New York Times columnist Ezra Klein recently wrote in a February 11 article: “In much of San Francisco, you can’t walk 20 feet without seeing a multicolored sign declaring that Black lives matter, kindness is everything and no human being is illegal. Those signs sit in yards zoned for single families, in communities that organize against efforts to add the new homes that would bring those values closer to reality.”
“That quote, unfortunately, can be accurately attributed to too many Hudson Valley communities,” says John C. Cappello, Esq., a partner at the Walden-based law firm Jacobowitz & Gubits. As an attorney specializing in land use and municipal law who has worked with developers in commercial, residential, educational and mixed-use land use applications, as well as with planning boards and zoning boards of appeals throughout Orange and Ulster counties, it’s an issue Cappello knows all too well.
According to him, while the Hudson Valley has seen significant commercial development recently, the issues of housing have been mostly ignored. The result is a lack of diverse, affordable housing opportunities. “There are few housing options affordable to the many people who are essential to our community,” Cappello says.
“Too many local zoning codes encourage large-lot single family homes and discourage multi-family or any form of more dense development that may provide housing opportunities for our essential workforce, young families and seniors,” he says. “As importantly, this regulatory scheme has led to the disparate impact of segregating so many Hudson Valley communities. This is neither healthy nor sustainable, either from an economic, environmental, or moral perspective.”
Solving this problem requires community members in the Hudson Valley to be willing to acknowledge the issues, then seek out the help and education that is already available. “We must rise to the occasion as a community to address the need to provide for diverse and sustainable housing for all those wishing to live in our region,” Cappello says.
For those looking for local resources, he recommends the Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress Center for Housing Solutions. There, you can find a wealth of information about the state of housing in the region. You can also just type “YIMBY” (short for “Yes in My Backyard”) into any search engine to find out more about efforts to address the housing problem in New York and throughout the nation.
Over the course of this coming year, Cappello will be posting information regarding innovative options for housing issues in the Hudson Valley and the educational information available on Jacobowitz & Gubits’ website under “Housing for the Hudson Valley.”
You can learn more about the law firm of Jacobowitz & Gubits at Jacobowitz.com.