Rockland’s voice in the New York Assembly is speaking out against a bill which would legalize accessory housing units across the state. In effect, the New York State Accessory Homes Act (S4547, A4854) would require that municipalities allow at least one accessory dwelling unit ( a basement or attic apartment for instance) per residential lot: this would make it possible for any homeowner in New York to subdivide their property and subsequently rent out portions of their house. The Regional Plan Association (RPA) a non-profit think tank dedicated to improving the economic health of New York, estimates that, if passed, the bill could create 500,000 additional housing units in the Empire State by 2040.
Lawler and his republican colleagues in the state assembly have argued that the proposed changes would violate the principle of home rule and strip municipalities of their ability to create and enforce their own zoning codes. They have also expressed concern that a wave of new residences could overwhelm the infrastructure of smaller towns and counties. On Tuesday Feb. 8, Assemblyman Lawler joined Assemblyman Gandolfo, Assemblyman Fitzpatrick, and other Republican state legislators in Albany to condemn the bill.
“It cannot be stated enough that this proposal by Governor Kathy Hochul, and its accompanying bill in the State Legislature, Assembly Bill A.4854A and Senate Bill S.7574, will strip away the right of local municipalities to control residential zoning and force a one-size-fits-all approach to housing, controlled by unelected bureaucrats in Albany, who will mandate that every home be permitted to have at least one accessory dwelling unit,” said Lawler.
“Simply put, this legislation would create a situation where our already-overburdened roads, bridges, sewer and gas lines, water mains, and train tracks will be put in danger of collapse. Not only would it overburden our infrastructure, but it would also put an onerous strain on our cops, firefighters, EMS and EMT volunteers.”
Proponents of the bill, including Houchul herself, have argued that the new legislation could be the best method of addressing New York’s affordable housing crisis. The bill’s sponsor, Senator Peter Harckham (D) has stated: “the Tri state suburbs have not met the housing demand need, it’s ironic that the same people who always scream about population fleeing New York are always the first ones to put up obstacles to more affordable housing options, so people can stay.”