Huntington: Soon after New York’s governor laid out a plan to allow a virtually unlimited number of accessory dwelling units throughout the state, Legislator Stephanie Bontempi made her position clear – that it was an encroachment on local control and a potential threat to our environment and the quality of life. Bontempi’s position is primarily based on the fact that New York is a home rule state, which essentially means that issues like zoning are the domain of local governments, namely the towns and villages.
“While there is some room for improvement regarding laws associated with accessory dwelling units, mandates from the state are not the answer. Our towns and villages here in Suffolk County have their own unique needs and visions, which are determined by the residents and put into law by their elected representatives,” said Bontempi.
Bontempi was not alone in her call on the governor to stop the plan in its tracks, as elected officials – on both sides of the political aisle – from all over Suffolk County voiced similar opposition. Ultimately, on February 17th, news broke that the governor would not be advancing her plan.
“The Town of Huntington already has a reasonable set of code provisions associated with accessory dwelling units, and they were properly put in place by the duly elected members of the Town Board. Accessory dwelling units are an important means of making housing more affordable for both landlords and tenants. However, there have to be limitations – especially those needed to reduce the strain on existing infrastructure – and the Town put some in place that it deemed reasonable. That is how the system is supposed to work,” added Bontempi.
After this close call from Albany, Bontempi concluded: “It cannot be overstated that the best way to achieve the proper balance between zoning, the environment and quality of life is to leave the decision-making to the residents and their local officials. I applaud everyone who stood up for our communities.”