Business Organizations Tell Westchester Delegation Housing Incentives Alone Will Not Work in County
By JOHN JORDAN – April 18, 2023
TARRYTOWN—The chief executives of five major business organizations in Westchester County have jointly sent a letter to the Westchester State Delegation urging them that incentives alone will not solve the housing crisis in Westchester County and therefore lawmakers should enact some key facets of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s “New York Housing Compact” plan.
The letter was signed by: John T. Cooney Jr., Executive Director, Construction Industry Council of Westchester & Hudson Valley, Inc.; Jan Fisher, Executive Director, Nonprofit Westchester; Tim Foley, CEO, Building and Realty Institute of Westchester and the Mid-Hudson Region; Jana Currier, Interim CEO and COO, Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors; and Michael N. Romita, President and CEO, Westchester County Association.
Noting the recently released one-house budget proposals by the Assembly and Senate offer incentives to foster needed housing development and an increase in infrastructure spending as compared to Gov. Hochul’s plan, the business groups noted in the letter: “We have consistently advocated for setting clear housing growth targets (including transit-oriented development) coupled with
consequences for not meeting those targets. Incentives alone will not succeed.” Gov. Hochul’s plan sets targets for housing development and consequences for failure to meet those targets.
At press time, housing reform was one of the key issues still being debated by legislative leaders and Gov. Hochul. The budget deadline has been extended from its original deadline of April 1 to reach an agreement until the end of April 17.
The letter also cited Westchester’s historic battle with the federal government over fair housing and noted that “even with court appointed supervision, repeated intervention in favor of local projects, and $70 million of additional county spending, it took 15 years to build 750 additional units of housing—far short of the 11,700 units deemed needed by the county’s most recent housing needs assessment.”
The business groups concluded by stating: “Additional support for infrastructure is welcome, as is flexibility for communities to decide how best to meet their housing goals. However, incentives alone (including the withholding of financial support), without clear growth targets coupled with consequences and enforcement for noncompliance, will bring no change in high-income, historically exclusionary suburbs such as Westchester where more housing opportunities are needed most.”