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Zoning changes would create more affordable housing in New York


New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has long been an advocate of affordable housing in the city. Recently his vision of adding 80,000 affordable housing units took a step closer to reality when the administration released proposed zoning rules for certain areas of the city.

Under the proposed rules, developers who want to build in rezoned areas would have to allocate a minimum of 25 percent of the units for lower-income tenants. Developers of residential real estate would have to comply with the rules or be denied permission to build.

The administration has identified a total of 15 areas for the program, known as mandatory affordable housing. If approved the new residential development rules would first take effect in Brooklyn. Other areas where the new rules would eventually be implemented include Long Island City and Flushing West in Queens; Washington Heights, Inwood and East Harlem in Manhattan; and neighborhoods on Staten Island and in the South Bronx.

The proposed zoning rules will be subjected to an intensive six to seven month public review process by the New York City Planning Commission, borough presidents and planning boards. After the public review period the City Council will vote on the proposal. Both the chairman of the Planning Commission and the Council speaker have spoken favorably of the proposed rules.

The rezoning proposal would add an additional layer of complexity for residential property developers in the affected areas. Consulting an experienced New York real estate law firm can help a developer ensure compliance with applicable zoning laws in the area where they seek to build.

Source: New York Times, "New York Zoning Plan Requires More Affordable Homes," Mireya Navarro, Sept. 21, 2015

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