Gov. Hochul Once Again Wants to Take Over Local Zoning

Legislative Column by Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush (R,C-Black River)

The governor delivered her annual State of the State address earlier this week and spoke about the issues of crime, affordability and the continued exodus of residents, but she gave little to no detail on how we will make substantive changes. While we will see more detail and funding allocations in her executive budget proposal, there was one part of her speech that caught my ear and, if enacted, would jeopardize the roles of our local governments and zoning boards.

Simply put, bureaucrats in Albany would have the final say over the planning, vision and future of our communities, not us.

The ‘New York Housing Compact,’ as the governor calls it, would build 800,000 new housing units across our state within the next decade. Under this compact, local zoning laws and restrictions could be overrode by the state if certain Albany-approved specifications for building new housing are not met. While the governor and I agree we have an affordability crisis, especially in relation to housing, building these new units does nothing to get at the root causes of why people cannot afford to buy a house and raise a family in New York. It’s a paradox to listen to the governor announce these new housing projects while simultaneously New Yorkers are leaving our state at a record rate because they can’t afford the housing we currently have! As a matter of fact, it’s the highest out-migration rate in the country.

Why is that? Could it be the weather? Or is it the highest taxes in the nation coupled with record inflation; burdensome business regulations that crush small-business owners, a crime crisis that Albany Majority lawmakers refuse to address, a climate plan that would force each homeowner to fully electrify their home and its appliances, or a Farm Laborers Wage Board that seems dead set on decimating the family farm in our state?

We saw the governor take steps last year to take over local zoning decisions with her Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) plan on single-family zoning lots. At the end of the day, I have no doubt in my mind that local elected officials and zoning boards are more knowledgeable about the concerns and wants of a given community compared to a state bureaucrat sent in by the governor. A one-size-fits-all approach simply would not work for our region, and it would only put a further strain on local resources, services and infrastructure. Local home rule is the law of the land, and none of us on either side of the aisle should be willing to hand that over to this governor’s administration.

As always, please feel free to reach out to my office at 315-493-3909 or email me at