Op-Ed: Governor Hochul’s Assault on “Home Rule” & Local Zoning
By Mayor Jean Thatcher
I write to alert you to a really alarming provision that your Governor intends to insert
into the 2023-24 NY State budget. Dubbed the “New York Housing Compact”, it is targeted at destroying local zoning control.
It would MANDATE multi-family and high density housing everywhere across NY State and impose target dates and penalties (taxes) for non-compliance.
Within three years 800,000 new housing units are to be built in NY State - 38,000 housing units in Nassau/Suffolk alone. This is a deliberate, outrageous and targeted assault on “Home Rule,” a concept embedded in the NYS Constitution (Article IX) which guarantees villages, towns and municipal entities control over local zoning, “property affairs and government.”
This assault will silence your voice and the voice of your local government.
You should know that State government “mandates” are a deadly slippery slope. This “NYS Housing Compact” is last year’s proposed ADU (accessory dwelling unit) mandate on steroids. The Governor’s underhanded stealth technique is to add an amendment to the budget, forcing legislators to vote against the entire budget in order to eliminate a single provision.
Once the State gets into the “mandate” business anything is fair game: Mandating dissolution of your local Police; public access to your Village Park; control & (lack of) maintenance/plowing of your roads; whether local officials are forced to run on a national party line as opposed to independently... the list of abusive mandates is endless.
These and so much more are local issues which should be decided by local residents and local governments who know and care about the needs
and desires of the local community.
In the case of the proposed “NY Housing Compact” the State knows NOTHING about your local community - and cares less. There has not been the slightest thought given to items such as environmental impact, utilities, emergency services, traffic, parking, sanitation, sewer systems, school system capacity,
etc., etc...let alone the type of community in which you want to live.
Governor Kathy Hochul is a former Town Councilwoman who should have learned the fundamental importance of local control in response to the needs of local residents. Clearly, the lure of raw power trumps any modicum of comprehension, common sense or regard for the desires of her constituents, is gone.
The level of condescendtion and the attitude that constituents are either too ignorant to know what is best for them, or too distracted by the demands of making a living on Long Island to notice the Governor’s intention, is appalling. The Governor pretends that “out-migration” from NYS is the result of a housing crunch that a “one size fits all” mandate can fix. She would be far better advised to confront the real reasons for “outmigration.”
Among these are the progressive criminal justice agenda that she either feels powerless to control or unable to rein-in, and the fact that NYS ranks #49 in the State Business Climate Index.
The Suffolk Village Officials Association and its Counsel Peter Bee (Bee Ready Fishbein, Hatter & Donovan) have alerted all 32 Villages in Suffolk County to this matter, and is working with municipalities in Nassau County, and across the State, in opposition to this budget item and its ramifications.
NYS Senator Mario Mattera and Assemblyman Keith Brown have registered vehement and articulate opposition to the “New York Housing Compact,” and to any attempt to insert it into the NYS Budget.
Your voice is critical to preserving local control over the character of local communities. Please help protect your community by printing, signing and mailing the letter below to Governor Hochul. Send a copy to your State Senator and Assemblyman. (Letter below)
Jean Thatcher is Mayor of the Village of Lloyd Harbor and current President of the Suffolk County Village Officials Association, representing 32 villages and some 130,000 residents.
Honorable Kathy Hochul
Governor, State of New York
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Dear Governor Hochul:
We write to express our extreme opposition to the "New York Housing Compact " and any effort to " backdoor" this provision into the 2023-24 State budget. This is targeted at undermining local zoning control. It is a deliberate and outrageous assault on "Home Rule," a concept embedded in the NY State constitution.
We ask that you respect the desire of your constituents to govern their local zoning and other affairs. Local issues should be the purview of local residents and local governments who know the needs and desires of local communities. Mandating a "one size fits all" approach to housing or any other local issue is doomed to failure, and will only breed resentment and distrust on the part of your constituents.
We ask that you remove the "New York Housing Compact" or any similar measures from the 2023-24 State budget.