De Blasio takes victory lap through Park Slope, knocks Bloomberg-era policy

The City Council approved two major affordable housing programs this week

From left: Michael Bloomberg and Bill de Blasio
From left: Michael Bloomberg and Bill de Blasio

Mayor Bill de Blasio strutted around Park Slope Wednesday, celebrating his administration’s legislative accomplishments while pondering what might have been if they’d been implemented years ago.

De Blasio, who lived in the neighborhood before moving to Gracie Mansion, lamented the Bloomberg administration’s choice to forgo a voluntary inclusion rezoning plan for Park Slope when the city changes height rules there in 2003.

“I think this is a day that’s bringing up a lot of feeling for me because I’m so proud of what we achieved this week and I know it’s going to make a difference for thousands and thousands of people,” he told Politico, “But I also realize what could’ve been done if, 12 years ago, this vision had been put in place.”

The mayor – whose signature Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) and Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) programs passed the City Council Tuesday after a series of last-minute compromises – represented Park Slope on the Council at the time.

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While he voted in favor of the Bloomberg Administration’s rezoning plan, he told Politico he lobbied vigorously for deeper affordable housing provisions.

“The Bloomberg administration, they were free marketeers,” de Blasio told the news service, “I certainly understand the ideological consistency of their position, even though I disagree with it. But it was such a waste because we had all that development energy that could’ve been used to create affordable housing as well and it was just squandered.”

The two new programs will require developers who take advantage of city rezonings to include affordable units in their projects, as well as increase maximum building heights and relax some parking requirements in an effort to spur more affordable construction.

A number of real estate attorneys told The Real Deal that without 421a, they doubt de Blasio’s zoning changes will spur the construction of affordable housing. [Politico]Ariel Stulberg