Rezonings would trigger affordable housing mandates

Under de Blasio plan, developers would have to set aside at least 25 percent of the units

Jul.July 31, 2015 12:00 PM

For developers looking for a rezoning for their new residential projects, affordable housing may no longer be optional.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is adding a mandatory inclusionary zoning provision to his affordable housing plan, according to Capital New York. Under the new plan, developers would have to set a quarter of the units aside for affordable apartments in return for city approval for a rezoning. On average, such units would be rented to families earning 60 percent of the area’s median income, which currently amounts to $46,620 for a family of three.

The second option the mayor is proposing would require developers to reserve 30 percent of units for those who earn an average of 80 percent of the area’s median income. City planning officials and local council members would determine which of the two options is selected, not the developer.

“This affordable housing will be mandatory and it will be permanent,” de Blasio said in an email to Capital. “These are hard, new requirements that for the very first time set a floor for the affordable housing communities are owed in new development. We look forward to working with neighborhoods, elected officials and the Council to enact the strongest affordable housing requirements in the nation.”

De Blasio’s plan, which would require city council approval, would not impact whether developers qualify for 421a tax breaks. The city’s most lavish stretch of luxury highrises, dubbed “Billionaires’ Row” on West 57th Street, has subsidized only 89 affordable units across the five boroughs, according to a recent analysis by DNA Info.

All told, the mayor aims to build and preserve a total of 200,000 affordable units by 2024. The plan has created roughly 20,000 new affordable units so far, according to Capital.

The mayor is also looking to rezone several areas of the city to allow for denser developments that include more affordable units. Among the first will be East New York in Brooklyn. [Capital New York] — Claire Moses

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