Mandatory Inclusionary Text amendment.
This amendment has to be discussed and voted upon both by the ULURP committees and the full board of all community boards in NYC, by November 30, 2015. Currently as of this writing only one community has voted yes and that was a community that does not have inclusionary zoning and has already been rezoned, so it won't get it!
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.
Developers can use air rights that will allow them to build over other structures to that height as well.
Build Separate Buildings
If there are 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!
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 is 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!
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%!
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?