbors throughout those jurisdictions. The local officials at the press conference further indicated that New York’s Governor is intent on imposing a one-size-fits-all approach to housing, controlled by Albany bureaucrats. In specific, Hochul’s “assault on the suburbs” legislation mandates that every home in New York State be permitted to have at least one accessory dwelling unit, creating multi-family housing all across the state, with a single stroke of the pen.
“My parents, both of whom were World War II veterans, taught me a lot about standing up to those who attempt to force their will upon others,” said Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman. “Long Island families work hard to achieve the American dream of homeownership and enjoy a suburban way of life. We cannot let the Governor destroy suburbia nor turn Nassau County into the sixth borough of New York City.”
The officials noted that aside from the undesirable change in character that is attendant to the Governor’s legislation, her ill-conceived urbanization project does not contemplate the adverse impacts it will have on several facets of community quality-of-life, the environment, local infrastructure, and numerous other facets of suburban life. Dramatic increases in traffic, without providing needed traffic control measures would overwhelm local roadways. Increased parking on local roadways would make residential roadways impassable for firefighters and emergency service vehicles. A delicate sole-source aquifer would be threatened by increased demand. Garbage collection is at capacity for several area governments. Local schools are not equipped to deal with the influx of students, and homeowners would be burdened with the increased taxes required to attempt to address increased demand for services. Sanitary sewage treatment is already stressed beyond its limits on Long Island. The costs associated with more law enforcement and increased roadway maintenance also fall squarely on the shoulders of homeowners. And, while government leaders are addressing issues associated with climate change, this legislation will undoubtedly exacerbate our carbon footprint. Maybe that is why the State apparently exempts itself from its own environmental impact reviews that it requires of other significant developments (SEQR reviews).
Perhaps most troubling, this proposal will also allow essentially a second house to be built in any yard, regardless of open space requirements whose purpose is to allow for air and sunlight throughout properties.
“The negative impacts of this legislation are far-reaching, negative and irreversible,” stated Nassau County Legislature Majority Leader Rich Nicolello. “This is an aggressive overreach by the Governor on behalf of urban interests, while taking punitive action against hard-working families who have worked to provide their families with the blessings of tranquil backyards and quiet and safe streets on which to ride bicycles.”
“The Governor’s efforts to circumvent municipal zoning laws and phase out the voices of local officials and neighbors is just another effort to further Albany’s agenda to squash our suburban way of life,” Nassau County Comptroller Elaine Phillips said. “Our hardworking residents deserve better from Albany, and we call on neighbors to join us in saying “NO” to the Governor’s plan to eliminate single-family homes.”
“Nassau County is a wonderful place in which to work, live and play, but Albany politicians are looking to destroy that with one stroke of the pen,” Nassau County Clerk Maureen O’Connell said. “This proposed legislation by the Governor would destroy single-family homes, negatively altering our suburban communities for generations – we must all join together to put a stop to it now.”
The officials also sought to dispel a red-herring issue that some proponents of the Governor’s urbanization plan have put forth. In specific, some have sought to cast the law as a way in which senior citizens on a fixed income could access in order to remain in the homes they love. However, this proposed legislation does not restrict it to senior citizens. It allows such units to all homes throughout the state. In response, Hempstead Town officials noted that they already have zoning provisions that already allow accessory apartments for senior citizens, as well as or “parent/child” property owners.
“The Town of North Hempstead is renowned for its beautiful tree-lined streets, safe and quiet neighborhoods, environmental responsibility and commitment to a uniquely suburban quality-of-life,” announced North Hempstead Supervisor Jennifer DeSena. “The legislation proposed in the Governor’s budget is a direct attack on our suburban communities. This cannot be allowed to go forward, and I will work tirelessly to defeat it on behalf of those who have elected me.”
“The City of Glen Cove, like all local governments, is attentive to the zoning needs of our community,” stated Glen Cove Mayor Pam Panzenbeck. “The Governor’s on-size-fits-all urban zoning plan does not work in Glen Cove and will hurt its residents.”
Village mayors reacted with virtual unanimity in opposition to the Governor’s plan. Speaking on behalf of Mayors in attendance was Mayor Michael McGinty of the Village of Island Park. “Our local villages provide high quality services to our residents with limited resources,” stated McGinty “Doing away with single-family homes will overwhelm our infrastructure, destroy the character of hometowns and change our beautiful suburbs into overcrowded urban centers. Village officials will line up against this terrible legislation.”
The local officials have indicated that they have written to the Governor and state legislators to register their unqualified opposition to the Governor’s plan to urbanize the suburbs. Additionally, they are calling upon local neighbors to contact the Governor and State Legislators to demand the Governor remove her proposal to eliminate single-family homes across New York State. Visit https://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form to submit your comments on this issue and make your voices heard.