North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jennifer DeSena addresses a news conference about...

North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jennifer DeSena addresses a news conference about Gov. Kathy Hochul's housing plan Jan. 17 near the Manhasset LIRR station. Credit: Johnny Milano

Gov. Kathy Hochul is misguided in her inflexible yet sprawling plan for more housing in New York State [“Gov, Republican pols clash over LI housing,” News, Jan. 22]. Her process for achieving 800,000 new housing units (where did that number come from?) is tyrannical on two fronts:

1) Establishing a new, unaccountable state board to override local jurisdiction, which should be rejected outright by state legislators.

2) Demanding rigid local participation requirements to attain housing growth in every community, which needs nuance and variables.

Pursuing housing growth at 3% downstate of existing stock and 1% upstate is also too simplistic and arbitrary. Within New York City, for example, Staten Island cannot safely absorb the same growth rates as the other four boroughs due to its much smaller mass transit infrastructure. The same is true for Long Island, which also cannot cope with the water pollution ruining its aquifers — its only source of fresh water — from building thousands of additional housing units.

And while transit-based housing growth has merit, its proposed half-mile parameters from all Metropolitan Transportation Authority train stations is another non-starter. Overall, the governor’s housing plan is less than half-baked and not worthy of consideration.

 — Raymond Roel, East Northport

Planners have long argued that Long Island’s lack of housing affordability and inventory are the region’s greatest policy failures. But in addressing this, the editorial board is correct in warning state policymakers from engaging in an overreaching top-down approach that ignores the many nuances of Long Island communities.

To successfully cultivate more housing development, the state must engage with those individual areas that are most appropriate for growth — measured not only by the local political willingness to build, but those with the infrastructure to accommodate further development.

While our region isn’t known for its flexibility, we have evolved before. Age-restricted housing for seniors that was shunned decades ago is now more commonplace, a feat accomplished without the state heavily intervening to supersede local land-use policy.

As housing markets continue to be out of reach for the next generation, we will see localities become more adaptive and accommodating as a matter of not only financial and political necessity — but the region’s survival.

 — Richard Murdocco, Commack

The dichotomy of more housing versus less density is not new and not exclusive to Long Island [“Poll: LI must add to affordable housing,” News, Jan. 19]. Certainly, a contributing factor has been more than two generations of suburbia, i.e., single-family homes, being promoted as the “American Dream.” This is likely what drew Steven Schopp, quoted in the article, to Long Island. He expected progress and forward movement, but there was none.

The political will went with the 27% of respondents who basically still favor that 1950s and ’60s vision of suburbia. It’s time for a new “American Dream.”

Another factor is that Long Island’s geography won’t allow any further expansion of housing options without a corresponding increase in density. We have a finite amount of land.

It’s also not exclusive to Long Island. A friend from here retired a decade ago to outside of Wilmington, North Carolina, and now complains that it, too, is being overbuilt.

Other factors exist, but there seems a distinct lack of political will to make any bold changes needed to help this problem. I fear this will be the case for at least another generation.

 — Denis O’Driscoll, Westbury

Promoting expansion of new housing is admirable and necessary, but Gov. Kathy Hochul may be better served by creating a program not structured as a state mandate. Policy by fiat rarely goes over well.

Perhaps we should let towns develop and submit housing development plans that balance the needs and characteristics of communities with the goal of expanding housing.

These plans would better reflect local situations and may go beyond changes in zoning regulations by identifying other obstacles to be addressed.

Long Island needs a range of housing to keep young people here and support vibrant communities, especially in the age of remote working.

 — Gerry Ring, Old Bethpage

Here are ideas for community leaders from a beaten-down community housing advocate and resident:

The housing law mandating 10% set aside for new affordable housing units should be increased.

The state needs to lead by creating more reasonable incentives.

Create more community involvement by looking to proven models of housing affordability like community land trusts to empower and encourage universities to work more with communities on this issue.

 — Chuck Gosline, Farmingdale

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