In a welcome departure from her predecessor’s indifference to the housing crisis in the New York City metropolitan area, New York governor Kathy Hochul included pro-housing development proposals in her 2022 State of the State message. I have noted that the details of the proposed legislation would determine its effectiveness, and Hochul has now released legislative language. It is mostly encouraging, save for uncertain effects of proposed property-tax exemption legislation.
The legislation to permit accessory dwelling units sets reasonable standards while overriding many of the devices that local governments might use to thwart homeowners from building such units. Accessory dwelling units are additional, smaller units on a lot occupied by a homeowner; they may be within or detached from the primary unit and can be rented for at least 30 days. Statewide, an extra unit must be permitted on any residential lot. In New York City, the legislation would require an amnesty for the many thousands of additional units in small homes constructed without building permits, including units in cellars and garages that can’t be legalized under current law. The city would establish health and safety standards that would enable the denial of permits. The details of such standards will affect costs, and thus the extent to which units are legalized.
Eric Kober is an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute. He retired in 2017 as director of housing, economic and infrastructure planning at the New York City Department of City Planning. Follow him on Twitter here. Based on a recent MI report.
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