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Staten Island Joins Every Borough in the City to Reject Mayor's Zoning Plan

By Nicholas Rizzi | December 11, 2015 8:22am
 The Staten Island Borough Board joined every other one in the city in rejecting the mayor's zoning proposals at their meeting Thursday, December 10, 2015.
The Staten Island Borough Board joined every other one in the city in rejecting the mayor's zoning proposals at their meeting Thursday, December 10, 2015.
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DNAinfo/Nicholas Rizzi

ST. GEORGE — Staten Island on Thursday night joined every other borough in the city to reject Mayor Bill de Blasio's proposed affordable housing zoning plan.

The borough board — the last to consider the mayor's plan aimed at increasing and preserving 200,000 units of affordable housing — was nearly unanimous in opposition.

Members worried it would increase population without addressing the borough's need for better infrastructure and public transportation options.

"I can't take a leap of faith on policies that I think are unpredictable in what they will result in," Borough President James Oddo said.

"We don't want high-rise apartment buildings, and if there is going to be a move towards density it has to be specifically in corridors that I believe have a bigger goal. That is to reclaim an area, to lift a community."

The board joined Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and The Bronx in rejecting the plan, along with nearly every community board in the city.

Members of the board — made up of Oddo, City Council members and community board chairs — voted six to zero, with one abstention, to reject both the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Quality Affordability proposals.

Councilwoman Debi Rose, who did not attend the meeting, abstained from the vote.

"While I support the goal of making housing more affordable to meet the current needs of our residents, we cannot increase density without guarantees from the city that we will have the public transportation, school seats, hospital beds, recreation facilities, street lighting and other infrastructure components necessary to support our district, today and in the future," she said in a statement.

"We have a long legacy of haphazard planning in our borough, leaving our infrastructure unable to accommodate the existing population — and we will not make those mistakes again on my watch."

Councilman Steven Matteo said that while the proposals wouldn't directly impact his district immediately, he worried it could be used to add unwanted density to neighborhoods and was wary of any senior housing that wouldn't require community input.

"I am not willing to support proposals that don’t have the Staten Island needs ... as its focus," Matteo said at the meeting.

"I think that these proposals take away our ability to decide what's best for our neighborhood."

The Mandatory Inclusionary Housing plan, which would require developers to add affordable housing units to new buildings, and the Zoning for Quality Affordability, which aims to create more affordable senior housing and care facilities in the city, were nearly universally rejected by community boards around the city, whose role is merely advisory.

Most boards complained about the "one-size-fits-all" aspect of the plans and some felt the affordable options weren't priced low enough for most residents.

Staten Island was the last borough to weigh in on the plan after Oddo asked the community boards to delay their votes so he could fully scrutinize the 525-page plans.

Staten Island Community Board 3 was the first to weigh in and reject the plans. This week, both CB2 and CB1 voted against the mayor's plans.