As part of his city-wide campaign, Mayor de Blasio has made a push for affordable housing in East New York, where the City Planning Commission recently approved a controversial rezoning. Local residents cited concerns that the changes would lead to displacement and gentrification in a neighborhood where the median income is $35,000 annually. But the city’s latest housing lottery offers a whopping 259 units for households earning between $18,275 (single persons) and $71,760 (eight people). The apartments, 50 percent of which are reserved for local residents, range from $494/month studios to $1,322/month four-bedrooms.
These units are within the third phase of Gateway Elton Street, a new multi-building affordable housing development with ground-floor retail and community facility space in the Spring Creek section of East New York. In total, it will offer 659 apartments and roughly 70,000 square feet of commercial space. Phase three, located at 1062 Elton Street and 475 Locke Street, was designed by Dattner Architects, who organized the two-building site around a central courtyard with parking and outdoor recreation areas.
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Map of proposed rezoning via Department of City Planning
The New York City Planning Commission voted 12-1 in approval of Mayor de Blasio’s controversial rezoning plan for East New York, Gothamist reports. It’s the first of 15 low-income neighborhoods scheduled for rezoning as part of the Mayor’s affordable housing plan, which promises to create or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing. The City Council is scheduled to vote on the rezoning this spring.
As part of what is known as Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH), rezoning plans for East New York’s Cypress Hills neighborhood and adjacent Ocean Hill in Bed-Stuy would have 7,000 new apartments built by 2030, 3,447 of which will be designated affordable, in addition to one million square feet of commercial space. Of those affordable units, 80 percent would be reserved for families (defined as a household of three, with any number of earners) making no more than 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), or $46,000; 27 percent would go to families making 40 percent of the AMI or $31,000.
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Recently on the Brian Lehrer radio show on WNYC, Mayor De Blasio addressed questions about the effects inclusionary development–i.e. giving developers the green light to build market rate housing if they set aside 25-30 percent of the units for low- and middle-income residents–has on the quality of life in lower-income neighborhoods. A growing concern among housing activists is that reliance on this kind of inclusionary zoning leads to gentrification that pushes out the lower income residents due to the 70-75 percent of market rate units bringing new, wealthy residents and new businesses that will cater to them.
Hear what the mayor has to say