Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Housing Affordability (MIH and ZQA) Plan Amended to Serve and Protect All New Yorkers

Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Housing Affordability (MIH and ZQA) as amended and passed by the City Council will bring sweeping reforms that require new affordable housing to be built whenever developers are given additional height or density to build in Manhattan. 

I have spent the past year fighting alongside Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Community Boards 6, 8 and 11 to improve MIH-ZQA to build housing for all New Yorkers while protecting light and air by limiting building heights.

Last year, I joined Borough President Brewer and many Manhattan elected officials in calling for changes to ZQA that resulted in the removal of height increases in R8B zoning districts, thereby protecting the quiet midblock of side streets on the East Side.

As Chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations with oversight over the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA), I fought for financial hardship review by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development with all application materials posted online. These are the first of many BSA reforms to come.

I am proud to have worked with my colleagues to win these final changes:

Zoning for Quality and Affordability:

  • Reduced height increases in contextual districts, including bringing the maximum R10A increase from 50 feet to 25 feet with different heights for narrow and wide streets.
  • Tying additional heights in contextual districts in Manhattan to affordable housing.
  • Protecting seniors from being squeezed into 275 square foot micro units, with a new minimum of 325 square feet.
  • NYCHA tenants who would have been walled in by new construction 40 feet from their windows will continue to be protected by 60 feet between buildings.
  • The Sliver Law has been protected and will remain intact.

Mandatory Inclusionary Housing:

  • Provide housing for lower income New Yorkers at 40% of Area Median Income (AMI) an average family income of $24K for singles or $31,000 for a family of three.
  • Provide an option for 20% at 40% of AMI in addition to other options.
  • HPD will be required to track, register, and monitor the new affordable units created as would be required by Introduction 1015, legislation I authored and co-prime sponsored by Housing Chair Jumaane Williams and Council Member Rosie Mendez.
  • HPD projects will provide funding and incentives for local outreach and hiring.
  • Department of Buildings will impose requirements and fines that will make construction safer.

After a year of hard work, these zoning changes offer affordable housing to as many New Yorkers as possible while at the same time protecting light and air by limiting building heights. New Yorkers should be proud to finally have one of the strongest housing laws anywhere in the country.

Under the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program, any neighborhood that is “upzoned” will have the choice to require one of these four options for all new development:

Option 1: 25% of new buildings to be provided for families making an average of 60% AMI (household family income of $46K for a family of 3), with a Council amendment to require 10% of the affordable units for families making 40% AMI

Option 2: 30% of new buildings to be provided for families making an average of 80% AMI ($62K for a family of 3)

Workforce Option: 30% of new buildings for families making 115% AMI ($90K for a family of 3, as amended by the Council). Within this set-aside, require 5% of the building for families making 90% AMI and 5% for families making 70% AMI 

Deep Affordability Option (added by the Council): 20% of the building for families making 40% AMI ($31K for a family of 3)

Read my full statement on this vote and see my previous advocacy at the Borough Board, City Planning Commission, and with the Progressive Caucus and Real Affordability for All coalition.