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State to give another $1.5 million for Shelter Island housing

It was a celebratory night March 21 with an announcement from Community Housing Board Chairwoman Elizabeth Hanley that Shelter Island has been approved to receive another $1.5 million from New York State to create more accessory dwelling units (ADUs).

ADUs are spaces in existing properties where apartments might be created in either a main house or an accessory building.

Ms. Hanley got word late last week the money will be forthcoming. The state cited the 16 projects financed with the initial New York State Plus One $2 million grant as proof the town has the ability to move successfully in creating ADUs.

As construction gets underway on those financed by the initial $2 million grant, it’s expected the project will be featured by New York State in its advertising about the program’s success.

The window for Islanders to apply for funds hasn’t opened, Ms. Hanley said. But she will let Islanders who want to apply for grants of up to $125,000 know when they can apply, and will schedule an information session to provide details about what the program entails for the next group of applicants.

While the ADU program doesn’t require units to meet Suffolk County standards for affordable housing, the Community Housing Board is hoping some of the units offered will be at lower rental costs than are typical in the area.

When this second tranche of grants is allocated and work completed, the town will have a total of 28 new rentals, Ms. Hanley said.

While that program moves forward, the Housing Board is also planning a couple of dates for Islanders to view some of the potential designs for affordable rentals and sale houses.

Dates and venues for those will be announced as soon as they are determined.

Housing Board members want the public to see some of the designs being considered and to get some feedback on what people like or dislike about various structures. The sessions won’t be forums, but simply an opportunity to view designs and offer input.

Among important aspects to whatever units are constructed — in addition to cost — are that units are pleasing to those who want to maintain the character of a neighborhood and embrace green environmental concepts.

Councilman Benjamin Dyett, a liaison to the Housing Board and the Green Options Committee, raised the question about including green practices, and members agreed that was their goal as well. They agreed to either have a couple of their members meet with the Green Options Committee, or invite representatives of that committee to their next meeting.