A Testing Ground for Affordable Housing Policy

Westchester County, a predominantly white and wealthy area of the New York City region, is trying out an array of techniques and zoning policies to ensure that its stock of affordable housing is dramatically increased in the coming years.

Westchester County has recently adopted a model ordinance to provide a template for affordable housing projects that is easier for local governments to follow than the status quo. The adoption of the model ordinance template is just one step that the county is taking to ensure that an ambitious housing plan to create 750 below-market homes within existing communities.

"But that did not keep the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, which brokered the settlement, from announcing last week that another element of the plan, the county's 'analysis of impediments' to fair housing, was 'incomplete and unacceptable.' In a letter to the county, H.U.D. said Westchester had failed to set forth strategies to overcome exclusionary land-use approval processes and zoning ordinances. The agency gave the county until April 1 to revise its analysis."

"The settlement signed in August 2009 calls for Westchester to spend $51.6 million over seven years to create the homes. Norma Drummond, the county's deputy commissioner for planning, said the model ordinance accepted last month could help municipalities streamline some aspects of preparation for new housing."

Full Story: In Westchester, Mixed Progress on Affordable Housing

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