As the deadline for the New York State Budget looms April 1st, Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin joined with Assemblyman Ed Ra this past Monday to lead a collective of local elected officials from all over New York State to rally in opposition to a provision in the budget that would remove local control over zoning laws. The protestors, equipped with signs and banners reading “Local Control, Not Hochul Control” stood inside the New York State Capitol Building in unison, where they brought the fight to Albany in the event Governor Hochul could not hear the countless cries of outrage from all over New York State. The collective included Rockville Centre Mayor Fran Murray – president of the New York Association of Mayors and Town Supervisors from Wallkill, Clay, Salina, Lysander, Cicero, Pittsford, Saint Johnsville, Granby, Chester, Mount Hope and more. Also in attendance were Senator Anthony Palumbo, Senator Steve Rhoads, Senator Dean Murray, Lynbrook Mayor Alan Beach and environmental expert Eric Swenson, Director of the Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee and Secretary to the Friends of the Bay.
“America’s largest township has been very vocal against Governor Hochul’s plan to remove local authority over zoning laws,” said Supervisor Clavin. “From a petition of more than 20,000 signatures to multiple denouncements of the housing plan, Governor Hochul continues to ignore her constituents. Removing the ability for local municipalities to oversee their housing development is wrong, and that’s why we brought a collective voice from all over New York State to Albany – where we know she’ll hear us.”
“The message is clear: Local Control, Not Hochul Control,” said Assemblyman Ra. “The call has been repeated time and time again, this time we’re bringing the statewide call right to Albany. As the budget deadline draws near, I urge Governor Hochul to listen to the hundreds of municipalities who stand in opposition to her egregious housing plan.”
The provision that has spurred outrage from residents and elected officials all over the state is the New York State Housing Compact – a plan in the Governor’s proposed budget that would oversee the building of 800,000 homes in New York State over the next decade. Included in this plan, is the authority to override local zoning laws, allowing high density multifamily housing to be developed in areas zoned for single-family housing. This plan ignores input from local municipalities and seeks to increase the amount of housing units by 1% in upstate counties, and 3% on Long Island.
Also included in the New York State Housing Compact is a provision that would force high-density housing around every MTA Station (especially the Long Island Rail Road) in a half-mile radius. Neighbors would see multifamily high-rises built in suburban single-family neighborhoods, and they would lose their ability to retain the desired suburban quality-of-life that many seek when moving to these neighborhoods.
The officials outlined serious concerns that a population influx would bring: an increase in the amount of traffic on roadways, the number of children in schools and the strain on local infrastructure such as sewage. The officials reiterated that they are not against an increase in housing, just opposed to the proposed override of local zoning laws. In the Town of Hempstead alone, transit-oriented building developments are already underway in the Village of Lynbrook and the hamlets of Baldwin and West Hempstead.