The Real Deal New York

Developers could appeal city’s mandatory inclusionary housing

Builders can appeal if they think requirement would prevent "reasonable profit"

December 09, 2015 11:10AM

Melissa Mark-Viverito Bill de Blasio

From left: Melissa Mark-Viverito and Bill de Blasio

Bill de Blasio isn’t the most popular guy within the city’s real estate circles, but the mayor’s proposal requiring developers to include affordable housing units at market-rate developments may include a legislative “escape hatch” for developers.

The “mandatory inclusionary housing” policy is meeting opposition as it moves through the public review process, but should the City Council approve it, developers would have to make up to one-third of residential units at projects affordable — if those projects get a city zoning variance or allowances for more floor space.

But the proposal also includes a passage describing when mandatory inclusionary housing isn’t actually mandatory, according to Crain’s. If developers believe that the affordable housing requirement would prevent them from making a reasonable profit, they can appeal and have the requirements reduced or eliminated.

The city’s Board of Standards and Appeals would be in charge of hearing appeals for exceptions to the requirement, though some already believe the body, which hears appeals to zoning issues like height restrictions, is ill-suited to rule on affordable housing.

“We strongly oppose any role for the Board of Standards and Appeals in this process,” Manhattan Community Board 7 wrote in a recent resolution about the proposal. [Crain’s]Rey Mashayekhi