To Increase Affordable Housing, De Blasio Pushes Bill to Lift Development Caps

Posted On Mon, June 6, 2016 By

Posted On Mon, June 6, 2016 By In affordable housing, Policy

In a continued quest to push ahead with his goal of adding/preserving 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next decade, Mayor de Blasio is backing a bill that will end state-imposed FAR (floor-area-ratio) caps to promote the construction of affordable housing. By lifting the size limits for residential buildings, and thereby increasing the number of units, neighborhoods currently affected by the cap, such as the Financial District, Midtown, and Hudson Yards, “could see both market-rate and affordable-housing stock soar,” reports the Post. However, opponents of the bill feel that there’s an underlying motive, catering to developers who have recently been called out for making hefty contributions to de Blasio.

The Mayor came under scrutiny in the past few months for his financial ties to the real estate sector. His recently disbanded Campaign for One, a nonprofit that supported his political agenda, received more than $1 million from real estate donors, according to an April article in the Wall Street Journal, which also disclosed that he raised more than $4 million for his 2013 and 2017 campaigns “from real estate officials, their immediate family members or lobbyists for them.” Moreover, “In his 2017 re-election campaign, 16 of the mayor’s 26 bundlers, people who collect donations, are real-estate developers or lobbyists who represent them.”

One example of a developer-donor seemingly getting a favor in return occurred at 180 East 88th Street in Yorkville. Developer DDG Partners used an obscure loophole to increase the height of their tower by 60 feet more than zoning would normally allow. Local residents and elected officials were angered to begin with that the city allowed this to go through, but it was then revealed that DDG had contributed at least $19,900 to Mayor Bill de Blasio.

But despite the probe into de Blasio’s fundraising, the bill was cleared in the Senate housing committee last week, and sources say it may be approved by next week.

[Via NYP]

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