How New York Suburbs Are Tackling the Housing Crisis

Some small cities are proposing zoning code reforms and new taxes to address the growing housing shortage in the greater New York area.

1 minute read

October 27, 2022, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Downtown Kingston, New York with historic four-story buildings

Brian Logan Photography / Kingston, New York

Writing in New York Focus, Sam Mellins examines the housing shortage facing New York suburbs, and how some communities are working to address it.

As Mellins points out, “In the 2010s, New York’s suburbs in the Hudson Valley and on Long Island built three times less housing per capita than the city’s New Jersey suburbs, thanks largely to restrictive zoning regulations.” Now, some are changing how they view growth and acknowledging the growing affordability crisis. 

Mellins provides some examples, such as Kingston, which is completely rewriting its zoning code. “Kingston is seeking to enable the creation of new housing stock through a citywide rezoning that will eliminate nearly all single family-only housing zones in the city; abolish parking minimums, which frequently limit space available for housing; and place restrictions on short-term rentals like Airbnbs.” Kingston also passed a rent stabilization ordinance this year which will affect renters in roughly ten percent of its housing units.

In the Hamptons, where permanent residents struggle to find affordable housing, “On November 8, locals will vote on one proposed response: a half-percent tax on high-value home sales. The money would go to a fund reserved for affordable housing projects or financial assistance for first-time homebuyers.”

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