BROOKLYN — Brooklyn's Community Board 6 voted Tuesday to approve two key proposals in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s push for more affordable housing throughout the city — but urged officials to keep all units under one roof.
The proposals' intent to increase affordable and senior housing as well as encourage better building designs ultimately compelled the board to vote in its favor, CB6 member Eric McClure told DNAinfo.
But the board asked that developers create affordable units within the same building as market-rate units rather than putting them in off-site locations, as is currently allowed under the regulations.
"On inclusionary zoning, we unanimously passed an amendment conditioning our support on the requirement that all affordable units be under the same roof as any market-rate units; no poor doors, no poor buildings," McClure said, referring to the controversial separate entrances for affordable housing tenants at some mixed-rate buildings.
Another driving factor for the condition is the overwhelming segregation in New York City schools, said CB6 Chair Gary Reilly.
Off-site afforable housing allows developers to build those units in different school districts, which could exacerbate the lack of diversity in local schools.
"Let's not make this an excluded, second-class housing," Reilly told DNAinfo. "We want you to keep it in the same building, we want you to keep it in the same school district."
Since September, the Department of City Planning has been presenting the proposals to community boards across the city during a pubic comment period.
CB6's land use committee voted to approve the two proposals with conditions during a meeting Oct. 22.
The committee asked the city to clarify its "payment-in-lieu" feature for developers of smaller buildings, in which affordable housing requirements could be waived in favor of fees. They also asked for officials to revisit the idea of calling Red Hook a "transit zone," which would mean it has easy access to public transportation, a requirement for developers seeking to waive parking requirements under new rules proposed by the city.
CB6 member Jerry Armer said at the October committee meeting that the board must "bite the bullet and make the change" rather than quibble over details that may not apply to specific neighborhoods.
"If we try and tailor zoning for every little area ... it'll be impossible to happen," he said.
The Mandatory Inclusionary Housing proposal, which seeks to "promote economic diversity," would require developers to build permanently affordable housing in certain zoned neighborhoods.
The Zoning for Quality and Affordability plan would update and amend zoning regulations, encouraging more contextual building designs, and increasing the maximum height of buildings to incentivize developers to create better street-level retail spaces and room for more affordable and senior housing.
Recommendations by the community boards are only advistory. Following the public review period, the proposals will go to the City Planning Commission and then the City Council for review.