Community Board 3 last night joined the citywide revolt against Mayor de Blasio’s rezoning plans.
Two initiatives – Zoning for Quality & Affordability and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing – are now making their way through the land use approval process. Community boards in all five boroughs are weighing in with their non-binding votes. The City Council must approve the proposals before they are enacted.
CB3 rejected both plans, after a series of meetings to discuss concerns with city officials. Zoning for Quality & Affordability would change building guidelines throughout the city, boosting height limits by five feet to 30 feet in many areas of the Lower East Side. One of its core aims is to spur the development of more senior housing. Preservationists have expressed alarm about the impact the changes would have in a wide swathe of neighborhood rezoned in 2008 as a response to out-of-scale development. Meanwhile, affordable housing activists were convinced the proposal would not actually prompt private developers to create more low-income residential units.
At the same time, the board asserted that the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing plan does not go nearly far enough. The mayor’s proposal would apply only to areas undergoing large-scale rezonings and would require developers to create 25 or 30 percent affordable housing in new projects. In a resolution, CB3 said it could only support a plan that set aside 50% of the units in new buildings for permanent affordable housing.
Earlier this week, Mayor de Blasio acknowledged the widespread opposition but seemed to dismiss the role of local boards. “Those objections should be heard and we should think about them,” he said, but quickly added, “the community boards aren’t the final decision makers. The mayor and the City Council make the decisions, in some cases, obviously, with the City Planning Commission. And that’s where our process is set up, and that’s how it’s worked for years.”
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has said changes will obviously need to be made in the zoning text amendments. It remains to be seen whether those changes will satisfy local communities.