Say no to one-size-fits-all zoning

By Henry Euler

The New York City Council recently voted overwhelmingly to approve Mayor deBlasio’s two zoning proposals aimed at increasing the amount of affordable and senior housing units in our city. The bills are the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Quality and Affordability text amendments.

Almost everyone recognizes the need for housing units that working New Yorkers and our senior citizens can afford. However, the mayor’s proposals attack the rezonings that so many of us have worked so hard to achieve in order to maintain the character of our communities and to stem the tide of overdevelopment and inappropriate development.

The mayor’s proposals approach zoning on the basis of a one-size-fits-all mentality. But in reality, what would be acceptable in one part of our city may be totally unacceptable in another part. That’s why it took years to accomplish the contextual rezonings that civic and community groups worked on and lobbied for in all parts of the city. Each community was examined individually and rezoned based on the housing stock already in place.

With MIH and ZQA, that did not happen. The measures were rushed through in one year’s time. Both measures received strong support from the real estate industry. Some modifications were made to both the MIH and the ZQA after the City Planning Commission and City Council hearings. But the overall impact to our communities will be the same. More dense development and less parking requirements in many areas will be the norm.

Why weren’t the changes brought back to the residents for their consideration? Remember that 50 out of 59 community boards across the city rejected these proposals as they were originally written as well as the majority of the borough presidents. All of these people represent us, the taxpayers! We should be thankful to the City Council members who voted against these measures.

Henry Euler


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