Bill to Allow NYC to Legalize Some Accessory Dwelling Units

Senator Brian Kavanagh and Assemblymember Harvey Epstein (BrianKavanagh.org, NYassembly, iStock)

Senator Brian Kavanagh and Assemblymember
Harvey Epstein (BrianKavanagh.org, NYassembly, iStock)

The phrase “shall” comes with numerous baggage.

When Gov. Kathy Hochul rolled out her govt finances payments, one stated localities “shall” create guidelines to permit accent dwelling items on single-family tons. An uproar amongst Lengthy Island lawmakers and residents pressured her to remove the proposal from her finances.

However there could also be one other approach. Lawmakers are pushing a measure unique to New York Metropolis, the place granny flats are much less controversial and luxuriate in extra political help.

The invoice would permit, however not drive, town to create a pathway for constructing homeowners to carry their unlawful items — basement residences and different accent dwelling items — as much as code with out the state’s a number of dwelling regulation getting in the way in which.

The measure, sponsored by Sen. Brian Kavanagh and Meeting member Harvey Epstein, intently mirrors language Hochul promoted after axing her statewide proposal, which required town to create an amnesty program for constructing homeowners seeking to carry their items as much as code. That proposal was additionally overlooked of the finances, together with several other housing measures.

State and metropolis officers held a rally in Queens on Thursday in help of the measure, which additionally has the backing of the Adams administration. The invoice may pave the way in which for tens of 1000’s of basement items to grow to be authorized residences.

The deaths of 11 New Yorkers in flooded basement residences throughout Hurricane Ida renewed calls to deal with such items and the reluctance of their tenants to report unsafe situations.

The bill would give tenants faraway from a since-legalized unit first dibs on renting it. That provision appears to acknowledge {that a} landlord may have to filter out a unit to do renovations to make it legally liveable. It additionally acknowledges that elected officers is not going to cross a invoice that leads to any tenants shedding their properties.

Critics of the governor’s proposal stated the state was usurping native management over zoning. Her political opponents claimed it might finish single-family housing, though it neither barred such housing nor mandated the development of ADUs.

Republican Rob Astorino even claimed it might “abolish suburbs.” Democrat Rep. Thomas Suozzi, who like Astorino is vying for Hochul’s job, stated he doesn’t oppose accent dwelling items, simply any state-level mandate that localities should permit them.

“If a local municipality decides they want ADUs and puts the proper safety precautions in place, I would never try and supplant my judgment for theirs,” Suozzi stated in an announcement Thursday.

Backers of a statewide mandate imagine giving municipalities an choice to do nothing would end in few housing items being added. However passing such a measure is tough, particularly in an election 12 months.

Lawmakers now appear centered on giving localities the flexibleness to make these choices on their very own. A separate bill, sponsored by Southampton Meeting member Fred Thiele, calls on the state to create an incentive program for creating ADUs in municipalities the place they’re already authorized. Another measure requires all localities to review inexpensive housing choices, akin to ADUs.

Epstein stated the legislature must “regroup” on legalizing ADUs all through the state.

“We heard a lot during the budget process that we needed to focus on local control,” he stated in an interview Friday. He famous {that a} pilot program in East New York to legalize basement residences fell quick, partially, due to obstacles posed by state regulation.

The state invoice promoted on the rally Thursday offers town the power to deal with unlawful residences on a bigger scale. “If you are concerned about health and safety,” Epstein stated, “this is your chance to do something.”

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