Brian Pugh: Moving forward on the Model Housing Ordinance

To The Editor:brian-pugh-group-cropped
The Village of Croton’s Board of Trustees took its first step at last Monday’s meeting towards the adoption of a proposed Local Law on affordable housing by referring the draft law to the the appropriate committees for review. The proposed law is based on the model housing law promulgated by Westchester County and adopted in one form or another by communities from Ardsley to Yorktown.
The referral of the draft law to the committees follows several televised Work Sessions by the Board of Trustees on this topic and a June 13, 2018 public workshop on housing moderated by facilitators from Pace University.
The key feature of the proposed law is a requirement that for all residential developments of ten (10) or more units created by subdivision or site plan approval, no less than 10% of the total number of units must be created as units to affirmatively further fair housing (AFFH).
A for-purchase housing unit is one that is affordable to a household whose income does not exceed 80% of the area median income (AMI) for Westchester as defined annually by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. A rental unit is one that is affordable to a household whose income does not exceed 60% AMI and for which the rent and utilities, does not exceed 30% of the tenant’s income.
For example: according to HUD the AMI for a 1-person household is $82,000 annually–therefore to qualify for a AFFH unit under the proposed law, a single individual (no partner or children) buyer could earn no more than $65,600 annually and a renter could earn no more than $49,200. For a 4-person household, the maximum income would be $93,650 for buying a unit and $70,250 for renting a unit.
There is an acute local need for affordable housing. According to the Westchester/Putnam United Way, 32% of all Crotonites and 49% of all renters in the Village are housing burdened (spending more than 30% of their income on housing). Just imagine the economic benefit to our community if these families could redirect a portion of that money they would have otherwise spent on rent towards local businesses or investing in their children’s education.
At a time when village rental vacancy rates are at 2% (far below the county or state average), according to census data, and rents continue to rise, affordable housing is a sorely needed in our community. Our Village’s Comprehensive Plan highlighted the need to diversify housing options to meet the needs of a changing population in our Village. I am glad that we are at moving forward on this issue.

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