City gets a head start on Mandatory Inclusionary Housing

Planning department already asking developers to submit plans under proposal's guidelines

Feb.February 03, 2016 09:31 AM

The fate of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s contentious Mandatory Inclusionary Housing proposal is yet to be decided, but the city is already asking developers to submit their rezoning plans under the program’s guidelines.

The City Planning Commission is set vote today on the mayor’s MIH proposal, which requires developers seeking residential rezonings to put aside 25 or 30 percent of a project for affordable housing. If approved, the plan will go on to the City Council, which would vote sometime in late March or early April.

The mayor’s proposal is by no means a fait accompli. Members of the council are split on the proposal, and the vast majority of the city’s community boards and four out of five borough presidents stand in opposition of the plan.

But the Department of City Planning expects the plan to get the green light, and even began asking developers to submit applications soon after de Blasio announced his proposal in September.

“In anticipation of the adoption of Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, they asked us to submit it as part of the application,” said land-use attorney Howard S. Weiss, whose firm Davidoff Hutcher & Citron submitted a rezoning application for a site in Red Hook in October.

Weiss’ client is looking to rezone a manufacturing site in order to construct a nursing home at 141 Conover Street, and while the owner wouldn’t be required to build any affordable housing, the city is including it in the MIH program in the event the site is later sold off to a residential developer, he explained.

The city already has a growing list of MIH projects in the pipeline.

In Inwood, Washington Square Partners and Acadia Realty Trust filed an application last month to rezone the site of a U-Haul lot at 4650 Broadway. The developers are planning a 23-story, mixed-use building that will set aside 30 percent of its 355 units as affordable apartments.

Late last month the owners of a Crown Heights site filed an application to rezone a full block front along Classon Avenue between Pacific and Dean Streets under the plan. The applicants, listed in property records as Joshua Einhorn and Martin Daskal, plan to build a 103-unit residential building on a portion of the site.

And in December, the city’s department of Housing Preservation and Development filed an application in Flushing for a 208-unit affordable and senior home that Brooklyn-based Monandock Development is developing on a city-owned site.

It’s not quite clear what will happen with the proposals if the MIH plan fails to receive the council’s final approval.

“I don’t know, honestly,” Washington Partners’ CEO Paul Travis said. “Obviously the goal is to provide affordable housing, so we’d have to talk to the city about how that would happen. There’s no 421a either. I think everyone’s proceeding with the assumption that the [elected officials] will work something out.”

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that all five borough presidents opposed the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing proposal. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer formally supports the plan.

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