Town mulls striking affordable housing mandate

(Photo by Will Dendis)

(Photo by Will Dendis)

The Town Board plans to hold hearings on a revision to the 2009 zoning law that would do away with the requirement that 20 percent of units be affordable in developments of 10 or more lots.

Instead, the town would offer a percent density bonus to developers who include affordable housing. The bonus would be proportional to the number of units constructed up to 20 percent. For example, if 15 percent of the units in a subdivision were priced affordably, the developer could build 15 percent more units on the parcel of land than would normally be allowed, as long as engineers determine the land can support higher density.

Councilman James Bruno said the change would increase the possibility of future development and that several developers in the last few years, when informed of the requirement, had decided against moving forward.


The revision will also include the removal of a requirement that the town periodically inspect affordable dwellings. Bruno said the town does not have the manpower to do this and the change was suggested by Pat Fitzsimmons, chair of the Comprehensive Plan Committee.

Housing is considered affordable when the cost of ownership is 30 percent or less than the median household income, adjusted for family size. The example given in the zoning code is a family of four, for which the median income used for Saugerties is $63,500, should pay no more than $1,588 per month (including mortgage, taxes and interest).

The board has not yet set the dates for public hearings on this revision.