Last Wednesday, the City Planning Commission voted in support of rezoning Brooklyn’s East New York neighborhood, which includes a proposed housing initiative that has incited mixed emotions across New York City’s five boroughs since its introduction last Fall.
Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, much like Mayor Bill de Blasio’s other affordable housing efforts, concerns some East New York residents because of the salary levels outlined as “low-income” in the rezoning plan. The plan initially requires 1,200 units of affordable housing for low-income residents, with many units earmarked for very low and extremely low income households, according to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
While over 6,000 new affordable apartments would be made available in East New York for low-income residents over time, more than half would be allocated for residents earning less than 60 percent of the neighborhood’s median income, or $46,620 for a family of three, as summarized in HPD’s East New York Housing Affordability breakdown.
According to city spokespeople and plan opponents, the majority of East New York residents fall short of the income bracket that benefits from affordable housing the most and, therefore, won’t receive the assistance necessary to survive unaffordable housing in NYC.
Michelle de la Uz, the sole dissenting vote on the CPC panel, expressed her concerns on the impact the proposed rezoning ideas could have on East New York residents.
“The $1 billion neighborhood development fund demonstrates good faith, but it isn’t sufficient for the 15 neighborhoods’ needs,” she said during the meeting. “This plan falls short of achieving inclusive growth, despite the administration’s significant efforts.”
In addition, new documents reveal several areas will be immune to MIH for smaller developments on tight blocks. Like de Blasio’s MIH plans in other boroughs, it is not required in buildings with less than 10 units.
Aside from residential progression, rezoning for East New York incorporates 1.3 million square feet of retail, community and office space over the course of 15 years. Plans specifically include safety upgrades to Atlantic Ave., public parks improvements and a 1,000 seat school, according to New York YIMBY.
East New York is the first of 15 low-income neighborhoods to be rezoned as part of de Blasio’s plan. Others include Jerome Avenue in the Bronx, Long Island City in Queens, Bay Street in Staten Island and East Harlem.
In total, de Blasio’s Housing New York plan desires to generate 80,000 new affordable units, 20 percent of which are reserved to those making less than $40,000 per year.
While local council members across proposed neighborhoods argue the current version MIH will only help a minimal percentage of residents, supporters and commissioners are concerned over developers fleeing markets with excessively strict affordable housing guidelines.