Hochul “Mass Housing” Plan Withdrawn - for Now
By Thomas Nothel
Governor Kathy Hochul’s plan to force-build 800,000 units of high-density mostly low-income housing in New York was withdrawn – but only for this year. Hochul announced that a budget agreement was reached with the Legislature that dropped her housing proposal.
In what is being called “a victory for the New York Suburbs,” Hochul’s controversial plan to build 800,000 units of “affordable” housing was not included in the Budget Agreement.
The Hochul plan would have mandated the construction of 800,000 units of high-density housing – sufficient to house 3.2 million people - by mandating zoning changes to override local towns and villages zoning codes, and suspending environmental laws to override the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulations.
Long Island elected officials, such as Oyster Bay Supervisor Joe Saladino and North Hempstead Supervisor Jennifer DeSena held rallies to demand “keep local control” and “local rule, not Hochul-rule.”
Polling showed that the Hochul housing plan was massively unpopular in the Long Island suburbs, and local environmental groups such as Friends of the Bay issued press releases and op-ed articles denouncing the Hochul plan as “bad for the environment.”
The decisive factor was that suburban state legislators – both Republicans and Democrats – nearly unanimously opposed the Hochul plan, and pressed their leaders in the State Senate and State Assembly to block it.
Hochul was heavily funded for election last year by major construction and real estate developers, who would have stood to reap billions in profits from the mass construction envisioned in Hochul's plan.
The $229 Billion Budget agreement was finally reached last week - nearly a month past the April 1, 2023 deadline.
The issue was not affordable housing but the approach of the Governor and scope of the project. Local municipalities did not want New York State mandating local zoning laws - or overriding environmental protections.
The 38,000 housing units that Hochul proposed for Nassau County by the end of 2025 would have been an environmental catastrophe. It would also put a huge strain on local government budgets, municipal services, schools and local Utilities. It would also affect the residents’ quality of life. People move to Suburbs for a less crowded lifestyle.
The Governor is expected continue pushing for her housing plan – next year.