In January, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a sweeping statewide housing proposal with the eventual goal of creating 800,000 new units within 10 years in order to alleviate a sustained supply crunch in one of the most expensive states in the country to buy or rent.
The plan ultimately fell flat with the state Legislature. On Tuesday, Hochul outlined her previously promised plans to address the issue through her own powers as the state's chief executive.
The governor through executive order will set aside $650 million in discretionary money in order to spur housing statewide. After the tax abatement program meant to spur affordable housing construction known as 421a lapsed, Hochul is moving to create a smaller bore version of the incentive in Gowanus, Brooklyn.
Hochul plans to use state-owned properties as potential sites for housing as well. And she wants to monitor through a public data dashboard communities' efforts to expand housing by creating friendlier policies, including zoning.
"I still believe we need a comprehensive solution to meet the scale of this housing crisis," Hochul said while appearing in Brooklyn on Tuesday afternoon. "We're still pursuing it. But that does not mean we need to freeze in time."
The order to address the 421a expiration will apply only to Gowanus and is meant to "mirror" the since expired tax abatement. The move is expected to jumpstart construction for thousands of new units of housing, Hochul said.
The hundreds of millions of dollars will be targeted to "pro-housing communities," Hochul said. Questions remain over the precise details of how the money will be awarded. But Hochul wants local governments to approve binding resolutions detailing how they will expand housing in order to access the money.
State-owned land would be repurposed, meamwhile, to also spur housing development.
"I look at properties very differently," she said. "I see life. I see families. I see businesses."
Overall, communities must move to expand housing by 3% over the next three years.
Hochul had signaled for weeks plans to take action on her own after housing talks fell apart with the Legislature when the session concluded in June.
The governor had wanted to encourage more housing in New York with a proposal that would have allowed state officials to override local zoning for some projects that meet key criteria. The provision drew bipartisan opposition from suburban and upstate lawmakers.
An extension of 421a, meanwhile, had been supported by developers, but labor unions had raised concerns with a straight re-approval of the measure.
Hochul indicated on Tuesday she plans a revamped effort for broader housing plan when the Legislature returns in January.
"Any legislator who wants to be part of the solution and this sense of urgency, I believe you'll be rewarded by your constituents," she said. "At the end of the day, what kind of state do we want to be?"