GREENWICH VILLAGE — The City Council made some changes to Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to create or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing by 2024.
Here are some of the changes that apply to Greenwich Village and SoHo:
Community activists throughout the five boroughs have worked over the past few decades to secure contextual zonings in their neighborhoods to preserve the "character" of areas with older, low-slung tenement buildings and brownstones.
Under the mayor's version of Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA,) medium- to high-density contextual districts — ones with lower or more narrow buildings in general — would see a 5-foot height increase, and high density contextual districts — areas with taller or wider buildings in general — would see a 5- to 15-foot height increase.
The City Council eliminated the 5-foot increase in medium density contextual districts and eliminated or reduced the increases in higher density districts.
In non-contextual medium to high density districts, the mayor's plan was to increase maximum building heights by up to 25 feet. The Council took 10 feet off of that for areas with lower buildings and limited height increases throughout.
Higher Ground Floor Ceilings
The administration also would allow a 5- to 10-foot ground floor height increase to encourage better retail use of the ground floor, but the Council nixed that — though only for areas in Manhattan below 110th St., referred to as the "Manhattan Core."
For Senior and Affordable Housing
The mayor's version proposed 20- to 40-feet maximum building height increases. The Council reduced that by 10 feet on narrow streets.
Mandatory Inclusionary Housing
The two key aspects of the mayor's plan were Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH).
ZQA doesn't apply to most of SoHo, because the area is zoned for manufacturing.
MIH applies to any new construction anywhere in the city if the developer needs a zoning or land use change to build residential there, as they would in SoHo.
The mayor's plan required these projects to contain a certain percentage of affordable housing, based on Area Median Income.
►READ MORE: What is AMI?
While the mayor's version of the plan had the lowest target AMI at an average of 60 percent, the Council modified it to require 10 percent of the units be pegged at a minimum of 40 percent AMI with an overall requirement that 25 percent of the units be priced at an average of 60 percent AMI.
If developers prove that they can't include affordable units in their building for some reason — for example, if the building is too small to include enough units, as is likely to happen in SoHo — they must put money in a "neighborhood development fund."
That fund goes toward building affordable housing elsewhere in the same district. There was concern among community boards that there were not enough details about how the fund would work. The City Council required information on projects financed by the fund to be included in an annual report put out by the Mayor's Office of Operations.
The Council's land use committee is expected to vote on — and pass — both ZQA and MIH on Thursday. The full City Council will vote next week.