New York Daily News EXCLUSIVE: NYC Council’s progressive group seeks changes to de Blasio’s housing plan by Erin Durkin

New York Daily News
New York Daily News
EXCLUSIVE: NYC Council’s progressive group seeks changes to de Blasio’s housing plan
Erin Durkin
02/08/2016

The City Council’s progressive caucus is pushing for changes to Mayor de Blasio’s ambitious but controversial affordable-housing plan.

Apartments should be offered for people making less than the average 60% of area median income — $46,620 for a family of three — currently targeted in the plan, says the 18-member group, which represents about a third of the Council.

“We believe in having deeper levels of affordability,” said Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), the vice chair for policy.

The caucus says developers should be discouraged from putting their affordable apartments at a different site — which they say worsens segregation — by requiring 40% affordable housing if they take that option, rather than 25%-30% if they don’t.

It also wants to reduce from 10 units to six the size where a building is exempt from affordable mandates and require half the units to be affordable when manufacturing zones are turned residential.

“What is most important for me is getting at (incomes) that are for the people in the districts where this is happening — so folks will feel apartments are being built for them, not for people outside,” said Councilman Antonio Reynoso (D-Brooklyn), co-chair of the group.

De Blasio has vowed to build or preserve 200,000 affordable homes. He needs two sets of zoning changes — one to increase density and another to require affordable housing in any development that needs city approval — which must be passed by the Council. The proposals are set for hearings this week.

The caucus’ proposal also says developers should have to get a “certificate of no harassment,” to show they aren’t trying to illegally force out tenants, before they receive new buildings permits.

Other changes include requiring landlords to give all tenants, no matter whether they’re in full price or cheaper apartments, access to building amenities, and tracking all the affordable units created through the program.

“We have pushed the envelope and put forward the strongest affordable-housing requirement anywhere in the nation,” said de Blasio spokesman Wiley Norvell. “It’ll serve more families, and people at lower incomes, than has ever been the case in New York City before. Together with our other housing programs, it’s going to be a powerful tool to keep neighborhoods affordable."

Issue: 
Affordable Housing