Mandatory Inclusionary Text Amendment.

This program was voted in by the City Council in the Spring of 2016, despite 52 out of 59 community boards voting it down. Most boards felt this was simply a massive give away to developers. They way the Mayor got the City Council to vote against the community, was to give them a pay increase of 20,000, which they got two months later.

Inclusionary Zones

Inclusionary Zones are streets that are in medium to high density areas of the city, that have bus and train service on them and are on wide streets.

Our community is classified as a medium density community, and with all of our major streets having transit access. We would be a prime target for inclusionary zoning. However, there are currently no inclusionary zones in our community because there needs to be a rezoning for that to happen.

Once a rezoning happens and a street is declared an inclusionary zone then the builders are given incentives to build affordable housing.

Increase Building heights and Bulk

If Developers provide 25% “affordable” housing, they can build 33 percent more building space. For example, if a building height limit is 60’ to 85’, (6 to 8 stores), if the developer builds 25% affordable units he can build up to 12 stores: going from 6-8 stores to 12 stories.

Air Rights

Developers can use air rights that will allow them to build over other structures to that height as well. 

Build Affordable Units Off Site

If a developer owns two pieces of property for example, one on Empire Blvd and the height limit is 10, but with the inclusionary Zone it can go up to 15 stories. The builder can build that 15 story building, but can provide the affordable housing on another property in another area of the community or Borough!


For example, when the Brooklyn Public Library located at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn Heights was sold for pennies on the dollar, the developer made the claim of providing affordable housing for this deal. However he plans on building them somewhere on Atlantic Ave and not in Brooklyn Heights where Library was.


Yes this is segregated housing but currently, no one is fighting this provision in the law.

So as long as it is not fought it can be done.

Now there are the Mandatory Inclusionary Zones Benefits

Affordable Categories – Developers can choose which option they want.

25% of 60% of the AMI or $47,000

30% of 80% of the AMI or $69,000

25% of 130% of the AMI or $101,000 (no higher than this)

$47,000 is above our medium income of $40,000, so more than half our population will not qualify.

$69,000 is at the far end of our medium income so more than 90% of our population will not qualify.

$101, 000 is not within our income range, so that 100% of our population will not qualify!

Double and Triple Dipping

Under the first two affordable options developers can take advantage of other financial programs and get what is called Double and triple dipping bonuses.

For example, with the 421a tax break the developer has to provide 20% of the affordable. To get a State Bond with low interest funding, the developer has to provide 20% affordable. With Mandatory inclusionary zoning the developer has to provide 25%.  All together the developer will have to provide 25% affordable, for all three programs. That is called triple dipping!

So actually, the developer will get 33% more space to build from 6 stories to 12 stories and all they have to provide is 5% more affordable housing!

Loop Hole

Developers can apply for a variance not to provide the affordable units or to diminish the percentage, if they can prove hardship! And the track record for developers getting wavers is extremely high, with almost a 90% success rate!!! What would qualify as a hardship? Property that is expensive to purchase and thus is more expensive to build on, thus making it harder to build affordable housing!

For example, Empire Blvd property would be very expensive, because it sits right next to the park and the garden. Thus developers will say, but the land cost so much I can’t build

Affordable housing! Thus they might have to provide 5% instead of 25%!


Can Violate Exisiting Height Limits

All during the Bloomberg era, more affluent communities were given height protection. Now with the MIH program these height limits can be broken and builders can build as tall as they want, as long as they give some "affordable" units.


For example, the only place in our community that got rezoned was along the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to protect it from shadows that would be cast by tall buildings. Because the rest of the community has not been rezoned, the MIH program can not be applied anywhere else. Currently there are two major development projects that are trying to be passed that would allow developers to build from 22 to 42 stories in a 6 to 7 height limited area.


Affordable Category Is Not Affordable

One of the main contentions is the fact that the "affordable" category has proven to be apartments that are being built for the middle and upper class. The exact same market that luxury housing is being built for. In fact all over the city there are examples, where the "affordable" categories are actually higher in price than market rate apartments.


For example, the Bedford Union Armory deal is going to be developing over 350 apartments, but only 28 of those apartments will be affordable for the current residents who reside in the community, despite the claims that this project has 60% affordable units.


I guess you have to judge for yourself, is this program really going to benefit the community? Will it provide real affordable housing for the residents and community at large that need it the most?

Or will it just give developers more room to build taller and wider builders and with very little in return, especially with the loop holes of not having to provide the affordable at all or just a small percentage.

And please don’t forget that the rest of the building, will be luxury rate housing and HUD has already stated that development on transit corridors (streets with buses and trains) causes displacement of poor and moderate income families.

Is this what we want? Is this what we need?