Floor Statement on Zoning for Quality and Affordability and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing

03/22/2016

Thank you to the Speaker, Chair Greenfield, Chair Richards, and the Council Staff for your hard work amending both proposals to reflect the voices and expertise of our communities.

I have spent the past year fighting alongside Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Community Boards 6, 8 and 11 to improve Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) to build affordable housing for all New Yorkers while protecting light and air by limiting building heights.

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

As Chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations with oversight over the Board of Standards and Appeals, I fought for financial hardship review by HPD 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 as amended will:

  • 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 as amended will:

  • Provide housing for lower income New Yorkers at 40% of AMI
  • 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.

For these reasons, I vote “yes” on both text amendments for affordable housing for all New Yorkers.