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CenterState CEO looks to take on CNY housing issues

CenterState CEO is the latest group to weigh in on housing woes in central New York. A policy memo has determined a multi-faceted approach is needed, to ease the current shortage of diverse, affordable housing. It also will require central New Yorkers to change their thinking about housing.

There’s a lack of affordable, diverse housing right now in central New York. And Micron coming to town will only add to the housing woes, according to Jared Shepard, of CenterState CEO.

“We expect at least 75,000 people coming into this region as new residents," Shepard said. "I think upwards of 125,000 is perfectly reasonable. So the pressure there will drive up prices even higher, will affect affordability, push out particularly those who are most vulnerable on the margins of affordability."

To accommodate the growth, a Housing Task Force memo said the region needs 25,000 units of new housing per year for the next ten years. There are currently 11,000 new units in the pipeline. Shepard said the memo has several suggestions to boost new housing, things like revising zoning laws, streamlining regulations, taking advantage of housing programs and creating ways to increase capital. Some of that will require a community mindset change about housing, in particular, what Shepard calls the “missing middle," certain kinds of housing that are rare in central New York.

"It's duplexes, fourplexes, cottage courts, townhomes," Shepard said. "It could also be accessory dwelling units. It's an area of the market that is missing because in a lot of cases, it's been zoned out of existence. And it's in the middle because it also is a density and an affordability that hits a lot of our workforce market that we want to develop."

Shepard said to get that kind of development to thrive, communities have to get rid of a “not in my backyard” mentality. He said residents need to know the issues, and pressure lawmakers to make necessary changes. He said one way to do that is to find a great example of it in central New York.

"That everyone can see and they can see how well these densities work, how well these housing types work, how beneficial these communities are when we have mixed-income and have mixed-use together and then build more of it when we see that there's a demand for it and the positivity of it," Shepard said.

CenterState said it’s important the community not get overwhelmed, but continue to keep advocacy moving forward to create equitable housing growth.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.