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Great Neck Plaza relaxes affordable housing eligibility

Middle Neck Road in Great Neck Plaza on

Middle Neck Road in Great Neck Plaza on a rainy day. Credit: Newsday File / Thomas Ferrara

Great Neck Plaza village trustees this week voted to relax the village's restrictions on who is eligible for its affordable housing program, after it ran out of applicants for several vacant apartments.

Mayor Jean Celender said the village had been advertising 19 affordable-housing units in a building on Great Neck Road for months, but only filled about half before running out of eligible applicants.

Celender said rules the village adopted in 2005 guiding who can apply might be setting too many barriers. "Maybe it's overly restrictive in who we're trying to attract and that's creating problems in getting enough applications to actually fill the units," she said before Wednesday's trustees' vote.

In addition to income and asset restrictions, village rules had given priority to volunteers with one of two local fire departments, combat veterans, village employees and people younger than 30 and older than 65 who have lived in the village for a number of years. Lesser priority was given to people in these categories who live or work on Great Neck peninsula or in Nassau.

The new rules, which passed unanimously, reduced the number of years a person would have to volunteer with the fire department from five to two, allows for people younger than 40 who have lived in the village for at least 10 of the past 15 years, and allows for people older than 65 who have lived in the village for at least 15 of the past 20 years. Similar reductions were created for those who live or work on the peninsula or in Nassau.

"Hopefully with broadening the qualifications for younger persons and older persons and first responders, we'll generate more applications," said village attorney Richard Gabriele.

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