The Daily Dirt: Hochul tests local control

Budget leaves affordability levels to city

(Photo Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)
(Photo Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)

It is no secret that the state legislature is not a fan of giving up authority.

Consider the effort to allow the city to legalize existing basement apartments, or to change zoning to allow for higher residential density.The proposals on the table would simply allow the city to take up these issues, not actually legalize anything. Yet for years, they have not garnered support in the state legislature.

Last year, some lawmakers viewed the housing production targets in the governor’s New York Housing Compact as seizure of localities’ control over zoning. You may recall the slogan used by state Republicans: “Local control, not Hochul control.”

In the governor’s executive budget this year, she leaves the task of setting affordability levels in a new 421a to the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Of course, that could change before any policy is approved. As Hochul has indicated, this is a test to see if the legislature actually favors local control.

“I tend to think that the legislature would want to keep that responsibility, but as we all remember from the last legislative session, there was a lot of attention focused on local control,” said Daniel Bernstein, who heads a department focused on tax incentives and affordable housing at Rosenberg & Estis. “Does local control mean local control, or does it mean that the state continues to tell the city what its affordability requirements should be?”

Last week Mayor Eric Adams voiced support for the governor’s proposal, which hinges on the real estate industry and construction unions hashing out construction wage requirements. When asked during a press conference if the city would release a plan laying out the affordability levels it would seek, Adams said didn’t want to get ahead of the negotiations between labor and developers.  

Herrick’s Brett Gottlieb said the governor released a bare-bones proposal to serve as a starting point for developers, construction unions and tenant advocates. From there, they can figure out a policy they can live with.

“If she had put something out there in her proposals, she may have even been negotiating against herself,” he said.

What we’re thinking about: Community preference has long been viewed as helping developers secure approval for their projects from local City Council members. How will the changes to housing lottery policy affect that dynamic? Send a note to

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

A thing we’ve learned: You are not imagining it: People kind of want you to peek into their expensive homes. The Atlantic recently detailed how leaving windows uncovered has become a status symbol in wealthy enclaves of urban areas.

Elsewhere in New York…

— The city is launching a program that will cover more than $2 billion in medical debt for low-income New Yorkers, Gothamist reports. “Working-class families often have to choose between paying their medical bills or some of the basic essentials that they need to go through life,” Mayor Eric Adams said Monday. “And because of the high costs of care, New Yorkers are choosing not to get care at all.”

— Gov. Kathy Hochul supports extending mayoral control for another four years as part of this year’s state budget. Some progressive lawmakers, however, believe the extension should be reviewed outside the budget process, City & State reports.

— New platform barriers have been installed at the 191st Street subway station in Washington Heights as a safety pilot program, NBC New York reports. Barriers are expected to be installed at three other stations as part of the program.

Closing Time

Residential: The priciest residential closing Monday was $7 million for a townhouse at 116 Pierrepont Street in Brooklyn Heights.

Commercial: The most expensive commercial closing of the day was $7 million for three eight-unit buildings at 235, 239 and 241 East 39th Street in Murray Hill.

New to the Market: The priciest residence to hit the market Monday was a townhouse at 2 West 16th Street in Flatiron asking $10 million. Avison Young has the listing. — Jay Young

Recommended For You