EAST MEADOW, N.Y. – “SAVE OUR SUBURBS” was the rallying cry heard from a coalition of Long Island leaders after a provision that forced localities to permit Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), also known as apartments, on the property of single-family zoned homes was added to Governor Hochul’s New York State Budget Proposal – a change that would have amounted to a State seizure of power over local zoning regulations and a drastic, unpopular reimagining of New York’s suburban communities.
After a chorus of calls from Supervisor Don Clavin and the Hempstead Town Board rallied the public to fight the State’s takeover of local zoning regulations and the forced legalization of ADUs, Governor Hochul admitted defeat and nixed the proposal from her New York State Budget.
“Governor Hochul’s ill-conceived proposal to legalize accessory dwelling units amounted to an attack on our suburban quality of life here on Long Island,” said Supervisor Clavin. “I am relieved to see that the pressure my colleagues and I placed on the Governor to drop this disastrous plan led to its removal from the state budget, but I will continue to remain vigilant against future attacks on our suburbs by Hochul’s administration in Albany.”
The sweeping changes to New York State housing regulations would have forced urbanization on suburban communities zoned for single family use – unsustainably increasing the population of neighborhoods and placing a significant strain on the local environment, traffic, parking availability, emergency services, police protection, gas and electric supply, sanitary systems, the water supply and local school systems. Indeed, the unpopular community-altering overhaul was sneakily slipped into the Governor’s budget proposal without receiving proper scrutiny beforehand by municipal officials and members of the public.
This dereliction of duty on the part of Governor Hochul drew the ire of elected officials, including Supervisor Don Clavin and the members of the Hempstead Town Board, who noted their displeasure in letters to the Governor. Realizing the need to stop this draconian state overreach, the Hempstead Town officials rallied the public via a petition drive that collected over 12,000 signatures from township residents who demanded their communities be preserved against the policy of forced urbanization being backed by Albany bureaucrats.
The clarion call from Hempstead to fight the Albany bureaucrats’ takeover of Main Street was heard in cities, towns and villages far and wide, with scores of officials from across Nassau County joining Supervisor Clavin in the struggle to save our suburbs. Elected officials who stood alongside Supervisor Clavin in this fight include, 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, Town Council Members Dorothy Goosby, Anthony D’Esposito, Dennis Dunne, Chris Carini, Tom Muscarella and Melissa “Missy” Miller, Town of Oyster Bay Receiver of Taxes Jeff Pravato, Town Clerk Rich LaMarca, Council Members Steve Labriola, Michele Johnson, Lou Imbroto, Tom Hand, Laura Maier and Vicki Walsh, Town of North Hempstead Town Clerk Ragini Srivastava, 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, 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 as well as Nassau Comptroller Elaine Phillips and County Clerk Maureen O’Connell.
The united group of officials from all levels of local government noted that the nixing of the legislation avoided a disastrous slew of outcomes possible for Long Island communities had Governor Hochul not stopped her housing overhaul. Even without the addition of overcrowding caused by accessory dwelling units, many Long Island roadways, schools and other municipal services are already stressed and at capacity – forcing localities to bear the burden of a rapid influx in population spurred by the since-removed ADU proposal would have proven overwhelming to much of our area’s infrastructure.
“The residents of Hempstead Town and all those who call Long Island home deserve the opportunity to have a say in the future of their communities,” said Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby. “The way Governor Hochul went about this change was wrong, and I am glad she has come to her senses and removed this plan from her budget proposal.”
“Thousands of families choose to put down their roots here in Hempstead Town because of the quality of life one can enjoy in our suburban locale,” said Councilman Anthony D’Esposito. “Governor Hochul’s plan to forcibly change the character of our community is wrong and I grateful for the united front of local leaders that forced the Governor to heed our calls and remove the accessory dwelling unit provision from the State’s budget.”
“Long Island is known far and wide for our wonderful communities that are ideal for families to flourish and it is our duty as elected officials to ensure this beauty is preserved,” said Councilman Dennis Dunne, Sr. “We have achieved victory today against Governor Hochul’s disastrous plan, but we must remain vigilant.”
“The united front displayed by local leaders and residents proved overwhelming for Governor Hochul and she was forced to change course on her housing fiasco,” said Councilman Thomas Muscarella. “We will continue to keep the pressure on the Governor and make sure she does right by our hometown.”
“The Governor should know that you can’t mess with the people of Long Island, because Long Islanders won’t back down when their communities are threatened,” said Councilman Christopher Carini. “Hempstead Town will keep the pressure on the Governor, and I urge all my fellow residents to continue making their voices heard by contacting their state senators and demand that they fight for our communities.”
“The suburban quality of life we’ve long enjoyed here on Long Island and in Hempstead Town was threatened by an outside, bureaucratic force, but we stopped it,” said Councilwoman Missy Miller. “The fight is not over however, and we all must ensure that Governor Hochul doesn’t try to interfere with our home rule here in Hempstead.”
While recognizing the Governor’s rollback of the sweeping ADU legalization proposal as a victory for Hempstead Town’s suburban quality of life, the Town Board officials stressed that the needs of seniors and others on fixed incomes relating to housing would not go unaddressed. Indeed, the Town of Hempstead already has in place zoning provisions that provide for senior citizen accessory apartments, as well as “parent/child” property owner setups. The Town officials’ denouncement of the Governor’s legislation stemmed from the inability of local governments to have a say in housing, and the stripping of any municipal control with regard to single-family zoning in Long Island communities.
“Local officials and local residents know best how to zone in the communities they call home without the interference of far-removed Albany bureaucrats who treat our communities and people as nothing more than numbers on a spreadsheet,” noted Supervisor Clavin. “We are going to continue protecting the quality of life we enjoy here in Hempstead Town while continuously seeking solutions that allow for seniors and others on fixed incomes to remain in the communities they’ve grown to love, but we can do that without Hochul’s pontificating from Albany. We need more local control and less Hochul control here in America’s largest township.”