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Thiele Pushes for Accessory Dwelling Units

Thu, 02/02/2023 - 10:44

Last Thursday, Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. reintroduced a bill that aims to “address the statewide affordable housing crisis and incentivize property owners to construct accessory dwelling units where such units are permitted,” formally known as the Accessory Dwelling Unit Incentive Act.

The bill would create a forgivable loan program for homeowners seeking to construct an A.D.U., given that the upfront cost “is one of the biggest impediments to their creation,” Mr. Thiele said in a release. The loan would be forgivable “for up to $75,000 for 20 years,” and would become a grant if the homeowner rented to tenants who meet affordable income and rent guidelines over the 20-year stretch.

Also, a property owner who rents an A.D.U. as affordable housing would receive an income tax credit of up to $10,000 a year. The exact amount would be half the difference between the market-rate rent and the affordable-rate rent, Mr. Thiele explained. That same owner would also be exempt from an increased tax assessment: “Local governments would be authorized to grant a property tax exemption equal to 100 percent of any increase in assessed value of the property attributed to the construction of the A.D.U.”

Mr. Thiele has also reintroduced the Unmarked Burial Site Protection Act, which he had supported but not sponsored in last year’s legislative session. New York is one of three states, he noted, “that do not provide protections to determine the cultural affiliation and disposition of human remains interred in unmarked burial sites.”

The unmarked-graves bill was widely supported last year, especially by Indigenous tribes, including the Shinnecocks, Unkechaugs, and Montauketts on Long Island, but was vetoed by Gov. Kathy Hochul, who cited its potential impact on developers or homeowners, who would incur additional costs, she said, if human remains were discovered during construction or renovation and work had to stop for state archaeologists to determine their cultural significance.

“The governor must take a fresh look at this issue,” Mr. Thiele said. “Justice demands it.”

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