MURRAY HILL — Community leaders are concerned the city's one-size-fits-all Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program isn't taking into account the needs of their neighborhood.
The Department of City Planning presented its plan to Community Board 6's housing committee on Tuesday, as part of an ongoing review process, sparking concerns from residents that it would give preference to low-income residents and leave those making middle incomes out in the cold.
Mayor Bill de Blasio's Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program aims to create a framework requiring developers to make portions of any new residential project available below market rate.
The proposal, which is still under review, would award affordable units based on a family's income compared to the city's area median income, which some board members felt wouldn't be a good fit for the district, which encompasses Kips Bay, Gramercy, Murray Hill and Midtown East, according to some board members.
Members said they felt the plan wouldn't keep middle-income families from being squeezed out of the neighbrohood. If working families in Murray Hill can’t afford the rent in the area but make too much to qualify for below-market homes in the neighborhood, the policy will do little good to protect them, critics of the plan said.
“This plan has no application in CB6 for the largest portion of the people here,” said board member Kathy Thompson on Tuesday. “People have to pay a lot of money just to live in Midtown Manhattan, and if you’re trying to keep everyone in their neighborhoods, you’re forcing out the middle class, the real moderate income people.”
If the mandatory program ends up rolling out, the city could give developers one of three options, depending on the area:
► Option one will require developers to make 25 percent of the square footage available to residents making 65 percent or below the AMI (that translates to $46,620 per year for a family of three).
► Option two would require developers to designate 30 percent of the square footage to residents making 80 percent or below the AMI (which translates to $62,150 for a family of three)
► A third option, also called the “workforce option,” would assign 30 percent of a new developments to residents making 120 percent of the area median income, or $93,240 for a family of three, but these units would not qualify for the same affordable housing subsidies available to units in the lower income options.
The workforce option is a nod to areas in which middle-income development is financially feasible, and is not on the table for Manhattan districts 1-8 where city officials have decided it would not be possible for developers to turn a profit.
Members of CB6's Homeless, Housing and Human Rights Committee are currently working on a list of suggestions for how a mandatory inclusionary housing rezoning policy could best be implemented in their district.
Creating affordable housing for people with incomes below the AMI stays true to the core mission of the mandatory inclusionary policy, which is to ensure a wide range of incomes in areas where high prices might otherwise keep out lower income residents, said Bob Tuttle, of DCP, at the meeting.
“One of the main goals of the housing plan and of mandatory inclusionary is to see a diversity of incomes,” Tuttle said.
Once the review phase of the plan is complete and stakeholders like Community Board 6 have submitted their input, the City Planning Commission will review the plan and send it in early 2016 for review by the City Council, according to the Department of City Planning.
Any rezoning process for a neighborhood where the mandatory Inclusionary Housing program will be applied will still have to go through its own land-use review process, the agency said.