|HUD No. 06-43
June 15, 2006
SUFFOLK COUNTY GIVEN HUD AWARD FOR REDUCING REGULATORY BARRIERS TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Suffolk seen as national model for cutting red tape
NEW YORK - The Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced that Suffolk County will be presented HUD's Robert L. Woodson, Jr. Award for reducing burdensome regulations that unnecessarily inflate the
cost of housing. HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson recognized the county as a national model in its effort to reduce unnecessary, outdated, and duplicative regulations that put the cost of housing out of reach of police officers, firefighters, teachers, returning veterans, and many other hardworking Americans.
In addition to Suffolk County, the Woodson, Jr. Award will also be presented to Mount Joy, Pennsylvania; San Jose, California; and the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development for its efforts to reduce regulatory barriers to affordable housing throughout the state.
"When hard working families can't afford to live in their own communities because of man-made regulations, it's time for some honest soul searching," said Jackson. "These communities are working overtime to remove excessive and burdensome regulations that have long outlived their usefulness and, in the process, they're putting out the
welcome mat for the very people anyone would be proud to call 'neighbor.'"
- "Suffolk County is proud and excited to be a 2006 recipient of HUD's Robert J. Woodson Jr. Award in
recognition of our initiatives that reduce regulatory barriers to affordable housing. The lack of affordable
housing is the major economic development issues facing the County," said Steve Levy, Suffolk County
Executive. "My administration has been a leader in confronting the issue and continues to implement
creative solutions such as the creation of the Workforce Housing Commission, the Red Tape Reduction
Plan and the Fast Track processing of Health Department and Sewer Agency applications. These initiatives
are only one part of the puzzle; the County will continue to streamline processes within its control and to
form partnerships with local municipalities and utilities to do the same."
The Robert L. Woodson, Jr. Award is named in memory of HUD's late chief of staff and is designed to recognize
state and local governments who aggressively work to reduce regulatory barriers to affordable housing.
America's Affordable Community Initiative
Regulatory barriers to affordable housing are public regulatory requirements, payments or processes that
significantly impede the development and availability of affordable housing without providing a commensurate health and/or safety benefit. These barriers can impede housing rehabilitation, limit supply and raise the cost of new development by up to 35 percent. As a result, millions of Americans are priced out of buying or renting the kind of housing they otherwise could afford.
In 2003, HUD made barrier reduction one of the Department's top priorities and created America's Affordable Community Initiative. HUD continues to review its own regulations to identify those that effectively discourage
the production of affordable housing. Meanwhile, HUD is aggressively working with state and local leaders to create more affordable housing-friendly environments around the country. For more information about this important
priority, visit Affordable Communities.
BACKGROUND ON SUFFOLK COUNTY
Over the past decade, Suffolk County has become one of the most expensive housing markets in the country. Like many communities on Long Island, median home prices are at least $400,000 over the national average, forcing
many young families to leave the communities where they were raised. To prevent further flight that threaten the County's future economic health, Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy took several actions in 2004 to identify and remove regulatory barriers to affordable housing development in the county. With substantial public pressure to fix
the problem, the county created two major initiatives to address the issue – the Workforce Housing Commission
and the Red Tape Reduction Plan. Because the authority to make housing and land decisions resides with the 42
local governments in the county, the county government served in the roles of convener/coordinator, educator, expediter, and cajoler to streamline the regulatory review processes involved in housing development approvals.
The Workforce Housing Development Commission made recommendations for regulatory barrier reduction, and the
Red Tape Reduction Plan worked to streamline county reviews of water and sewage permits. These efforts have substantially impacted the complex nature of regulatory issues at the county level leading to 31 new applications
for affordable communities and 300 new affordable units during its first year of implementation.
Specific Actions Taken by Suffolk County
- Established the Workforce Housing Commission bringing individual townships and the private sector together
to address this issue. This committee recommended several streamlining measures that have been
implemented at the county and local governmental levels. Many of the measures give priority to affordable
- Established the Red Tape Reduction Plan that has cut permitting time in half and has significantly
- Implemented "one-stop" permitting process has been reduced review periods from 16 to 4 weeks.
- Authorized "fast track" permitting for developments containing at least 20 percent affordable housing
proposals cutting the review period from four weeks to just one.
- Appointed one representative per town to shepherd affordable housing developments through town
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as
well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.