For More Information:
Roger P. Akeley, Commissioner, Planning and Development, (845) 486-3600, firstname.lastname@example.org
March 8, 2002
Commissioner Roger Akeley, Dutchess County Department of Planning & Development has released a Report prepared by the Smart Growth Housing Task Force – a subgroup of the citizen member Dutchess County Planning Board. The Task Force, composed of local government officials, realtors, developers, non-profit housing organizations, economic development officials and senior citizen advocates, supported by the Dutchess County Planning Board and professional staff of Dutchess County Department of Planning and Development, met through the summer and early fall of 2001. The report was drafted in December 2001 and recently finalized for distribution. Original formation of the task force and development of the report was at the request of County Executive William R. Steinhaus who identified the issue of housing availability as a priority in his January 2001 State of the County Address.
According to Commissioner Akeley, “The goal of the Task Force was to summarize the current state of Dutchess County’s housing situation, identify obstacles to a balanced housing stock and make recommendations as to how to address those obstacles as a community. The report is divided into four sections. It discusses the changes in the County’s demographics; uses this information to determine whether the County’s housing stock is meeting the community’s housing needs; and identifies the major impediments to a balanced housing stock. The conclusion makes recommendations as to how to alleviate the impediments and encourage the development of a balanced housing stock.”
The report highlights the significant changes in the community since the last census, including an increase in the number of minorities, a decrease in the number of people between the ages of 18 and 34, and an equally significant increase in the number of senior citizens. Changes in our society, such as people staying single longer, the divorce rate, and the fact that people are living longer, contributed to the fact that while the population grew by 8%, the number of households grew by 11%. One and two-person households now make up 46.1% of the population and there are 7,835 single parent households in Dutchess County.
The income and employment section of the report shows significant increases in income (up 30% in the decade between 1990 and 2000) and dramatic changes in the workforce.
Because of the significant increase in commuters, the County has seen a drop in the number of volunteers; and the inability of workers to serve on local fire departments or various municipal boards may have long-term financial implications for the way many of our institutions function.
The report addresses the cost increases in the rental and for-sale housing market. The average rent increased between 8-10% from 2000 to 2001, and the current average rent for a one-bedroom apartment unit in Dutchess County is $781 and for a two-bedroom, it is $933. Few apartments are being built and much of what is being built is either costly or limited to senior citizens.
The “for-sale” housing market is equally tight. The current median sale price of a home has risen 35% since January 2000 to $210,000. Almost no moderately-priced homes or town homes are scheduled to be built in Dutchess County. The large, expensive homes that dominate new construction are inappropriate for young families, singles and senior citizens.
After identifying several impediments, including the lack of zoning for apartments or homes on small lots, the Task Force developed recommendations, both County wide and targeted for municipalities.
County-wide, the County should:
A full list of the recommendations issued by the Task Force is available in the report, which can be obtained from the Dutchess County Department of Planning & Development, 27 High Street, Poughkeepsie, or by calling (845) 486-3600.
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