New York wants to create a few nice places for seniors to enjoy their Golden Years. In August, Gov. David Paterson signed a new law that directs the state to develop model planning and zoning guidelines for communities to create compact, mixed-use senior housing and residential accessory dwelling units, called "granny flats."

The new law is one of several initiatives the state has implemented to improve the lives of seniors in the state, according to Paterson's office. The "granny flats" concept would address safety concerns seniors nationwide expressed in a recent poll by Washington-based AARP. Forty percent of respondents said they do not have adequate sidewalks in their neighborhoods; 44 percent said they do not have accessible public transit; and nearly half — 47 percent — said they cannot cross the main roads in their neighborhoods safely, according to the governor's office. "Continued sprawl, without adequate Smart Growth options, will only heighten seniors' isolation from the surrounding community, erode their sense of independence and mobility, and make it more difficult for them to remain physically and socially involved in their communities. For the one-in-five seniors over 65 who no longer drive, these adverse affects can be devastating," Paterson said in a statement.

In October, Paterson also approved several other initiatives aimed at seniors, including the Livable New York Resource Manual, which will help local officials, professionals and residents plan, zone and develop for livable communities, aging-in-place and sustainable neighborhoods. The manual addresses housing, transportation, mobility, green buildings, energy alternatives and inclusive planning.

Read more about New York's "granny flats" law and other initiatives for seniors.

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