De Blasio’s zoning push kicks off

City Planning to certify three new affordable-housing oriented proposals

From left: Bill de Blasio and Inez Barron
From left: Bill de Blasio and Inez Barron

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s effort to rezone away the city’s affordable housing problems is finally under way.

Three zoning proposals will hit the Department of City Planning’s docket Monday afternoon: the rezoning of East New York, along with new rules governing “Mandatory Inclusionary Housing” and “Zoning for Quality and Affordability.”

The city plans to change zoning rules in East New York to spur new development in the growing neighborhood while preserving affordability. City Hall has said 1,200 apartments there will be devoted to low-income housing in the first two years. Fully half of new housing in the area will be affordable to locals, wrote City Planning in the proposal.

The proposal has seen opposition from activists and city officials. Council member Inez Barron said the plan was,”Totally unrealistic. To say that only 50 percent of the so-called affordable housing is going to be earmarked for people and that 12 percent of that are people making what 100 percent or 90 percent of my community makes … this is a model for gentrification that I’m not going to support,” Politico reported.

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The second proposal, for “Mandatory Inclusionary Housing,” will require 25 to 30 percent of new units in rezoned areas to go to low-income tenants.

And the third, “Zoning for Quality and Affordability,” encompasses a number of smaller changes such as eliminating parking space requirements in some neighborhoods and raising maximum building heights slightly in some cases.

All three programs still require input from community boards and borough presidents, as well as City Council. [Politico]Ariel Stulberg