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Governor Hochul’s Executive Order Promotes Construction of Housing

 

On July 18, 2023, Governor Hochul signed Executive Order No. 30 designed to promote additional housing construction throughout the State—a goal from Hochul’s Housing Compact that did not pass in the latest budget. The Order focuses on actions taken by “Affected State Entities,” which include executive agencies and public and local authorities, and by “Localities,” which are cities, towns and villages.

In the Order, Governor Hochul establishes that it is a “matter of State concern and the policy of the State” that localities and their municipal entities must begin taking steps to address “overly restrictive” housing policies and practices and “to encourage and support the production of housing across New York, especially multifamily, affordable, and supportive housing developments.”

The Order establishes a certification system—the “Pro-Housing Community Program Certification”—for Localities. The certification is given by the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, based on criteria it establishes, to Localities that have “taken steps to prioritize housing growth.” The Division also has the discretion to establish a tiered system for these certifications. This certification is important when Localities are applying for funds for housing programs.

The Order authorizes Affected State Entities that administer “Pro-Housing Community Programs” to prioritize the awarding of funds to certified Localities that applied for funding for these types of programs. Greater prioritization is given to Localities that fall in a higher tier of certification. However, Localities that are not certified will not necessarily be deprioritized if their application is specifically for funding housing development or for “non-housing investments” that are related to a particular housing development.

Examples of Pro-Housing Community Programs include the Mid-Hudson Momentum Fund, the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, and NY Forward. The Order also leaves space for other kinds of pro-housing programs, i.e., any other program where the current or future appropriation for the program designates it as a Pro-Housing Community Program.

The Order directs all Affected State Entities to consider the goal of creating additional housing when drafting any policy or making any programmatic decisions. It also requires all Affected State Entities to review any developed or undeveloped parcels of land that fall under their ownership and control for the purpose of identifying potential sites for housing development. Parcels include those owned and controlled by the State University of New York, the Metropolitan Transit Authority, the New York State Department of Transportation, and their subsidiaries.

How does this affect municipalities and housing authorities?

For municipalities: The Order encourages municipalities to receive the Pro-Housing Community Program Certification, especially if they are applying for funds to support these kinds of programs and want to receive that prioritization. The funding could be used for revitalizing a village’s downtown, building mixed-use housing and related infrastructure, and for initiatives that promote local tourism.

For housing authorities: Municipal housing authorities would likely fall under the definition of an Affected State Entity, as a public authority or public benefit corporation. This would empower the municipal housing authorities to engage in the prioritization system of awarding funds to certified Localities, if these authorities administer Pro-Housing Community Programs.

This is not to be considered legal advice.  You should contact an attorney to discuss your specific situation.


Isabelle Hayes is an intern concentrating in municipal and land use law.  She can be reached at 845-764-9656 and by email.

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