Hochul touts state investment in affordable housing

LAKE PLACID — Gov. Kathy Hochul said on Friday that state legislators are currently talking about how the state could play a role in regulating short-term vacation rentals in New York, and she’s hoping a “balance” could be found for areas like Lake Placid to accommodate tourists while ensuring that there’s affordable housing available for locals.

During her visit to the Olympic Sports Complex at Mt. Van Hoevenberg on Friday, Hochul briefly addressed the need for more affordable housing in the North Country. A 2020 housing needs assessment confirmed that there’s a “housing crisis” in the village and the town of North Elba, with a need for 1,534 units to accommodate the community’s goal of having at least 50% of the local workforce living there.

“We have to keep building,” Hochul said. “I’m not stopping until we address the need.”

She touted the state’s 2022-23 fiscal year budget — signed into law in April — which she said set aside $144 million to create 2,300 affordable housing units in the North Country. There are currently at least two state-funded affordable housing projects underway in this region — Regan Development’s MacKenzie Overlook in Lake Placid and the Harison Place project in Malone.

Hochul added that there are affordable housing subsidies already in place in New York, calling the state’s solution to the affordable housing crisis a “multifaceted approach.”

The Lake Placid-North Elba 2020 housing study found that while short-term vacation rentals haven’t directly caused the housing crisis in Lake Placid, STRs have exacerbated the deficit of long-term, affordable units available to locals. Hochul said that the state Legislature is talking about ways the state could regulate STRs, but in the meantime, she believes the state should continue to provide tourist accommodations with hotels and motels as well as STRs. She believes tourism is critical to the local economy in Lake Placid.

“This is the lifeblood of the economy up here,” she said, “so we have to have accommodations for them and then allow people to be able to rent out their homes and welcome them, otherwise we will not have the capacity.”

She said that while northern New York hasn’t reached its capacity to accommodate tourists with hotels and motels alone, she believes it will as people continue to “discover the beauty and the charm of the North Country.”

Hochul’s comments come as the town and village boards work to create new regulations for STRs in hopes that the regulations could mitigate the impact of STRs on residential neighborhoods. The 2020 study found that with a goal of 50% of the workforce living here, the town and village needed 1,534 “workforce and affordable” housing units. About two-thirds of that, 1,013 units, would be for people who the study identified as needing an apartment priced at $879 per month or lower.


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