The City Council is now suing to block the NYC Housing Authority from leasing underutilized land for market rate housing development even though the profits will be plowed back into improving housing authority projects. Leading the charge is City Council Christine Quinn who approved exactly such a development in her own City Council district several years ago. Nor did the City Council protest the more than 4,270 housing units which have already been developed or are in development on Housing Authority property under Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan. Could this lack of principle have anything to do with churning up support among public housing residents for the Mayoral campaign of Democratic candidate Bill De Blasio, who has also opposed leasing NYCHA property for private development?
The Council says the authority shouldn’t be in the business of creating more housing for the affluent. But NYCHA officials say the lease money would go directly into developments and repairs for low-income housing residents.
The New York City Council sued Thursday to stop the local housing authority’s plan to lease public land for luxury development.
The Council — joined by housing authority tenants and the Legal Aid Society — contends that New York City Housing Authority should not be in the business of creating more housing for the affluent.
“NYCHA’s sole purpose is to build and maintain affordable housing — not lease public land to make way for luxury apartments,” Council Speaker Christine Quinn said. Continue reading
NYC Council Passes Contentious Law
By Donna Kimura
Affordable housing developers in New York City face a controversial new law that calls for the extensive reporting of wages and other data for projects receiving city funding.
After being passed by the City Council in July, the legislation (Intro 730) was headed to Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Even if he vetoes the law, the council could still override his vote.
Under the rule, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) would have to report detailed information on the subsidies awarded to projects and provide data on the wages of every individual performing project work by the developer or a contractor.
The move is aimed at increasing transparency at the department and the many affordable housing developments financed by HPD each year, but critics say the requirements will create more red tape and place a huge burden on the industry, especially smaller developers. Affordable housing representatives point out that there could be 50 subcontractors on a project and thousands of wage reports annually.
The New York State Association for Affordable Housing (NYSAFAH) called for the elimination of the wage-reporting requirements.
“These mandates impose untenable administrative burdens on local and small businesses, putting them at a significant competitive disadvantage, with only the largest businesses able to compete,” said NYSAFAH, which estimated it would cost $40 million to implement Intro 730.
HPD Commissioner Mathew Wambua has also been critical. “HPD already vigorously enforces all applicable wage laws,” he said in a statement. “Collecting and stockpiling massive amounts of personal and sensitive wage information offers no clear benefits to the public.”
Source: Affordable Housing Finance
The brief article below makes it clear that the City’s down-zoning in Woodhaven and Richmond Hill will prohibit private developers from building new apartment complexes for low-income and immigrant families. This is just the latest of numerous down-zonings across the City that preclude private un-subsidized development of affordable housing. At the same time, the City is spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to produce subsidized affordable housing. Why not let the private sector produce that housing at no cost to taxpayers?
— Jack Freund, Executive Vice President, Rent Stabilization Association
(Views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the RSA.)
Queens neighborhoods rezoned to fight off multi-family developers
August 03, 2012 05:30PM
In an effort to preserve the suburban character of the area, City Council voted to approve the rezoning of approximately 200 blocks in Woodhaven and Richmond Hill – the first zoning changes to the neighborhoods since 1961 – to limit multi-family construction, the Queens Chronicle reported. Pressure to rezone the area came after developers had begun demolishing freestanding homes and replacing them with apartment complexes to appeal to the many low-income and immigrant families moving to the area. However, the council did modify the proposal to allow larger-scale development on the block between 135th Avenue and Van Wyck Expressway north of Liberty Avenue.
The City Council also approved an upzoning, along Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven and Atlantic Avenue between 104th and 121st streets, to encourage multi-family development over commercial buildings and meet the demand for housing near mass transit. According to the Department of City Planning, rezoning this area will ensure that the densest neighborhoods exist near mass transit, while keeping businesses confined to that area and off of residential blocks.
“After the council’s vote, residents of Woodhaven and Richmond Hill will finally see an end to development that destroyed the neighborhoods’ characteristic one- and two-family homes,” Council member Elizabeth Crowley said. “The new zone also encourages economic growth along Jamaica and Atlantic avenues.” [Queens Chronicle] – Christopher Cameron
Source: The Real Deal