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Caucus members are committed to creating and preserving safe, decent and affordable housing for all New Yorkers. The Caucus sees tremendous opportunity in the proposed Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) program and Zoning for Quality and Affordability amendments as a means to create additional housing and provide assistance for the most vulnerable New Yorkers. MIH will help ensure that developers are investing in affordable housing and that these units are permanently affordable. This housing will also help mitigate displacement and gentrification concerns throughout the City. Similarly, updating the City’s zoning designations would increase the number of units of affordable senior housing, incentivize participation in the voluntary Inclusionary Housing Program (IHP) to create affordable units and aid mixed models of senior housing that support aging in place.

As the City Council reviews this proposal, the Caucus will be advocating for a series of modifications that will enhance the improvements and protections these changes hopes to achieve.

MIH

  • Ensure Deeper Affordability

Create an option that will guarantee units at deeper levels of affordability for the significant number of residents we represent earning incomes below the 60% AMI average currently proposed.

  • Disincentivize off-site affordable housing 

The Caucus is concerned that off-site affordable housing development exacerbates segregation. In order to limit this, the offsite option must require that the market-rate and affordable housing is built within the same Community District, that a C of O for any offsite development must be obtained before the on-site development can begin construction, and that any offsite development must include affordable units at the rate of 40% of the units in the market-rate building. We also encourage exploring other strategies that ensure geographic inclusion, including school assignment policies and other measures of socio-economic integration.

  • Reform Board of Standards and Appeals

The public deserves more transparency in cases where developers file a financial hardship claim. This must include objective criteria for approving applications along with a process in which HPD will present a financial analysis that would justify any exemptions. Council Intros 281, 282, 283 and 354 would provide additional oversight the Caucus seeks for this important government entity.

  • Create a strong “off-site permanent preservation” option

Another tool to prevent displacement in rezoning neighborhoods would be to allow MIH developers to participate (through a contribution that would equal or exceed what they would spend for on-site housing) for the permanent preservation of existing, at-risk affordable housing. This option will be used in the neighborhood, with stabilized or un-stabilized units that have deep affordability and are owned and operated by not-for-profit organizations.

  • Report, monitor and track affordable units

HPD must create a system to secure the affordable units created through the MIH program so they will continue to exist for their intended purpose. The City must establish a thorough process that ensures the housing from this program is created, registered and monitored for permanent affordability.

  • Maintain distribution of affordable units at 65% minimum from 50%

In order to prevent discrimination, affordable units must be distributed throughout 65% of the building for rentals, coops and condominiums. This would uphold the current standard in the voluntary program and avoid over-concentration of affordable units on a single floor or section of a building.

  • Reduce building size exemption

We propose that buildings exempt from creating the affordable housing requirement be reduced from 10 to 6 units, 12,000 sq. ft. to 7,500 sq. ft.

  • Require developers receive a “Certificate of No Harassment”

Before DOB issues permits for any demolition or material alteration of a Class A multiple dwelling., HPD must issue a “certificate of no harassment” in order to prevent illegal displacement of rent stabilized tenants for the creation on higher-income residences. Council Intro 152 would extend provisions already in place for the Special Clinton District, SROs and several other rezoning areas to all applications.

  • Structure oversight of Affordable Housing Fund

When the City collects fees in lieu of executing program requirements, funds provide financing to locally constructed, affordable housing. The expected use of these funds must be codified and include formulas for contributions, annual reviews and processes for ensuring proactive expenditure.

  • Strengthen current MOUs

Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) are often negotiated to allow for additional community benefits within housing applications. Unfortunately, they are often disregarded once projects become realized. Therefore, we propose creating enforceable “neighborhood commitment plans” with mechanisms for Administration filing, tracking and accountability such as inclusion in the Mayor’s Management Report.

  • Require deeper affordability in rezonings that include a use change

When a property zoned for manufacturing is rezoned for residential use, the property value immediately increases dramatically. While the Caucus supports maintaining manufacturing zones for industrial uses, in the rare cases where manufacturing land is rezoned for residential, 50% affordable housing should be required.

  • Guarantee tenant equity

Caucus members want to stymie discriminatory practice from occurring in the diverse, mixed-income buildings this program supports. Therefore, we propose all tenants have equal access to building amenities as well as comparable apartment appliances and finishes.

ZQA

  • Efficient and transparent system for creating, tracking, and monitoring the development of housing that these changes would encourage.
  • Among the amendments related to parking, we do not support assigning special permits to the Board of Standards and Appeals and insist that the City Planning Commission maintain this role in their scope.
  • In order to maximize affordable units created though IHP, the City needs to propose a study with timelines that would create an inclusive, citywide map for this program.
  • We assert that the City uphold the current Sliver Law. Benefits of this policy include preventing.

 

OUTCOME: NY Times, New York City Council Backs Affordable Housing Plan

UPDATE: Out of 16 proposals, 13 (81%) were included with final passage of this legislation. Here are the original recommendations with corresponding modifications embedded in red.

IN THE NEWS

NY Daily News, NYC Council’s progressive group seeks changes to de Blasio’s housing plan

NY Daily News, New York City Council pushes for more affordable apartments in Mayor de Blasio’s housing plan

Gotham Gazette, At Hearings, City Council to Examine Mayor’s Zoning Proposals

NY Slant, New York City Housing Policies Need Deeper Affordability 

Park Slope Stoop, It’s (Past) Time for Mandatory Inclusionary Housing in NYC

Newsday, Bill de Blasio housing plan criticized as not affordable enough 

NY Daily News, Council’s erroneous zones on affordable housing

 

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