The affordable housing law in the Village of New Paltz has been put through its paces like it never has before with the opening of Zero Place. The net-zero-energy building now includes more than half of the affordable units in the village. Terry Dolan, chair of the board overseeing this affordable housing stock, let village trustees know on July 13 that the law is holding up well under the extra work, but that some changes to speed up the review process might be in order down the road.
In the village, anyone putting up a building with ten or more apartments has to set aside ten percent of them as “affordable.” The rent that can be charged, as well as eligibility for someone to rent one of these units, is determined using income formulae. The developer is entitled to a “density bonus” of additional apartments. The list of eligible tenants has been growing for several years, but now the number of affordable apartments is on the rise as this law impacts new construction.
Dolan said that for the five families now moving into affordable apartments as Zero Place — which, by law, are indistinguishable from similar units in the building — it “could be life-changing.” The rent in that building includes all utilities, as that’s the only way to reach the net-zero goal for residents.
Learning that town council members have been discussing a similar law to cover the remainder of the town, Dolan was visibly pleased. The chair also said that there would be some recommendations about changes to the village law forthcoming in the next few months.