Is it “Smart Planning”?
Our current county legislator, Catherine Borgia has called HUD’s attempt to re-zone our local communities “smart planning”, but let’s look at the facts. Recently, the monitor of the Housing Settlement sent a report card to the Town of Ossining. The Town of Ossining has zoning codes that do not allow for accessory apartments and multi-family housing unless with variances or in special districts. These zoning codes are deemed “exclusionary” and “discriminatory” in a letter contained in Ossining’s report card. In the report card, the monitor also seeks to impose an “obligation for the Town to construct 113 units of low income housing and 141 such units in the Village of Briarcliff.” How could legislator Borgia think adding over 250 units of such housing to our community is “smart”?
Furthermore, to illustrate the attack on home rule by our federal government – The Ossining Town Board, in 2012, considered adding accessory apartments as an allowed use in our zoning code. We were met with fervor, and groups of residents, against this change. These residents gathered signatures, came to board meetings, and voiced their opinions strongly rejecting it. We listened, and this use is still not allowed. What does this show us? It shows that zoning codes and accepted uses are, and should be, creations of the people that reside in the community. It is not only democratic, but a constitutionally protected practice under the NYS Constitution. It is rational and fair that zoning is designed to protect the environment and infrastructure. Zoning governs what can be built in a municipality – not who can live there or what a dwelling will ultimately cost.
For a County Legislator to overstep the purview of her office and support the federal government’s stance that these zoning practices are “discriminatory” and “exclusionary” is not only unnecessary, but contradictory to her service as Town Supervisor where she passed 6 local zoning laws- all of which did not change our zoning code to allow for accessory apartments. The bottom line is our legislator, in her position as Town Supervisor, had the chance then to practice what she now preaches. She did not, and today as a legislator, with no legal standing to interfere with our local zoning, has completely changed her position on the issue.
This is exactly why I am running for County Legislator in District 9. I pledge to disregard political tactics and remain open and unwavering in my support for local zoning rights. These tactics by HUD are NOT “smart planning” and our legislator has shown she is willing to support overturning locally-controlled zoning and environmental laws by stating they are. She has decided that bureaucrats in Washington are “smart” while our local officials are not. As County Legislator I will stand with our local officials and residents, not with the Washington bureaucrats who know little or nothing about our local communities.
### For more information contact Peter Tripodi (914) 774-0373