Late on February 17th, Governor Hochul released her 30-day amendments to her Executive Budget Proposal. Most of the amendments were purely technical, fixing a spelling mistake or a numbering error, but there were two new sections added to the Transportation and Economic Development (TED) budget proposal. The first new section (Part GGG) would place the commercial driver’s license Class A young adult driver training program within the purview of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The second (Part HHH) would increase the amount of grant funding the Urban Development Corporation d/b/a Empire State Development can provide to residential properties under the Restore New York grant program. New Part HHH would also make rural communities eligible for participation in the Restore New York program.
Another notable highlight of the amendments: the Governor removed her proposal to streamline the creation of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) statewide even if local zoning did not allow for ADUs. The amended proposal now focuses only on authorizing New York City to legalize pre-existing ADUs. The Governor also removed her proposal to override zoning laws to permit the construction of more multi-family dwelling units within half-a-mile from any commuter rail station or bus stop.
Many Republicans criticized the two controversial proposals and Tom Suozzi, who is challenging Gov. Hochul in the Democratic Primary this year, said that these changes would rip apart smaller communities around train stations and add more rental units in already overcrowded neighborhoods. The Governor included the proposals as part of her efforts to tackle the State’s housing crisis, but she has since acknowledged that they could not be achieved without community support. “Since my days in local government, I have believed strongly in the importance of consensus-building and listening to communities and my fellow policy makers,” Governor Hochul said. “I have heard real concerns about the proposed approach on accessory dwelling units and transit-oriented development.”
The Governor also said she removed these sections from her budget proposal because the State Senate is currently working on its own legislation to address the issue. “I believe that increasing our housing supply is essential to the growth of our economy, to reaching our lower carbon footprint, to achieving our goals of equity and inclusion, and to addressing the affordability faced by so many New Yorkers,” she said. “I’m glad that the conversation on these important issues has begun, and I look forward to further collaboration in this legislative session.”