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Opposition In Suffolk To Hochul's Accessory Dwelling Unit Affordable Housing Proposal: 'That's When I Leave'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Some suburban lawmakers on both sides of the aisle Thursday called Gov. Kathy Hochul's answer to affordable housing "a bad stumble."

They tell CBS2's Jennifer McLogan that achieving a goal by overriding local zoning is a dangerous precedent.

Building a rental apartment in an attic, a basement, a granny flat cottage out back, Ursula and George Dumbauld are speaking for many of their Long Island neighbors who are concerned that Hochul's housing plan will change quality of life.

"If they do the accessory apartments, that's when I leave," Ursula Dumbauld said.

"They're coming in for the school system, not buying a house. Sharing a house," George Dumbauld said.

Creating affordable housing on Long Island to retain young people and help senior citizens is critical, but many complain the governor is attempting it by removing home rule.

"This is a dangerous idea that will result in commercial landlords buying up properties and trying pack people into neighborhoods," said Rep. Tom Suozzi, who's running for governor.

There's backlash in Suffolk County. Last week, it was Nassau leaders claiming the governor tried to sneak in her proposal "would require all municipalities to allow ADUs on all lots with an existing residential use."

"The accessory dwelling units, yes, we are having these conversations. I understand there is sensitivity, let's find the right answer that people will be willing to embrace this idea," Hochul said.

With Long Island's segregated past, zoning out people of color, the nonprofit Housing Help says renting part of one's home should be a right.

"That's just not having a heart. Every single homeowner busting their chops to pay their mortgage should have the choice," said Housing Help Executive Director Pilar Moya-Mancera.

Others argue there's a shortage of parking and strains on municipal water and sewers.

"I think it would be a great program if we could incentivize local communities to build the type of housing that is needed, including accessory dwellings, by providing grant funds," said St. Sen James Gaughrin.

Changing mandates to incentives would also be subject to state legislative approval, earmarking environmental concerns and zoning issues.

"Hopefully she will hear our voices loud and clear that this is a bad idea," said Suffolk County Presiding Officer Kevin McCaffery.

They say without local control, ADUs become a non-starter: Instant division in ongoing political wars.

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