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Town to submit letter in support of state program to create accessory dwelling units

Southold Supervisor Scott Russell plans to submit a letter of support for a state program meant to create and improve accessory dwelling units. 

The Long Island Housing Partnership needs letters of support from towns to apply for grants, Councilwoman Jill Doherty said at a Town Board work session on Tuesday. Competitive applications should include partnerships between a non-profit housing organization and local governments, according to a request for proposal for the initiative. 

The program, dubbed Plus One ADU, will offer $20 million to ten applicants, with half funneled towards applicants in New York City and on Long Island. Through the initiative, the state will work with local governments and community development partners to offer grants to low- and middle-income single family homeowners who wish to build or improve ADUs on their properties. 

New York has allocated $85 million altogether to create and upgrade ADUs across the state as part of a five-year housing plan. 

Winning applicants will need to create a work plan that includes oversight during and post-construction for at least 10 years. Eligible homeowners must be capped at 100% of area median income, which in 2023 for a household of four in the region is $146,000, said Ms. Doherty. No more than $125,000 may be allocated per unit. 

The Town of Southold is facing an affordable housing crisis, with housing prices beyond the means of the median income in town. Later in the work session, the Community Housing Fund Board made a presentation explaining the parameters of the Peconic Bay Community Housing Fund, which will be a proposition for voters on the ballot on Nov. 8.

If approved via referendum, a half-percent transfer tax would be added to real estate sales within the town. It would not otherwise create costs for town residents, officials have emphasized. It’s anticipated that the tax could generate more than a million dollars for housing solutions on an annual basis in Southold.

The exemption for the proposed transfer fee would also increase from $250,000 to $400,000 for properties valued $2 million or less, which would result in less overall transfer fees paid by homebuyers purchasing homes under $1 million. First-time homebuyers would be exempt from the transfer fee. 

The town has hired a consulting agency to work with the newly established Community Housing Fund Board on a housing plan that would create a “menu of options” to address the affordable housing crisis in Southold. 

The housing fund board has launched a survey to evaluate affordable housing needs in town. The presentation and survey are available online.