More than a hundred residents filled the auditorium inside the John A. Anderson Recreation Center in Rockville Centre on March 7, to discuss the looming possibility of a state housing mandate.
The New York Housing Compact, which was included as part of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s executive budget proposal calls for the creation of 800,000 new apartment units across the state by 2027. This would require municipalities to adopt land–use regulations on a three-year basis to allow for the development of 50 units per acre.
“Nobody in New York, especially on Long Island is going to take it from (Hochul) and her people,” Mayor Murray said during the meeting. “It’s ridiculous.”
Should the village not meet the requirement, the state could override municipal zoning ordinances, height requirements, parking requirements, and environmental reviews with a fast-track approval process.
According to village officials, this would amount to the construction of 504 new apartment buildings every three years.
To help better gauge what can be done at the state level, village officials invited Assemblyman Brian Curran to discuss methods of stopping the proposal.
“This is not Republican versus Democrat. This is Albany versus Nassau County,” Curran said. “They don’t know what you want and frankly they don’t care.”
Curran said he feels it is a “horrible plan” and that there is no amendment or change that could make it acceptable.
“What I think they might try to do, when they see how many people are against it, they’re going to hold out money,” Curran said.
Since the plan is included in the budget, Curran and other state lawmakers have said that they fear refusing the proposal will come at a price.
“Remember that they can't hold this stuff over us because we want to determine what our village is, what our neighborhoods and communities look like,” he said. “We can’t allow that.”
During the special meeting, several residents also indicated that they had reached out to New York state Senator Kevin Thomas for comment on the plan.
“I look forward to working with the Governor to ensure that any final plan maintains local input and control over housing development,” Thomas said in a statement. “Each community in our state is different – and we, as community members – know their needs the most. I look forward to working on this budget and legislative session's many critical housing issues to ensure we fulfill our important responsibility to help provide a safe and affordable roof over the heads of all New Yorkers.”
Before a budget is adopted, state officials in the Senate and Assembly will each present their one-house proposal before meeting to negotiate the terms of a final spending plan.
Should it still be included, officials say it is likely that there will be legal action to contest it.
Matt Gaven, superintendent of the Rockville Centre school district said that he also met with state officials to discuss the proposal, which he felt was particularly contentious and problematic for all of Long Island, especially Rockville Centre.
“Despite the fact that our student population numbers have remained relatively stable over the last 30 years,” Gaven said during the school board meeting on March 9, “we have struggled with space at three of our elementary schools, and our Pre-K program is currently housed at the Oceanside JCC.”
Kelly Barry, school board president, echoed this sentiment. “We all know the reality of the lack of available existing space in our district, and we will continue to communicate with the village on this matter.”
To learn more about the proposal and additional resources to contact state legislators, visit RVCNY.gov.