On Tuesday, October 6th, over our Coalition’s objections, the Town Board adopted arbitrary and vague restrictions on two-family homes that will require applicants wishing to either convert a one-family to a two-family or construct a new two-family home. Among these restrictions, which far exceed those required of applicants who want to create an accessory apartment or a non-owner occupied rental, are:
- Having to show a “severe hardship” in order for the application to be granted;
- Constructing the two-family home so that it “appears” to be a one-family home, without any definition as to what a one-family home should “appear” to be;
- Owning the home for at least five years.
The Town Code now virtually excludes two-family homes from being created, which is why over the past several decades, only .08 such homes have been approved per year. These restrictions are but another wedge causing young people to leave Huntington because they cannot afford to find a home here.
Two-family homes provide another important housing option that could expand the stock of desperately-needed affordable housing in Huntington. How desperate is this need? Just last week, on the evening of September 29th, HTHC leaders met for two hours with a dozen Young Professionals from the Huntington and Melville Chambers of Commerce to discuss their housing needs. All are college graduates, employed in Huntington and very anxious to live in our beautiful town. But they cannot because we simply do not have rental or ownership housing that they can access. They are angry and frustrated. Here is some of what they told us:
•”I love Huntington and really want to both live and work here. But I can’t find a place to live in this Town.”
•”I found an affordable rental apartment in Mastic Beach, but I now have to commute almost two hours round-trip to my Huntington job I’d give anything to find an affordable rental in this town.”
•”I set my 30th birthday as the benchmark for moving out of my parents’ home. But that birthday came and went and I am still living with them because I cannot find an affordable rental.”
•”I am a college graduate earning $40,000 a year which is not enough to afford a Huntington rental but too much to qualify for affordable rental housing.”
•”Why does the town keep building affordable homes for senior citizens and nothing for our generation? We are the ones being forced to leave.”
• “We know the statistics about the brain drain. We are the actual faces behind the large numbers of young people moving out of Huntington due to the lack of housing.”
It was on their behalf that HTHC opposes the restrictions placed on two-family homes. We hope to meet with Councilwoman Tracey Edwards, sponsor the the resolution, to discuss mitigating some of the Code’s more onerous restrictions.