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Carroll Project Illustrates State’s Building Problem

It doesn’t appear that anyone wants a five-unit apartment complex in Frewsburg.

A recent special Carroll Town Board meeting lasting more than two hours included not one comment in favor of a project proposed by Diamond Builders Construction at 82 Falconer St., Frewsburg. But, the project as proposed meets the town of Carroll’s building and zoning codes – so there needs to be a good reason to deny it or the town could find itself in court.

In our opinion, what’s happening in Carroll is really happening across the state.

New York finds itself with a shortage of affordable housing. But despite her best efforts Gov. Kathy Hochul has had a hard time getting state lawmakers on board with her plans to build more housing across the state. And, we have seen locally opposition to housing projects – particularly for those aimed at low- to moderate-income projects – for the past few decades.

No matter how many pro-housing laws the state passes, no matter how much funding is made available to build new housing, there will always be community opposition. People have seen what is happening in their neighborhoods – and frankly they don’t want things to get worse. So they cling to what they know and fight new projects. Logically, we know the state needs more housing. We have seen the rapid increase in the price to own or rent and know the only way to decrease the cost of housing is to increase the supply. Logically we know new investment in our neighborhoods should increase the value of our homes and help reverse our longstanding population decline. Logically building new homes makes sense.

The unease with further changes to our neighborhoods overwhelms logic. Why support new housing if all new construction means is a revolving door of potential trouble down the street? Why build a new apartment if the tenants aren’t going to be part of an otherwise quiet, normal neighborhood? Why shouldn’t people be nervous when the decisions we’ve made in the past have destabilized neighborhoods?

Not having an answer to those questions is why people are uneasy with state-backed housing projects and with projects by local developers like Diamond Builders Construction that aim to build apartments rather than one-family homes.

Maybe the town of Carroll should do a quality and reputation on Diamond Builders Construction to see if they can establish a comfort level with this potential developer. It may help assuage town residents’ concerns, too.

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