At the Affordable and Workforce housing conference it was noted that 200 years of smart growth was phased out in the 1950's . Prior to this period houses were constructed on a half acre or less. Many of the Dutchess County villages and hamlets are an example of this type of planning. Then came sprawl. The trend going forward will be once again compact or cluster development.
Some of the questions that will have to be considered are:
- Where should the development go?
- Who will it affect?
- Is it a housing friendly area?
- Is the infrastructure sufficient for sustainable growth?
It was also pointed out several times that affordable housing should be tied to land use, for example if land is to be put into a Land Trust some of the land should be set aside for affordable housing.
Examples were given of towns addressing the land use issue. Red Hook, for example, has been proactive in land preservation and have been actively involved with the purchase of property rights to save some of the farms in the area.
A very interesting point was made that smart growth is a two step process; many towns are doing the preservation part but have not fully addressed the second part, affordable housing.
Rhinebeck and Fishkill were two towns mentioned that have addressed affordable housing by including it in their master plan. The point was made that any new development should include at least 10-20 percent of affordable housing.
Impediments to affordable housing were also discussed. They are:
- Property Taxes
What will the Hudson Valley need to do in the near future?
- Address infrastructure- some towns lack a sewer system.
- Zoning - many of our zoning laws are not family friendly
- Change fundamentals to implement smart growth.
There is a fundamental demographic shift
- 80 Million boomers near retirement - these people want to remain in the community but want homes with less maintenance.
- Gen X and Y looking for a different kind of housing
- Immigrants - smaller units, rentals and multi-family
The problem is that there is a disconnect in the marketplace, developers building homes that do not address these specific needs. A major problem is the land use. This is a fundamental that will have to change. So many times a housing need is identified but is denied by the town because it does not conform to the existing land use.
So with smart growth or compact growth we should see higher density units, redevelopment and infill of villages and hamlets. Robert Yaro demonstrated that the Hudson Valley should capitalize on its proximity to the largest metropolitan area, NYC. After all NYC will need to partner with the Hudson Valley to meet affordable housing needs by 2030.
Towns in MA and CT were cited as examples of areas where new incentives were given to provide affordable housing. Once again it was mentioned that many of the existing zoning laws zone out families. Another mechanism that has been used to address affordable housing is the establishment of Land Bank Communities, another development that is gaining ground is Transit Oriented Development which, as gas prices rise, will become even more important..
Now is a great time to plan for the next boom, therefore municipalities should retrofit existing approved developments to address affordable housing.
Another idea proposed was that towns should be proactive by getting generic SEQRA studies on areas identified as growth areas and assessing infrastructure needs.
Jennifer Fivelsdal - JFIVE HOMES REALTY LLC - 845-758-6842- email@example.com
Copyright © by Jennifer Fivelsdal, all rights reserved-Highlights From The affordable And Workforce Housing Conference in Dutchess County Part 2