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Developers Would Have to Set Aside 25 Percent of All Units for Affordable Housing Under Scott Stringer’s Proposed Plan

Comptroller Scott Stringer outlined his universal affordable housing plan Wednesday (Susan Watts/Office of New York City Comptroller)

Jan. 30, 2020 By Allie Griffin

Comptroller and mayoral-hopeful Scott Stringer outlined his expansive affordable housing plan Wednesday in Washington Heights, while tearing into Mayor Bill de Blasio’s current plan.

Stringer’s plan would require developers who build 10 or more units on a site to set aside a quarter of the units for permanent low-income affordable housing. The provision applies to all development sites, even those that don’t need to be rezoned, often referred to as-of-right.

The provision would apply to all future development and the units would be set aside for tenants earning 60 percent of the area median income, or $58,000 a year for a family of three.

Stringer criticized de Blasio’s affordable housing policies, including the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program, which only requires developers to build affordable housing when their property is rezoned.

The MIH program typically provides developers with additional height and/or density in exchange for the construction of a certain percentage of affordable units. Most of the housing built under the plan, Stringer said, is set for people who make 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), approximately $77,000 a year, or higher.

“So much of the ‘affordable’ housing proposed for these rezonings is not affordable and completely out of reach for the people who live in these neighborhoods,” Stringer said.

The Comptroller also wants to end the 421-a tax subsidy, which is granted to developers who build affordable housing. The subsidy is a state program that reduces property taxes.

Stringer’s plan also calls for the development of 100 percent affordable housing projects on vacant lots owned by the city. He proposes creating a non-profit New York City Land Bank to partner with community-based organizations in order to do so.

Stringer said the mayor’s current affordable housing system a source of gentrification. “This is not an affordable housing plan,” he said. “It is the gentrification industrial complex.”

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