The Real Deal New York

De Blasio butts heads with Council over vacant lot proposal

Mayor’s office says data collection plan could drive up land prices

September 16, 2016 07:30AM

NYC vacant lot (credit: Ralph Hockens)

NYC vacant lot (credit: Ralph Hockens)

The City Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio both want vacant properties developed, but that’s where the agreement ends.

The de Blasio administration testified against a proposal that would require the city to collect data on vacant lots and publicly-held buildings at a City Council meeting Thursday, saying it would lead to speculation.

A housing official told the Council committee that releasing an annual report of vacant properties could lead to “significant unintended consequences” and drive up land prices, Crain’s reported.

Two similar bills would require the de Blasio administration to release an annual census of vacant properties, and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to conduct an annual survey of city-owned properties to identify opportunities for the construction of affordable housing. The HPD, which controls 670 vacant lots, rejected the proposal saying it would trigger speculation, and that the information was available across several databases.

The debate over vacant lots has come up frequently during the de Blasio administration. The mayor had campaigned on taxing vacant lots and in February, an audit identified more than 1,000 city-owned vacant properties, triggering criticism of the administration’s inaction. [Crain’s] — Chava Gourarie

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