CB 7 votes no on two affordable housing zoning amendments

Image courtesy of the Department of City Planning

Community Board 7 overwhelmingly voted on Monday to reject two key zoning initiatives meant to help achieve Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 10-year affordable housing plan.

The Mandatory Inclusionary Housing amendment would require that a share of new housing development be permanently affordable for different income levels. The Zoning for Quality and Affordability amendment also aims to make it easier to provide affordable senior housing and care facilities, create inclusionary housing buildings of mixed-income and reduce high costs of building transit-accessible affordable housing.

While board members generally agreed that increasing affordable housing stock is a necessary goal for the city to pursue, they took issue with some of the details of the text amendments, including reduced parking requirements for senior housing and the 10- block distance from mass transit zones deemed acceptable to qualify for reduced parking.

CB 7 Third Vice Chairperson Warren Schreiber said there is a need for affordable housing but took specific issue with the income requirements to qualify for the affordable housing units. In some cases the affordable units would be available to families of three with an annual income of $46,620, and in other cases could be eligible to families with an annual income of $62,150.

“The people who are in the lowest rung of the economic ladder, they will still not be able to quality for affordable housing under this plan,” Schreiber said. “They’re still going to be left out.”

Although First Vice Chairperson Chuck Apelian abstained from voting on both amendments because of a potential conflict of interest, he urged members to reject the changes because he believed it went against the board’s previous efforts to fight for contextual zoning tailored to each site.

Apelian believed more time should be taken to come up with individual affordable housing solutions appropriate for each community in the city.

“It really is a fast track, its a universal discussion about what can be done citywide, and how it’s going to affect us just doesn’t matter because it’s going to have to fit into this catch all type of envelope,” Apelian said, “and I think that’s wrong.”

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