The lack of affordable housing is the number one concern among constituents who call my office. We live in an era where, sadly, too many long-time residents are edged out of New York City by its high cost of living.
To help remedy this, Mayor de Blasio has put forth two proposals that will apply to all future rezonings:
Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, which will require developers to designate a portion of rental units as affordable
Zoning for Quality and Affordability, which relaxes some height and parking requirements in order to encourage the development of senior and affordable housing.
I had some concerns with the original proposals, regarding issues of parking, senior housing, nursing home height increases and whether the amendments would provide enough New Yorkers the housing they need. After weeks of negotiations to ensure that the nuances of various communities are reflected, I am confident that the revised legislation will help meet the future needs of my constituents. For example, I was able to secure a special carve-out for Staten Island so that developers seeking to build a nursing home in an R3, R4 or R5 district will have to go through the Community Board and City Council in order to get a height increase. In addition, among the many revisions to this comprehensive legislation is an added option that would require developers to reach New Yorkers making 40 percent of area median income, a deeper level of affordability that will reach New Yorkers of lower income levels than the initially proposed options.
If enacted, this legislation would apply to the proposed rezoning of the Bay Street Corridor connecting Tompkinsville and Stapleton that is expected to come before the community and the City Council later this year. One of my primary concerns – and one cited by constituents and Community Board 1 members – is that any increase in density be accompanied by an investment in infrastructure. To address this concern, the mayor has set up a fund to support infrastructure projects in the 16 areas he has proposed for rezoning—including the Bay Street Corridor. I have said from the beginning that I would only support a proposed rezoning if we received adequate investments in transportation, school seats, recreation facilities and other infrastructure – and I stand by that.
These proposals will not solve all of our affordable housing problems, but they are one tool to ensure that we steadily increase our supply of affordable housing units for decades to come.