Staten Island’s Bay Street Corridor rezoning proposal moves forward
Rendering via Department of City Planning
Update 4/23/19: The City Planning Commission voted on Monday to approve the Bay Street Corridor rezoning plan, despite opposition from Staten Island Borough President Jimmy Oddo and local community groups, City Limits reported. As the plan now goes in front of the City Council, housing advocates will continue to push for the rezoning to include deeply affordable units.
The City Planning Commission will vote Monday on the rezoning proposal for Staten Island’s Bay Street Corridor, an area between Tompkinsville Park and Tappan Park. Ahead of the agency’s vote, questions remain about the plan’s affordable housing portion, expected to bring 1,800 new residential units to the area. According to a report from Clifford Michel of THE CITY, the rezoning sets aside affordable housing for middle-class professionals, allowing developers to build units for households earning as much as $127,000 per year for a family of three. Based on that income requirement, the “affordable” apartments would rent for more than $3,000 per month.
As part of the city’s proposal to convert the stretch of Bay Street from manufacturing to residential, 1,800 new units would be constructed to house 6,500 residents in the area. Through the city’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) program, roughly a quarter of the new residences would be income-restricted.
The rezoning proposal, the first in the area since 1961, comes after three years of planning between local residents, community advocates, and the city. It falls under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York 2.0 plan to create and preserve 300,000 affordable housing units by 2026.
Staten Island Borough President Jimmy Oddo has pushed the city to allow developers to build “workforce housing,” apartments designated for middle-income professionals. With rents mandated at 30 percent of total income, apartments could go for as much as $3,196 per month for a family of three earning $126,765 annually, THE CITY reported.
According to a report from the NYU Furman Center, the median rent in the St. George/ Stapleton area was $1,950 per month in 2017. The year prior, the median rent was $1,870 per month. The rezoning proposal being voted on by CPC on Monday also requires some apartments for households earning under $38,000 per year, at Oddo’s request.
But according to housing advocates, the rezoning does not serve more than half of the households in the district. According to the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD), 58 percent of households on the North Shore earn less than $75,000 per year, with 43 percent earning less than $50,000.
Chris Walters of ANHD told THE CITY that the proposal allows developers to meet the affordable apartment requirement with workforce housing alone. “I understand the talking point that you then provide for a range of incomes, but there’s absolutely no guarantee that that’s what will play out on the ground,” Walters said.
In January, the Staten Island Community Board 1 voted against de Blasio’s rezoning plan with conditions that included more open space, new schools, added ferry service, and improved infrastructure. Following the CPC vote on Monday afternoon, the rezoning plan will then go to the City Council, which will have 50 days to review it.
[Via THE CITY]