The following Letter to the Editor was published in Newsday on January 30th, 2017. You can read the original letter here.

Kudos to Newsday for highlighting the disconnect between what is actually affordable for Long Island’s renters and what is being called “affordable” in county code [“$3,100-a-month rent isn’t ‘affordable housing,’ ” Editorial, Jan.19].

The definition of affordability must be realistic across Nassau and Suffolk Counties – along with the terms “transit-oriented,” “Smart Growth,” and “walkable.” By defining these planning terms by standards that follow what their creators intended, we can ensure that our growth actually retains population in the region, increases transit use, and is truly sustainable.

As Long Island’s real estate developers, policymakers and stakeholders push to diversify housing stock with more multifamily mixed-use options, it’s critical that elected officials work with community leaders and residents to understand area needs, as well as the market.

For too long, Long Island’s development strategies have prioritized the vested interests of stakeholders, industry insiders, and the politically connected.

Richard Murdocco
Syosset, NY

Editor’s note: The writer blogs about Long Island land use at