Don't force affordable housing
Mar 23, 2016 | 10587 views | 0 0 comments | 125 125 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Propping up Mayor Bill de Blasio's affordable housing plan is the idea that development is coming anyway, which is likely true in some communities, especially as things stand. But that doesn't have to be the case everywhere.

It's expected that this plan, which at press time has not been voted on by the City Council, will pass by a large margin. It relaxes some zoning restrictions in favor of development, but mandates that some of the newly created units are designated affordable. It'll be rolled out slowly in neighborhoods throughout New York City.

The biggest problem is that it's a one-size-fits-all solution. It's going to be a harbinger of growth in areas that can't accommodate it.

Coming in the next two years, two major outer borough commuter lines – the L and M trains – are going to experience shut downs. There are more riders on these lines than ever before, and the infrastructure was simply not designed to accommodate this many people.

Instead of accepting growth and hoping to preserve some of it as affordable, the administration should be actively trying to preserve and upgrade existing housing stock, not flooding our neighborhoods with more people than they can handle.

This says nothing about the fact that affordability seems to be truly subjective to this administration. New York City is creating units that won't be affordable for truly low-income individuals and middle-class individuals will fall into a bracket where they're on the lower end of the higher cost housing.

In some places, upzoning could work and development could actually create a better community and allowing the local community to present options to developers is one of the best changes to come to this plan, but there's still some skepticism with how that would be applied.

Creating up-zones where uncharacteristic residential condominiums will rise above the neighborhood's current roof lines will also be unsightly, especially in lower-density neighborhoods. This plan almost feels like New York City is conceding to the real estate and development industries, asking them to at least throw the administration a bone.
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