The governor of New York makes a YIMBY turn

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul took the opportunity of the state’s first speech after narrowly winning the election to office in November to announce a statewide strategy aimed at building 800,000 new homes over the next decade to accomplish.

A press release from the governor’s office describes the proposal, dubbed the New York Housing Compact, as a “comprehensive, multi-pronged strategy” that includes “local participation requirements and incentives to achieve housing growth in each community so that every part of the state is a partner in the solution.” this urgent crisis.”

If that sounds like pro-development rhetoric of the YIMBY variety, you’re not the only one noticing. An article by Henrey Grabar for Slate responded to the address with an article headlined “New York Has a YIMBY Governor.” Ross Barkan, writing for New York Magazine, notes that the state of the state’s proposals “would have been untenable for most politicians a decade ago.” Other publications, such as the New York Daily News and the Buffalo News, picked up on the proposal’s impact on the state’s suburban communities.

More specifically, Gov. Hochul’s proposed pact would require every town and village in the state to “set a target number of new homes to be built over a three-year period,” explains Denis Slattery for the New York Daily News. Yes, that means the Exclusion Zone status quo is known. “The governor specifically called on suburban communities around New York City to limit construction over the past few decades and said in her address that the state is ready to step in,” Slattery added.

Jonathan D. Epstein, writing for the Buffalo News, does the math to explain what the 1 percent increase in the housing stock of New York state communities would look like.

Based on U.S. Census data, the mandate would mean that four out of five municipalities would only need to allow 50 or fewer new housing units to meet the state-imposed target. And they will be flexible in how to achieve their goals, including redevelopment and repurposing of idle office buildings or office parks, shopping malls and industrial buildings, or offering incentives to encourage the development of new residential buildings.


For all of Erie County — which has 440,000 housing units according to the US Census Bureau — that translates to an increase of 4,400 housing units through 2026. In comparison, Erie County had 4,150 housing unit building permits in the three-year period 2019-2021 on federal data.

Writing for Slate, Grabar describes the New York Housing Compact as a long-overdue government action.

The Empire State is late for this party, although it’s not Hochul’s fault. New York has done little to address the housing shortage over the past decade, while California, Oregon, Washington and Massachusetts — four other high-cost states — are experimenting with various ideas to override onerous local regulations that are restricting the supply of new housing Restrict apartments.

Grabar also points out that some of the most notorious examples of housing discrimination in history took place in New York, including the events depicted in the HBO series show me a hero and a book of the same name by Lisa Belkin.