The Kingstonian is a substantial and potentially transformative project for the City of Kingston. At this pivotal moment in our community’s history, with an affordable housing crisis, a $10 million grant from the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), and heavy speculation from New York City developers, what happens with the Kingstonian will determine if this will be a positive transformation. It could be a statement about our city’s priorities and vision for the future, and a testament to a resilient, inclusive community where all residents’ input and needs are considered equally.
We assert that the project should receive a positive declaration of significance from Kingston’s Planning Board, pursuant to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), New York Codes, Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) 617.7 (c) (1) (iv): “The creation of a material conflict with a community’s current plans or goals as officially approved or adopted.”
The City of Kingston’s newly adopted Comprehensive Plan (Kingston 2025, page 21), calls for an affordable housing requirement in new developments: “Strategy 1.1.2: Require affordable housing for any new or expanded residential building or development project.” An adopted plan has the full force of the law and is the collective vision of our community. The Kingstonian’s lack of affordable housing is a material conflict with that vision.
In 2006, the Three County Regional Housing Needs Assessment: Ulster, Orange and Dutchess Counties from 2006-2020 (RHNA) called for 1,005 new affordable apartments to be built by 2020. In the years since, only 55 units have been built. This project is an opportunity to create new affordable housing units to add to that total.
The project falls within Kingston’s zoning section 405-27.1 for the Mixed Use Overlay District, calling for 20 percent of the units in the district to be dedicated for affordable housing, with the rental of those units to be calculated as not to exceed 30% of a household’s income, with the maximum income at 80 percent for the Ulster County median income. This project does not follow the zoning guidelines for the MUOD.
Additionally, Kingston’s Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission (HLPC), an Involved Agency in SEQRA for the Kingstonian project, has gone on record stating that ” … the potentially large impacts on the Stockade Historic District and nearby landmark buildings … weigh toward a positive declaration of environmental significance.” In other words, the HLPC sees the potential for a significant adverse environmental impact, which is grounds for a positive declaration under SEQRA.
We urge the Planning Board to recognize these concerns and issue a positive declaration, and outline plans for a public scoping process. Such thoroughness will ensure that this project benefits the Kingston community to the greatest extent possible.
Kingston Tenants Union
Kingston Midtown Rising
Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson
Rise Up Kingston
Citizen Action of New York Hudson Valley Chapter