FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 5, 2020
City of Kingston Publishes Study of Vacant and Abandoned Properties
KINGSTON, NY – Mayor Steven T. Noble is pleased to release a comprehensive study of vacant and abandoned properties in Kingston. The report was paid for entirely by private grant funds provided by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, and is the result of an extensive six-month study by the City of Kingston’s Department of Housing Initiatives.
The report details historic and existing conditions and recommends several new initiatives, including:
- The creation of an interdepartmental Vacant Property Task force to collaborate with elected officials, local businesses, and community leaders to identify and propose comprehensive, actionable solutions to blighted properties throughout the City.
- Streamline the commencement of the foreclosure process from 4 years to 2 years, in order to allow property owners with difficulty paying real estate taxes to enter into a payment plan with the City sooner, so that foreclosures can more likely be prevented.
- The presentation to the Common Council several State Laws which, if enacted on a local level, would incentivize the re-use of vacant properties for homeownership.
- Moving forward with the City’s efforts to engage a consultant to undertake a community-driven update to the City’s zoning code, allowing for the creation of additional tax revenue and affordable housing throughout the City.
The report also details the need for new housing across the spectrum of all income levels in the City. Among the findings, nearly half (45%) of all households in Kingston are either cost-burdened or severely cost-burdened, a trend that is increasing, according to the report.
“We are pleased to release this study, which in essence is a plan for making housing more equitable in our community, at a time when we are both in desperate need of housing stock, and are experiencing a sharp increase in home prices,” said Mayor Noble. “I want to thank the Local Initiatives Support Corporation and Mike Gilliard, the City’s Director of Housing Initiatives for their thoughtful and thorough work on this report, which I hope will guide everything from legislation to tax collection as we work to protect our residents.”
“This timely report demonstrates the need for several specific initiatives to stem the tide of vacant and abandoned properties in Kingston,” said Mike Gilliard, Director of the City’s Housing Initiatives. “Implementing these important changes will require collaboration between City departments, elected officials, and the public at large. The Housing Initiatives department looks forward to leading these partnerships to produce greatly-needed housing opportunities for all City residents.”
The report was prepared by Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress, a non-profit policy, planning, advocacy and research organization. The organization’s mission is to promote regional, balanced and sustainable solutions that enhance the growth and vitality of the Hudson Valley.
“Pattern for Progress was pleased to work alongside the City of Kingston and the Land Bank in creating a strategic plan and offering recommendations that establish a proactive approach for the reuse of vacant buildings,” said Joe Czajka, Senior Vice President for Research, Development, & Community Planning at Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress. “The City should be commended on their work in connecting the dots between the needs of the residents and mitigating challenges associated with vacant buildings.”
The housing study can be found at: https://kingston-ny.gov/filestorage/8399/8469/15358/City_of_Kingston_Housing_Study_10.15.20_final.pdf