The plan to rezone Bushwick hit a possibly fatal roadblock Monday after city officials and local politicians failed to reach an agreement on affordable housing requirements. The city said it will not study the Bushwick Community Plan (BCP), first envisioned by the community in 2014 to address out-of-context development, as part of its proposal, effectively postponing the rezoning. After years of Bushwick residents calling for a study of the area’s growing gentrification, the city released its official rezoning plan last April. But local stakeholders and leaders, including Council Members Antonio Reynoso and Rafel Espinal Jr., said the city’s plan fell short of the vision laid out in the BCP.
If you’re looking for a way to become more involved in your neighborhood and the decisions that shape New York City, the city’s community boards are a good place to start. New York City is comprised of 59 community districts across the five boroughs: 12 in Manhattan, 12 in the Bronx, 18 in Brooklyn, 14 in Queens, and 3 in Staten Island. Formed in 1977, community boards are the city’s most local form of representative government. Though they’re strictly advisory–they don’t have official authority to make or enforce laws–community boards weigh in on vital issues from zoning and landmarks to transportation and parks to education and neighborhood services. Below, we outline what these city government organizations actually do–and how you can join yours.
De Blasio releases non-discriminatory housing plan as Trump rolls back Obama-era ‘Fair Housing’ rule, Wed, January 8, 2020
First announced in March 2018, the Where We Live NYC initiative has finally released a draft plan for public review. Described as a “comprehensive fair housing planning process to study, understand, and address patterns of residential segregation,” the report outlines key goals and strategies to eliminate discrimination in the housing market. As part of the plan, the city will launch the Fair Housing Litigation Unit “comprised of researchers, lawyers, and market testers who will go into the community as ‘secret shoppers’ and identify discriminatory practices,” per a recent press release.
Photo via Wiki Commons
Affordable housing is one of the hottest topics in the real estate market these days. It all started with Mayor de Blasio’s plan to preserve or build 300,000 affordable units by 2026, which has resulted in a slew of new lotteries, a recent update to the lottery policy to ease the process for immigrants and low-income New Yorkers, and a record number of affordable homes for seniors and homeless New Yorkers. But the topic is not without its issues, with many still wondering if the city is doing enough for affordability and if some of these units are really affordable. Whatever your opinion, there’s no doubt that affordable housing in NYC can get quite confusing. Ahead, 6sqft breaks down the different types of programs, how you can qualify and apply, and what happens if and when you get in.
Rendering of new entrance on 8th Avenue to Penn Station via Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is returning to one of his favorite infrastructure proposals: the overhaul of Penn Station. During an event on Monday hosted by the Association for a Better New York, the governor announced plans to build the Empire Station Complex, a station that would link a modernized Penn Station, the soon-to-be-open Moynihan Train Hall, and a new terminal one block south of the existing site. The plan, first introduced by the governor in 2016, would add eight new tracks and increase train capacity by 40 percent at the station, which currently serves more than 650,000 passengers each day.
In its attempt to lure Amazon to open its second headquarters in New York, officials offered the company $800 million more in incentives than previously known to the public. Documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal reveal the breadth of the proposal from state and city leaders as part of Amazon’s year-long contest in 2017 to find a new home for 50,000 jobs. According to the WSJ, the original offer to Amazon included $1.4 billion of tax credits, $1.1 billion in grants, and part of the salaries paid for some employees.
729 Seventh Avenue; Map data © 2019 Google
The city’s Department of Buildings is enhancing its facade inspection process nearly two weeks after a pedestrian was killed by a falling piece of terra cotta in Midtown. The agency announced on Monday plans to hire 12 new staff for its facade inspection team as well as increase the number of proactive re-inspections and field examinations. “New Yorkers should know that we are out in force holding owners feet to the fire, so they get repair work done as quickly as possible while still protecting the public,” DOB Commissioner Melanie La Rocca said. “With our enhanced inspection protocols and expanded staff, owners who choose to skirt their obligations will face swift consequences.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday vetoed a bill that would have legalized electric bikes and scooters, despite overwhelming support from lawmakers and advocacy groups. Approved by Albany in June, the bill legalized e-bikes and e-scooters, capping their speeds at 25 and 20 miles per hour, respectively, for riders aged 16 years and older. But Cuomo said the bill, sponsored by Assembly Member Nily Rozic and State Sen. Jessica Ramos, left out safety measures he had sought.
Photo via Creative Commons
New homebuyers in New York City could be charged property tax based on actual market prices, the New York Post reported on Wednesday. A group of city lawmakers is pressing Albany to change state laws to close a loophole that offers tax breaks to homebuyers in gentrifying neighborhoods. The “gentrification tax,” as the Post called it, would have homebuyers pay market rate taxes, rather than the assessed value, as a way to make the system fairer.
A close-up view of the current elevator. Photo taken by James and Karla Murray exclusively for 6sqft.
In an agreement with the Manhattan U.S. Attorney, Hudson Yards developer Related Companies has agreed to significantly increase the accessibility of its Vessel public art piece. The 150-foot-tall climbable sculpture is comprised of 154 interconnecting flights of stairs, nearly 2,500 individual steps, and 80 platform landings. But as it’s currently engineered, only three of these platforms, all on the same side of the structure, are accessible via the elevator. According to an announcement from the Department of Justice, Related will now install a “platform lift mechanism that will allow individuals with disabilities to traverse the stairways and platforms at the top levels of the Vessel so as to enjoy 360-degree views.”