New York Post De Blasio’s affordable-housing plan doesn’t have many backers by Michael Gartland

New York Post
New York Post
De Blasio’s affordable-housing plan doesn’t have many backers
Michael Gartland
Yoav Gonen
11/17/2015

Community boards are revolting against Mayor de Blasio’s plan to rezone their neighborhoods to build taller skyscrapers and increase affordable-housing units.

Of the city’s 59 community boards, at least 22 have voted against de Blasio’s affordable-housing zoning plan, sources revealed Monday.

A large majority of the community boards in Queens and The Bronx have given it a thumbs-down — 12 of 14 in Queens and eight of 12 in The Bronx.

The board votes won’t legally prevent de Blasio’s plan from going through because they’re only advisory, but they could give City Council members serious pause when they vote on it, probably in February.

“I share the mayor’s goal for affordability, but have concerns about the lack of mixed-income developments proposed in the plan,” said Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan).

“A middle-income family should still have somewhere to live in this city. They’re not provided for in the mayor’s plan.”

Community boards throughout the city have the option to vote on whether they support the plan, which would require affordable housing be created along with new developments that need rezoning.

“The committee voted it down for a number of reasons,” Bronx CB 7 Chairwoman Adaline Walker Santiago said, referring to her board’s housing and land-use committee.

“We want a mixed-income population. We want to keep the character of the community. We want parking for the seniors and for any new buildings coming in.”

Borough presidents have also begun to voice their displeasure with the plan.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz opposed de Blasio’s zoning initiatives Monday night following overwhelming disapproval from her 14 community boards.

“There are concerns that the proposed new mandatory inclusionary [plan] may replace existing affordable housing with housing deemed affordable that is not within reach to the current residents,” Katz said.

Katz also noted many Queens neighborhoods have been rezoned over the past decade to prevent “overdevelopment.”

De Blasio defended the plan Monday, saying it is essential for lower-income New Yorkers who wish to remain in the city.

“They’re always going to raise concerns and critiques and will often help us get to a better outcome,” he said of the community-board pushback. “But we’re going to keep moving full speed ahead to make these reforms.”

But political insiders say the mayor’s plan may be in trouble.

“The administration is clearly losing,” a Brooklyn board source said. “This is a big deal. This is the mayor’s marquee housing plan.”

Other council members said community resistance will likely force the council to change the mayor’s plan.

Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn) said he’s happy the mayor is pushing the conversation, but he added that he’s concerned the current plan won’t create enough affordable units for those at the lowest income levels.

“There’s some definite issues with the [mandatory inclusionary housing] that need to be fixed before I support it fully,” he said.

Issue: 
Affordable Housing
Land Use