New housing laws needed to keep creative types in NYC

November 11, 2011 09:18AM

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From left: Department of Design and Construction Commissioner David Burney, Department of Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri and the single-occupancy housing style

Antiquated laws for housing types in the city are restricting development of the type of residencies needed most in the city, according to the Citizens Housing and Planning Council. The New York Times reported that last week, the council hosted an exposition where architects presented ideas for new types of housing for lower-income New Yorkers. Developers and city officials were on hand and critiqued the proposals. Many of the designs were based on the concept of single-room-occupancy hotel.

The current problem, according to the new housing advocates, is that even though most homes are designed with families in mind, just 17 percent of city housing units are occupied by parents raising children under the age of 25.

The council says there isn’t enough housing for people who can afford only a small amount of space, like artists, musicians and writers, and living space large enough for more than three unrelated adults to share.

Part of that is because of local housing laws. It’s illegal to build units smaller than 400 square feet and without kitchens or bathrooms, and more than three unrelated adults can’t share an apartment. Even Department of Design and Construction Commissioner David Burney admits “the regulatory environment has fallen behind” the population.

But Department of Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri said the designs don’t do a good job of taking fire safety laws into account. [NYT]