The “Faith-based Affordable Housing Act” would grant 1,100 properties instant eligibility to develop their property into high-density five-story apartment buildings.

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino joined with his colleagues in government, including North Hempstead Supervisor Jen DeSena and Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin to demand that Governor Hochul and State lawmakers stop the “Faith-based Affordable Housing Act” that overrides local zoning laws. The Supervisors were joined by dozens of officials from all levels of government, including New York State, Nassau County, dozens of Villages and School Boards to denounce this most recent plan.


For a third straight year, Albany lawmakers are pushing plans that override local zoning laws that were put into law decades ago to protect the health, safety and character of local communities. The “Faith-based Affordable Housing Act” would grant 1,100 properties instant eligibility to develop their property into high-density five-story apartment buildings. On Long Island, most houses of worship are located in residential neighborhoods next to, or across from, single-family homes.


“It’s unfortunate that once again, Albany lawmakers think they know better than we do when it comes to our communities. As local officials, we know how to strike the right balance between the voices of residents, the needs of the economy and the population density our infrastructure and services can handle,” said Supervisor Saladino. “Thankfully, for the past two years, both Assembly members and Senators said no to the ill-advised plans that would override local zoning laws, and compromised with an incentive-based solution to development that’s proven successful.”


The Supervisor noted that incentives are the reason the Town is revitalizing downtown Hicksville and growing the community with new housing opportunities. Incentives have also proven successful in other areas of Long Island, including Mineola, Westbury and Patchogue. Unfortunately, officials have learned that the misguided plans previously attempted are being repackaged, and may even once again appear in the State budget.


“While we don’t oppose reasonable development, we do oppose a direct attempt to circumvent local zoning,” Supervisor Saladino continued. “The State Legislature’s most recent plan – copied from progressives in California – would significantly override local zoning and grant ‘special status’ to religious entities to simply convert their property into high-density housing. In Nassau alone, over 1,100 property could be instantly eligible for development into high-density housing.”


Officials noted that with costs of education at $36,000 per pupil on Long Island, an influx of students from apartments will cost local homeowners millions in higher taxes and stretch school infrastructure beyond its limits at a time when New York State is proposing school aid cuts across Long Island. This population increase will also impact government services such as sanitation, sewage, drinking water, roadways, and more.


“To suggest that State land should be used to skirt local zoning laws is another attack on our suburbs,” said Supervisor Saladino. “Taking away the rights of our residents to have a say over the future of their communities is a direct threat to Democracy, especially when you silence our voice when it comes to projects in our own background. We implore that our State officials stop repackaging this policy each year and hiding it in the budget – instead, do the right thing and continue with your patch to growing housing appropriately through incentives and partnerships with local governments.”


CREDIT: Town of Oyster Bay


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