East New York rezoning could displace 50,000 people: Stringer

City comptroller criticizes affordability requirement in current plan

Atlantic Avenue in East New York
Atlantic Avenue in East New York

The de Blasio administration’s plan to rezone East New York and create or preserve thousands of new affordable housing units may actually displace as many as 50,000 residents, according to City Comptroller Scott Stringer.

In a statement released Tuesday, Stringer claimed that the new affordable housing units created under the rezoning plan would in fact be unaffordable for 55 percent of East New York’s current residents, and that the market rate units would be unaffordable for 84 percent. A three-person household would need to make $46,620 annually to qualify for affordable units. The current median area income, however, is just $32,815.

Stringer’s analysis of the administration’s rezoning plan found that the number of housing units in East New York would increase by 6,312 apartments, a 51 percent jump. By the city’s metric, the proposal would produce 3,447 affordable housing units, largely through mandatory inclusionary zoning and subsidies. However, only about half of those units — 1,724 — would actually be affordable to current East New York residents, Stringer said.

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“Instead of strengthening the affordability of this community, the proposed rezoning would instead serve as an engine for displacement,” Stringer wrote, adding that the plan falls “woefully short” of protecting the 49,266 tenants currently living in unprotected units in East New York.

The de Blasio administration disputed Stringer’s report, telling the New York Daily News that hundreds of apartments will be priced for people making $23,350 per year.

Stringer’s analysis is bound to add fire to the already heated debate over the de Blasio’s administration rezoning plans. On Tuesday, the Brooklyn borough board rejected the plans, following similar decisions from boards in Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx. The plan would require residential developers in rezoned neighborhoods to set aside a fixed portion of units as affordable. – Konrad Putzier