Private Developer Asked to Provide Permanent Affordable Housing??

Hundreds of units of new rental housing are being delayed by tenant advocates who insist that affordable housing within the development be provided on a permanent basis. The over-reaching threatens not only this development, but the entire process by which thousands units of affordable housing have been developed over many years.

The basic model for the development of affordable housing by private developers has been that City government provides subsidies in the form of tax exemptions for a period of years enabling private developers to provide a portion of that housing at reduced rents for the same period covered by the exemptions. The basic problem with this model has always been that such subsidized housing is time limited,requiring government to ultimately extend benefits to maintain that subsidized housing or replace it with new subsidized housing. The tenant advocate response to this conundrum is, apparently, to simply demand that private developers maintain the subsidy forever, without the commitment of additional subsidies by government.

The case in point is the development of a 750 unit rental project on West 57th St by Durst Fetner under the City’s 80/20 program, under which the developer would set aside 150 units for low income housing for 35  years. Tenant advocates, led by Councilperson Gale Brewer, have held by approval of the project insisting that the low income units be permanently affordable. The denial of economic reality by housing advocates will certainly not produce the desired inflow of low income housing and is a negative portent for the future development of affordable housing by private investors.

 

                                             – 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.)

 

Additional sources:

 

Why Is The City Prohibiting Private Development Of Affordable Housing?

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.)


 

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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 Jamaica Aveapproximately 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