How Can An ADU Help the Housing Crisis in Upstate NY?

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Help solve housing crisis! Approve ADU Housing NOW!
14.5 M housing units suffered damage in the last year due to severe weather. ADUs can help solve our immediate housing crisis.

Linda J. Kaidan

Accessory Dwellings to the Rescue NYS

Nationwide extreme weather has magnified the severe housing crisis in upstate NY.  On 2/17/22 The Washington Post reported that 14.5 million dwelling units sustained property losses in the preceding 12 months. Damages totaled about  $57 Million by November 17, 2022.  The current US population is  333 M and there is 1 housing unit for every 2.5 people (US Census).

36.25 M people suffered damage to their homes from severe weather in a 1-year period. (36.25 M / 333 M ) or 10% of the US population in a single year!

ADU is an accessory dwelling unit that can be attached or detachedNew York State Senate Bill S4547A 2021-2022,  which has not yet passed, proposes the legalization of ADUs on properties zoned residential, with the expectation that it will help homeowners earn some income while proving affordable rental housing in a tight market. The American Institute of Architects describes ADUs as attached or detached units situated on a single lot. They may include garage apartments, finished basements, or in-law suites.

In New York State some municipalities provide legal zoning for ADUs! Where can we build an ADU?

In Utica, NY you can build an ADU up to 800 SF.

Syracuse ADU zoning is defined in the document Rezone Syracuse Ordinance  December 2019.

Neither Albany, NY nor New York City have approved ADU construction. Overall it appears that little headway in ADU permitting has been achieved in New York State’s urban areas. It seems very sad that zoning is not more flexible, especially as it would help create more affordable housing, provide extra income to homeowners and stretch urban infrastructure.  Let’s hope we can change some minds soon.

Micron’s 100 Billion $ Investment Leads to Land Grab in Central NY

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Land Grab
Housing Shortage in Central NY May be causing Land Grab

by Linda Kaidan

On Aug 25, 2022, President Biden signed an Executive Order to implement semiconductor funding in the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act of 2022. Chip manufacturer Micron considered two candidate states for its new facility: Texas and NY. Just one week after  Hurricane IAN struck Gulf  Coast  Fort Meyers FL on October 4, 2022, Micron Announced its $100 Billion Megafab Manufacturing Facility would be built in central NY.

Texas has been troubled by significant flooding, drought, and tornados making it unattractive in terms of climate change safety! It is anticipated that the new Micron facility in Clay New York will bring 50,000 new jobs to New York State. US-based supply chain safe DRAM production reduces risk while improving our local economy.
 
There is limited availability of homes nationwide! Even before IAN caused massive devastation in Florida, Pewtrusts.org reported that it might take 10 years to catch up on housing shortages. Massive construction of housing projects in NYS will be needed to provide homes for those who move here!
 
Greedy investors are motivated to grab available properties in Central NY. Some may use street gangs to harass vulnerable owners into moving! If you feel that this is happening to you don’t give in or you will be giving up your personal goldmine! We recommend an easy solution that is totally legal. Try Halt II Dog Repellant. Legal in New York State it repels dogs of all kinds 🙂 Also, take lots of photos and post them on YOUTUBE. Use hashtag gangBgone#. Giving up your nest egg is idiotic and will result in far more economic insecurity for your family!
 
Be brave and keep safe. You CAN do it!
 
 
 

Climate Change Projected To Improve Herkimer NY Economy

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by Linda Kaidan

 We’re republishing this prophetic article, first posted in June 2017, to help those researching places to move to in upstate New York following the devastation of Hurricane Ida.

Yesterday’s New York Times discussed damage to our economy likely to be caused by climate change. Herkimer County NY (see above map) is likely to have GDP growth of at least 5% per year rather than GDP decline. This is indicated by the dark green color on the map. Similar advantages of climate are shared by west Alaska, adjacent Hamilton County and Maine.

Climate Change DEMOGRAPHICS will transform herkimer

The Herkimer Post’s recent review of Herkimer’s soaring home sales strongly hints that retirees who might once have moved South are relocating to Central New York, and especially to conveniently-located Herkimer. Given increasingly refined and alarming climate change figures, this migration trend’s likely to accelerate. 

There’s little residential construction in Herkimer and the supply of available housing is small. Competition for existing homes will become brisk. Buyers of vacation homes may also be turning their eyes from the sandy but imperiled Atlantic and Gulf beach communities north to the Mohawk Valley and Southern Adirondacks.

A critical mass of middle and upper-middle-class home buyers inevitably transform a community. Landlords either sell out or renovate properties to appeal to affluent newcomers. Empty storefronts become shops again. The police become responsive and the streets safe as criminals move on, no longer tolerated and unable to make a living. We saw this transformation happen in Boston’s Roxbury and Charlestown, and we’re seeing it begin here in Herkimer.

Promising new technologies can reduce greenhouse gas

Climate change becomes more erratic and costly every year. Yet there are many technologies that will help combat this devastating process. As our president continues to deny climate change, some technology innovators are filling the gap left by ineffectual governance.

Bill Gates is heading a $1 billion venture fund supporting development of clean energy technology, Breakthrough Energy Ventures. Co-founders include Jeff Bezos and Richard Brandon. The goal of the fund is to build companies that will provide affordable emissions-free energy. Gates is personally investing $1 billion in startups and companies starting this year.

Climeworks, a new Swiss company hopes to extract 1% of worldwide CO2 from the atmosphere by 2025. Company founders Christoph Gebald and Jan Wurzbacher invented a Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology while students at ETH Zurich. They have lowered the cost of CO2 extraction from the air to less than $600 per ton. Climeworks envisions that they can create 250,000 plants by 2025.

Reducing greenhouse gases is essential to the planet’s survival, but blocking the sun may buy some time. Today there are over 375 operational nanosatellites in space, which may help us to find and improve climate change solutions.

As the earth grows ever hotter, it makes sense to consider moving to those green places on the map which are the most sustainable to live in, places like Herkimer, NY.

From September 16, 2017:

Herkimer County Ideal for Hurricane Refugees

Uncertain Times Call For Herkimer County Local Energy Security

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By Linda Kaidan

Local energy security is key to community survival in times of uncertainty, yet
Herkimer County has the lowest level of local solar energy production in NY state.

Solar energy is priced competitively, dependable and environmentally friendly. Solar farms can produce excellent income for farmers and provide secure local energy.  

Herkimer County Solar Energy Production
Herkimer’s solar energy production in bottom tier of NYS counties

Recently we’ve seen how easily supply chains can be disrupted by international catastrophe.

Before Covid-19 appeared in March 2020, it seemed that our favorite foods, cleaning products and cheap manufactured goods made in other countries like China would be endlessly accessible.  Now when we go shopping we are reminded that this is no longer the case. Think about what would happen with a local energy shortage or outage. No heat in our homes. No light. Health care facility malfunction.

Products like energy often have vulnerable supply chains too.

That is why New York has an aggressive program supporting green energy throughout the state. Local green energy produced by wind, water and sun protects the environment. It also ensures that should there be a disruption in availability caused by epidemic, civil unrest or even war we will have the power we need. We will continue to be capable of manufacturing our own products and also have energy for utilities and transportation.

A NYS solar farm map published in 2019 shows solar production by county.

The light counties have the lowest level of solar farm production. Let’s not count on luck to provide Herkimer with energy. Lets build new solar farms in our county that are wildlife friendly, farm friendly and neighbor friendly.

Plans for a local solar farm on approximately 140 acres adjacent to Herkimer College are currently being reviewed by county officials.

This land has significant forest and includes some wetlands. It is located about 1 mile NW of Herkimer Community College’s baseball field parking lot at 188 Sokol Road. Provided wetlands are protected and  consideration is given to wildlife passing through the area, a new solar farm can greatly benefit our county. While losing forest is not desirable, well designed solar farms can accommodate meadow growth favorable to pollinators and can be farm friendly and aesthetically pleasing. 

NYC’s 2019 Homeless Housing Budget of $3.2 Billion Can Build .35 Million People Affordable Homes

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By Linda Kaidan
The above cabin exclusive of interior finishes was constructed by one person in 6 months for $8,000. As the nation faces a housing and food crisis of major proportion, simple solutions can make a huge difference. We have been governed by customs and rules that work against us in this pandemic. We need to use the resources we have intelligently to hold off the chaos that starvation and homelessness bring.

We can economically provide food, housing and self-sufficiency

Using the labor of those in need, inexpensive materials, and existing education programs to ramp up quickly we can achieve multiple goals at the same time.  In New York state our budget can come from ending the absurd practice of using welfare hotels as housing. Key to our success would be the suspension of building regulations to enable crisis housing and the use of trending off-grid methods of heating, power, housing construction, water collection-purification and waste incinerating toilets.

What has been one year’s budget for New York state’s homeless would fund construction of semi-permanent residences, workplaces and food growing facilities serving thousands of people for years to come. A single modified shipping container can house 8 people, 2 per room, with a private entrance. In the following example, housing for 8 people is created, with potential expansion from 80 ft to 480 feet per unit. A budget of $9,000 per person would pay for a multi-unit structure at a cost of $72,000. The structure would utilize green energy, water collected from rain, black water reduction and home gardens.

Before Covid-19 things were already spectacularly bad for those in New York State seeking housing. Now they are even worse as employers close their doors and shed jobs. Just last year, the budget for New York City’s homeless was $3.2 billion for 133,000 people, 1/3 of whom were children.  Will this be another Great Depression? It need not be, when we to do things differently.

$3.2 billion can build .35 million people affordable homes that will last for many years

Using my onetime $9,000 per person figure for 15+ years of housing and the 2019 NYC homeless housing budget, we can solve our housing crisis by helping individuals and families build their own sustainable homes and gardens for a total of (3.2*(10**9)/9000 = .35 million people). And we can do that for many years, not just one year.

 

News of world’s largest semiconductor plant being built in Marcy New York causes boom in local real estate contracts

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By Linda Kaidan

World’s largest semiconductor plant being built in Marcy New York has an instant effect on our economy

Marcy is located near Utica, in Oneida County New York, just west of Herkimer. It is the future northern US site for Cree Inc, which will manufacture silicon carbide wafers used in electric vehicles and 5G technology. Close upon Cree’s announcement of their new facility in Marcy, in a matter of days the region experienced a boom in real estate contracts.

I was alerted to this when I noticed my Google maps photo views suddenly rise by 60,000 in a single day to over 600,000. As a Google Guide who focuses on Central New York, I was astounded by this dramatic increase and wanted to understand why. Guessing it was related to this momentous commitment to Mohawk Valley industrial development, I investigated the real estate statistics. I used realtor.com’s listings for Oneida County, which will be home to this world class manufacturing facility, and those of surrounding counties.  Using realtor.com’s filter tool, I compared total listings with listings not under contract.

Strong percent of real estates listings under contract of 25% to over 40%

Onondaga and Oneida counties, home respectively to Syracuse and Utica, have the highest volume of real estate contracts (see red counties on map), with over 45% of all listings under contract. Surrounding counties of Madison, Oswego, Herkimer, Cortland and Lewis (yellow counties), have 25% to 40% of their listings under contract.

The risk of coastal living diminishes when new jobs and homes are created in Central NY.

We can look forward to high quality jobs and an abundance of opportunities for contractors as a result of world’s largest semiconductor plant being built in Marcy New York. Creating jobs and incentives to live in central NY is a healthy way to counter the risks of coastal living.

What’s Good About Herkimer’s Bad Crime Figures

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Stephen Ames Berry

The most recently available crime figures for Herkimer are horrible.  Neighborhood Scout’s December 2018 report, assigned Herkimer a crime rating a 4, meaning that 96% of all US communities are safer than Herkimer. Chicago is safer than Herkimer

Herkimer’s violent crime rate is one of the highest in the nation… In Herkimer, your chance of becoming a victim of violent crime is one in 134…Of property crime, one in 21. [Also one of the highest in the nation.]

Neighborhood Scout’s most recent figures don’t just regurgitate the FBI’s semiannual  figures. They analyze data sourced from communities, and drill down, identifying each crime by geolocation code.

 The most unsafe area of Herkimer, for example, is shown as the south of Herkimer Village, where we live.  Looking at this blog’s crime postings and YouTube channel, you’ll see how accurate that report is: All of our 100+ videos of Herkimer crime were taken within 40 meters of our home.

The Good News About Herkimer’s Bad Crime Statistics

The good news about Herkimer’s bad crime stats is that they’re realistic. Had we seen such grim figures before buying a house in Herkimer 5 years ago, you wouldn’t be reading this–we’d have bought that nice two-family in nearby Little Falls, and I’d be finishing my long-neglected technothriller sequel. Little Falls doesn’t seem to have much of a gang presence. Here we’ve long had a gang entrenched next door, still enjoying diplomatic immunity.

 Only through hard won experience did we learn the crime figures were low because the police only made a few token arrests. If you suppress complaints and don’t make arrests, your reported crime rate stays low and crime soars. It’s this misfeasance that made Herkimer a haven for  drug and child trafficking gangs and its streets unsafe for the law-abiding.

Herkimer crime a visual motif
The 3 Wise Monkeys of Herkimer “If you suppress complaints and don’t make arrests, your reported crime rate stays low and crime soars.”

Herkimer No Longer Suppresses Crime Reports

It’s hard to resolve a problem without acknowledging it. Crime is now reported in Herkimer and arrests made, as reflected in these crime figures.  Last year saw some previously well-protected gang members arrested, notably the Joyce Barton gang’s vicious Shianne Hill, for assaulting a neighborhood grandmother. (Hill’s serving a year’s probation.)

Shianne Hill About to attack eldeerly woman
Herkimer’s Shianne Hill moving to attack neighboring grandma.

Crime Statistics a Lagging Indicator

Crime statistics are always a lagging indicator. Current dynamics hint that life is growing less perilous here in Herkimer.  Some of our most visible froth on the scum of the earth have either vanished or are keeping a low profile.   Poison gas attacks have stopped for now. And home sales are doing quite well. 

Joyce Barton Herkimer gang
“Some of our most visible froth on the scum of the earth have either vanished or are keeping a low profile.” Joyce Barton of Herkimer’s Barton Gang, sending a little love our way.
“Some of our most visible froth on the scum of the earth have either vanished or are keeping a low profile.” Stanley Sykes of Herkimer’s Sykes Gang sending a little love our way.

Climate Change Boosts Herkimer Real Estate Sales

I want to believe that Herkimer’s apparent crime crack down’s due to a sudden epiphany. But frankly it’s probably because the feds and the state are leaning on Herkimer. New York’s neglected Upstate has been widely identified as an ideal climate change sanctuary area, with Herkimer County predicted to boom as much of the US struggles to cope with escalating  climate change devastation. 

We in Herkimer and Upstate are sitting on some of the most valuable future real estate in US. The Gulf Coast and the Atlantic seaboard are rapidly losing their allure as retirement havens as massive storms increasingly batter the region amid rising seas, spreading homelessness and misery. New York City’s future is one of rising waters and shrinking land. Half of New York’s people  live in the state’s maritime counties. There’s no central national planning for climate change mitigation or relocation.  We aren’t the only ones who know this.

Herkimer area home sales and prices continue rising as eyes and interest  increasingly turn north, reflecting the region’s limited housing stock and a growing number of buyers. The median sale price rise for Herkimer real estate rose 7.2% in 2018 and is projected to almost double in 2019, to 13.3%, according to Zillow. Given the emerging dynamics of climate change migration, Herkimer real estate sale price should continue to rise.

Where Have All The Bodies Gone? (Redux)

Interestingly there are still no murders reported for Herkimer. This is very odd. Statistically, Herkimer should have murders, given its violent crime rate. We argued in our post Where Have All the Bodies Gone?  that Herkimer does have murders, they’re just  well concealed.  Opioids would be the least messy way to accomplish that, given the region’s opioid crisis.

Crime Widespread in the Mohawk Valley

Not just Herkimer is dangerous. So is much of the Mohawk Valley. Neighborhood Scout gives Utica a crime rank of 9. Little Falls ranks 14. Surprisingly, our neighboring village of Mohawk is a seeming paradise, according to its crime figures.

Village of Mohawk a Law Abiding Paradise?

Mohawk, adjacent to Herkimer and Little Falls, has a crime rating of 92. It doesn’t get much better. I’m a bit skeptical about that as Joseph Malone is the Mohawk Police Chief. When we moved here, he was also the Herkimer police chief. In May of 2016 Malone resigned as Herkimer police chief in the teeth of an ethics investigation. He was replaced by Chief Joseph Jory, who is apparently not arrest shy. So is Mohawk really all that safe? 

Escalating real estate sale prices may decrease crime rates

As real estate prices rise, crime drops. We saw this happen in Boston as tech firm workers bumped up sales prices, sparking a city-wide real estate boom. We did well  buying older  houses in marginal areas and renovating them. Criminals could no longer  afford to live in transitioned areas and were mostly gone after a few years. The same dynamics are emerging in Herkimer. Median monthly rents are now $900, up from $700 a few months ago.  Herkimer’s legacy gangs live in and traffic out of rented houses whose owners will sell out when the price is right. And that time seems close at hand. The Herkimer Post will continue greasing their skids.

We’re hoping next year’s Herkimer crime report, reflecting 2018, will show significant improvement as a result of better law enforcement amid changing demographics.

Jay Smith Continues Housing Criminals As Climate Change Escalates Homeless count

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by Linda Kaidan

2018 leaves us with a legacy of climate change disasters on a planetary scale unparalleled in human history. Herkimer, NY is safer from climate disaster than most any place in our country and is thus a valuable resource in maintaining civilization. Rather than housing criminals as climate change escalates, it’s  time for us to learn how to enable ourselves to be as constructive and self sustaining as possible while providing a haven to those fleeing disasters. 

Sobering statics that should motivate us to change:

Landlord Jay Smith continues supporting criminal tenants

17% of the 22 homes on Pleasant Ave in Herkimer, NY are owned by Jay Smith who is the recorded owner of 27 Herkimer, NY properties. We have observed that 5 of these homes have been sheltering gang harassers, drug dealers and drug addicts. Mr. Smith’s tenants have destroyed our property, harassed and assaulted us during the nearly 5 years we have lived here. His tenants, our neighbors at 332 Pleasant Ave who are law abiding, just moved out replaced by known associates of his criminal tenants. Stanley Sykes, former Jay Smith tenant, admitted that some of these residents were members of the famous US gang, the Crips.

Housing criminals as climate change escalates destabilizes our community

It’s interesting that at a time of excessive housing shortages, climate change migrations and massive economic losses, Mr. Smith considerately continues to rent to active criminals. There are no houses listed for sale on Pleasant Avenue in Herkimer, NY where we have recently seen an influx of skilled Amish tradesmen and out of town construction contractors working on home renovations.

Home owners and landlords everywhere can reduce homelessness and make money

Affordable housing with smaller units can help people live better adding to neighborhood stability while providing a decent income for landlords. Mr. Smith can easily rethink his position as a landlord and make a positive contribution to climate change survival for our community.

MIT nanotech breakthrough shrinks stuff: makes affordable climate change solutions possible!

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Linda J. Kaidan

Nanotechnology is important in greenhouse gas reduction. This game changing technology can seriously impact our ability to fight climate change.

Up until recently nanotech has been costly. MIT technologists have greatly reduced the cost of producing nanoscale products by using a new approach called Implosion Fabrication (ImpFab). It weakens electron repulsion and produces structures that are one thousand times smaller than the original through a kind of 3-d printing.

What does 1000 times smaller mean?

MIT breakthrough makes nanotech cheap! Nanotechnology has been costly to work with because conventional manufacturing processes could not be used. They could not be applied to work on such a tiny scale. With this invention, conventional techniques can be used to develop structures which can then be miniaturized.

How does the shrinking process work?

Large-scale objects are embedded in hydrogels and then shrunk to nanoscale using implosion fabrication. A 3-d molecular structure is created within a hydrogel. “The acid blocks the negative charges in the polyacrylate gel so that they no longer repel each other, causing the gel to contract.” Objects shrink to 1/1000 of their original size.

How can nano technology solutions help us fight climate change?

In 2014 UCSD’s Nanowerks team reported on their new nanotech solar solution capable of converting 90% of the sun’s light into heat. Such technology, once affordable, would clearly enable solar heat to become inexpensive and widely available.

Nanomaterials can also be used to reduce global pollution and environmental degradation. They are used to filter heavy metals from water and greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

While this MIT nanotech breakthrough can help us heal our planet faster, it’s important that each of us do our fair share in creating our own sustainable solutions at the community level.

Climate change devastation, Republican social service cuts – You bet these will affect you!

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You can thwart irresponsible Republican government

Now that Republicans have control of the congress, senate, presidency and supreme court look forward to cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The number of homeless people in the US is rapidly increasing with loss of housing caused by climate change catastrophes. Less money for essentials like food shelter and healthcare means increased poverty, sickness and death. 

1. Share your living space to increase your available income.

If you have a house or apartment consider renting out a room to guests. By sharing your home, you can create affordable housing for someone as well as an additional income for yourself. When you share your space, you’ll be cutting down on energy expenses too.

2. Reduce food costs by buying best value food in terms of both nutrition and price.

We are taking our own advice by limiting our budget to $400 a month for 2 adults. This goal is easy to achieve when you buy primary foods like milk, eggs, chicken, rice, cornmeal, fruits and vegetables rather than processed foods like TV dinners, fast food and soft drinks. Cooking meals for everyone in your household, rather than foraging independently can lower costs and increase a sense of friendship in your home.

3. Create your own financial independence.

If you share a room with someone and budget your food wisely, total living expense can be little as low $450 a month per person. Even if you work half time, you should be able to save at least $5000 in a single year. If you were to get together with some other people, you would be able to  jointly purchase an inexpensive home or some camping land to create your own mortgage and rent-free housing, thus achieving a degree of financial independence that will continue to reward you.

4. Grow your own food.

When you share a home with others you can grow your own food too. I have noticed that many fruits and vegetables cost as much as chicken breast per pound. It’s easy to grow tomatoes, lettuce, beans, squash and much more in your own yard.

5. Teach yourself new skills and profit from them.

You can learn some basic skills that are useful to many people. Skills like carpentry, simple plumbing, fence construction and deck building are often in demand. When you have these and other skills you can find work or trade your services for things you need. It doesn’t take much to turn your economic constraints into economic advantages when you make the most of resources you have been taking for granted!

6. Vote for someone who cares about your well-being!

Make sure that you vote Democrat in the upcoming elections Tuesday November 6, 2018 if you want to have health care and to collect the social security benefits you pay for when you work! Our current national elected officials feel that it’s fine for wealthy people to pay no taxes and to let others go without healthcare and retirement benefits they have paid for their entire working lives.  

In our harsh political and environmental climate, life can rapidly become more difficult. You can make your life head in a better direction by taking measures that are easily within your ability to achieve.

by Linda Kaidan