Continuing the Fight for Housing in New York State

After the governor’s ambitious housing proposal failed to make headway in the state legislature, one lawyer argues Hochul should use executive power to move the needle forward on housing production.

2 minute read

May 14, 2023, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

The failure of New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposed housing plan came as no surprise to Craig Gurian, executive director of the Anti-Discrimination Center of New York. In an article in Gothamist, Herb Pinder and Elizabeth Shwe provide highlights from a conversation with Gurian, whose legal group “won a novel court settlement compelling Westchester towns to build hundreds of affordable housing units” almost 14 years ago—“and met resistance at nearly every turn – not unlike Hochul’s failed plan.”

The governor’s housing plan, which called for 800,000 new housing units and would have given the state broad powers over zoning, fell apart amidst heated debate and criticism from both sides of the aisle in the state legislature. Gurian asserts that developer incentives, the preferred method for increasing the affordable housing supply, are clearly not enough to boost housing supply. “I think the word that's applicable is “delusional.” We've had decade after decade of incentives or requests or targets, and they never work.”

Gurian says Gov. Hochul should use the executive tools at her disposal to take meaningful action despite the legislature’s stalemate on housing. “There is a specific legal doctrine in New York State that allows building even when a locality opposes, when the state's interest is superior to the localities. Given the crisis, there's no question that the state's interest would be found to be superior, so I think that Governor Hochul should be using that doctrine.”

Wednesday, May 10, 2023 in Gothamist

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