The flaws in De Blasio’s affordable housing plan: OPINION

February 10, 2014 02:20PM

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to add or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next decade would be better served by a more flexible proposal than has so far been presented, according to the New York Times Editorial Board.

De Blasio’s “most aggressive proposal,” as the board dubbed it, would require — rather than encourage — developers to set aside low- and moderate-income units in major projects.

But despite similar measures in place in other American cities, The Times Editorial Board writes that such a plan is less likely to be successful in New York City, thanks to courts that are less sympathetic to local government efforts to manage housing creation.

Also of concern to the board are “excessively rigid laws” in general.

“Housing experts have found that programs with greater flexibility — offering off-site options, and incentives rather than mandatory participation — may produce more units,” the editorial board writes. “The mayor needs to work with builders to find mutually beneficial solutions, particularly outside Manhattan.”

Such efforts need to be bolstered by a revamped property tax on rental properties, more money in the capital budget for affordable housing and repair to the New York City Housing Authority’s deteriorating public housing, the board writes.

“Mr. de Blasio should seriously consider a plan, proposed by the Bloomberg administration, that would lease open space in the public housing projects to developers who would build mixed-income apartments that would generate $30 million to $50 million a year to be used to meet the system’s capital needs,” the board writes. “Under that plan, 20 percent of the units in the new buildings would be permanently set aside for low-income families.” [NYT]Julie Strickland