Op-Ed: Housing Issue Needs Solutions

The BANANAS crowd (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone) was out in full force at Town Hall in Huntington last week.  They have many perfectly valid concerns, but instead of seeking possible solutions to today’s problems, their only proposed answer is “stop it. Just stop it”.  The problem with that approach is that it does not solve any of today’s issues, much less tomorrow’s.

We are fortunate in Huntington to have many thriving businesses, and the many thriving businesses require many employees to operate them.  As long as there are jobs, people will want to come to Huntington to get paid for doing those jobs.   Insisting on building no apartments anywhere means these employees either need to live far away or need to cram into overcrowded, unsafe legal apartments.

If they live far away, then their cars are on the road a long time, creating traffic.  Someone who lives above a store or in someone’s basement near their job might have their car on the road for 10 minutes, a minimal traffic disruption.  They might even walk.  Force the same person to live five towns away, and their car is on the road 45 minutes, hence the traffic problem.

Maybe your concern is parking.  The parking solution in the village has been staring us in the face for decades: build a three-story parking structure in the New Street parking lot.  Most of the properties abutting that lot have their backs facing it.  The town has seen many proposals that don’t look like parking structures and sometimes even have apartments in it.  It always gets shut down by the BANANAs.  Parking on the streets with ADU’s is in fact covered by the law- the homeowner has to provide off-street parking for the tenant.  In a lot of neighborhoods the cars on the streets are those of the 20-something children of the owners living at home.

Too many ADU’s is also covered by the law.  No more than 10% of the homes in a half-mile radius can have an ADU.  No area of town has even come close to this limit.

Your issue is water?  The main problems causing our groundwater and bays harm are septic tanks and fertilized lawns.  Yet the only time the people arguing for better water show up at town hall is when an apartment building is proposed.

Then there is enforcement.  We would all like to see more enforcement of the housing rules.  The town apparently understands the supply and demand equation better than the BANANAs, though, because they know that kicking people out of overcrowded homes will move them either to other over-crowded homes, or to join the unhoused who already live in our forests.  The BANANAs seem to think that it will make the renters go away.  It won’t.  If the people living in overcrowded buildings are already tolerating sub-standard housing, they must have a very pressing need to be here, and kicking them out of one house is not going to cause them to give up.

Housing is a complex issue that needs nuanced debate, but Huntington and all of Long Island needs more of it.  So I ask the BANANAs:  don’t tell us NO, tell us HOW.


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One Reply to “Op-Ed: Housing Issue Needs Solutions”

  1. Amen. NIMBY-ism depresses me; are people truly so unwilling to think about anyone other than themselves? If only we could collectively shift our focus to thinking about the entire community (which means all fellow humans) and cooperate on solutions.

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