City Council to approve de Blasio housing plans, with changes

Deal will require more affordable housing, limit height rule amendments

Mar.March 15, 2016 08:03 AM

City officials finally cut a deal on the future of New York’s housing policy.

The City Council is set to enact Mayor Bill de Blasio’s major housing initiatives after striking a deal to alter several of the planned rule ranges, strengthening affordability requirements. Business groups, not surprisingly, are less than thrilled.

The agreement struck between the executive and legislative will deepen affordable housing concessions required of landlords who benefit from city rezonings under the new Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program. The accord maintains height limits in some Manhattan neighborhoods and made changes to parking requirements at senior and housing developments in the outer boroughs, Politico reported.

De Blasio’s proposal created three affordable housing options for residential developers who benefit from rezonings. The City Council will add a fourth, which will require that 20 percent of units go to tenants making 40 percent of the area median income (AMI). The Council will also the lower the level of the top affordability tier, to 115 percent of area median income from 120 percent.

The deal will also make changes to de Blasio’s Zoning for Quality and Affordability plan. It will also exempt parts of Manhattan from a five-foot increase in height allowance. Additionally, it will keep in place requirements that some outer borough senior housing developments within a half-mile of public maintain a parking lot.

Business groups spoke out against the agreement, saying the housing plan could result in fewer affordable units being built.

“It is great that the Council wants to get to ‘yes,’ but their design and affordability proposals add up to a more expensive, less flexible program that will likely produce fewer affordable units over all,” said president of the Partnership for New York City Kathryn Wylde, according to the New York Times. “The Council’s call for 20 percent of units to be rented at 40 percent of A.M.I. will typically require additional subsidy from another source, which limits the volume of production that can be achieved through the zoning package alone.” [Politico, NYT]Ariel Stulberg

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