Weisbrod: Affordable housing solution will include the ‘burbs

City Planning chairman says De Blasio’s goal of 200,000 units won’t suffice

Carl Weisbrod and Mayor Bill de Blasio
Carl Weisbrod and Mayor Bill de Blasio

City Planning Commission chairman Carl Weisbrod admitted yesterday that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s goal of creating and preserving 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next decade won’t solve the affordable housing crisis. To make a real impact, he said, policymakers will have to look toward the suburbs.

“For all our efforts, even as we hit—even if we hit all our targets—we won’t fully solve the housing crisis in the next decade unless there is a radical change in federal housing policy—sadly, an unlikely occurrence,” Weisbrod said during a Crain’s New York Business forum, according to Capital New York. “So what else can we be doing? For one thing, we should be looking more broadly at the at the metro region.”

Weisbrod said that while the number of commuters coming into the city each day is growing, the number of people commuting to jobs outside of the city is also growing, necessitating a strategy that considers the entire region, including producing more apartments outside the five boroughs and improving transit.

Earlier this month, a spokesperson for de Blasio scoffed at the idea of prioritizing the suburbs, saying “the notion that the mayor of New York City would encourage residents to leave for the suburbs is bad public policy and bad urban planning.”

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Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, said that he doesn’t expect construction in the suburbs to be a major part of solving the affordable housing crisis, due to pushback from area residents and transportation costs, among other things.

De Blasio’s administration has been mulling rezonings that would require affordable housing as part of all new development in certain areas. Last year, the city beat its goals for newly built or preserved affordable units. [Capital NY] — Tess Hofmann