At his State of the Town address on March 2, Supervisor Michael Grace painted a very rosy picture of the town. But were all his statements true? I believe that many were not. For instance, when he defended his repeal of the affordable housing set aside law a few months ago, he said there are laws that have been on the books for affordable housing for many years that have not been used. He said we have plenty of diverse housing in Yorktown. He also said that Yorktown homeowners have not seen their property values go up at all—not even “a dime”—in 12 years! He also continues to maintain that the set aside law was illegal.
I have been on Yorktown’s Community Housing Board since the mid-1990s, and I can tell you that all these allegations are untrue. First, the only affordable housing law in Yorktown not used was the “density bonus,” which was repealed in the early 1990s, only a few years after its enactment, so of course it was not used. All others have been used, resulting in the town having 16 affordable housing units in our program. Additionally, according to Zillow.com, housing prices throughout Yorktown have been consistently going up since 2012. The Journal News has also reported on this rise in prices in the area. Also, although we do have diverse housing types in Yorktown, that does not make them automatically affordable. There is a great need for affordable housing, as any parent whose adult kids cannot afford to live here, or business owner whose workers cannot afford to live here, can tell you. If Mr. Grace had not repealed the set aside law, we could have more than doubled the number of housing units in our program, based on developments in process.
Finally, then as now, Mr. Grace has no proof of his contention the affordable housing set aside law was illegal, as similar laws have been in place in other New York towns with no issues, similar laws have been upheld in courts around the country, and in fact he admitted during the public hearing that no one had ever challenged Yorktown’s law.
Mr. Grace also announced his support and admiration for President Trump, and pointed out that he was doing what Trump is doing before Trump did it. Like his role model Mr. Trump, as shown above, Mr. Grace seems to prefer alternative facts. It makes me wonder what else in his speech was not true.