The Real Deal New York

1,131 city-owned lots have languished for decades: Stringer

HPD officials said audit conclusions “false and misleading”

February 18, 2016 08:36AM

Scott Stringer Vicki Been

From left: Scott Stringer, a city-owned vacant lot in Brownsville and Vicki Been

City officials are feuding over (the lack of) development at more than 1,000 vacant lots owned by the city.

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development has allowed as many as 1,131 properties lie idle, with some sites largely abandoned, and many others where projects have been severely delayed, according to an audit by the office of Comptroller Scott Stringer.

Officials at HPD strongly rebuked Stringer’s accusations of foot-dragging, citing the many difficulties in developing the lots, and suggesting the picture isn’t as grim as his audit claims, the New York Times reported.

About 310 of the properties in question are in flood zones, or came with similar complications, an HPD spokesperson told the Times. About 150 more were unsuitable for residential development, and would work better as parks or police stations. And, 400 of the remaining 670 properties were already scheduled for development within the next two years, HPD told the paper.

“The assertion that H.P.D. allows vacant city-owned properties to languish in the face of the affordable housing crisis is simply wrong,” HPD Commissioner Vicki Been said in a statement.

The properties in question are mostly concentrated in Brooklyn and Queens, and came into the city’s possession after the fiscal crisis in the 1970s. [NYT]Ariel Stulberg

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