Kallos Testimony at Hearing on Affordable Housing Development: To examine programs supporting affordable housing development, including policies relating to building density
Testimony before the Assembly Standing Committee on Housing and Cities
Hearing on Affordable Housing Development: To examine programs supporting affordable housing development, including policies relating to building density
Monday, November 25, 2019
The last thing New York City needs is more density for taller towers in the largely overbuilt borough of Manhattan. Raising or removing the 12 FAR cap in New York State’s Multiple Dwelling Law (MDL) would displace immigrants and historic communities of color living in existing rent-regulated housing that is actually affordable. That displacement would make way for luxury super tall buildings for billionaires living atop a handful of affordable units in their shadow.
I represent the Upper East Side, with the three densest zip codes in America: 10162 with 151,835, 10028 with 126,068, and 10128 with 122,357 people per square mile. Only one residential zoning district in the City of New York has the maximum floor area ratio, and that is R10. More than 90% of those R10 lots, lot area, and buildable floor area are in Manhattan.
Counter-intuitively, the Upper East Side’s Council District 5, which I represent, consists of more than three-quarters affordable and/or regulated housing. The district’s housing stock consists of 60.5% rent stabilized, 17.3% subsidized, and 1.5% public housing for a total of 92,785 affordable homes, according to the Displacement Alert Project. Manhattan Community District 8, which includes the entire Upper East Side, has a density of 109,960 people per square mile, spanning 2 square miles housing 219.9 thousand people, according to City Planning. It is of note that given the high concentration of affordable housing in rent stabilized, four-to-six story walk ups, the path to building new housing includes demolishing many of these 100% affordable housing buildings, sometimes resulting in a net loss of affordable housing.
In contrast, Queens Community District 11, represented by Assembly Committee on Cities Chair Edward Braunstein, has a density of 12,386 people per square mile over 9.4 square miles, with 116.4 thousand total people. In Queens Community District 11, there is no public housing, 9,323 units of rent stabilized housing and 8,027 units of subsidized housing for a total of 17,350 affordable and/or regulated housing units. More than two-thirds of residences are in homes of four units or smaller. The numbers don’t lie. There is more affordable and/or regulated housing on the Upper East Side than in Queens Community Board 11, by a factor of more than 5 times.