Making the Most of Municipal Place

To the Editor:

It is encouraging that the process for development of the Katz property is moving forward, step-by-step, with strong public participation throughout, including by the Municipal Place Advisory Task Force. It’s also good to know that this project aligns Croton with other communities around the country that are revitalizing underutilized land to increase housing and deploying smart zoning updates to do so. For example, 15 cities in the Boston area have agreed to increase housing construction and use improved local zoning to get there. Fairfax County, VA and Seattle have rezoned certain corridors to allow for higher-density and more affordable residences. Oakland’s zoning updates are helping it outpace San Francisco in new housing units. Concord, NH has an initiative called ConcordNext to adjust its zoning to increase housing opportunities, first in residential and mixed-use districts, and then in commercial corridors. Somerville, NJ has updated its zoning to promote affordable housing and improve sustainability. Some localities have also updated zoning to encourage new housing near transportation and other public assets.

Publicly-owned land for the development of housing also helps increase supply in areas with high land costs and limited development opportunities. Montgomery County, MD is promoting mixed-income housing on county-owned land especially when near public facilities. King County, WA requires surplus parcels appropriate for residential development be sold or leased for development of affordable housing.

As the process proceeds, we all have great interest in the future of our Village Gateway. But as we enter a critical phase ahead, it’s good to know Croton is pursuing a land-use strategy successfully adopted by many other U.S. communities. And hopefully, in the not too distant future, the Katz property, like 379 South Riverside, will be viewed as another good role model from Croton on how to effectively bring much-needed housing to a locality which needs it now more than ever.

Len Simon
Democratic Candidate
Croton Board of Trustees

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