February 4, 2016

NY Developers Take Note: City Planning Commission Approves Affordable Housing Zoning Proposals

2 min

NY City Council Hearings Scheduled For February 9 and 10

Yesterday, the New York City Planning Commission (CPC) approved the MIH and ZQA zoning proposals (with minor modifications), which were prepared by the de Blasio administration. MIH and ZQA, taken together, will involve significant changes to the NYC Zoning Resolution and, in the words of CPC's website, would impose the "most rigorous zoning requirement for affordable housing of any major U.S. city."

What Does This Mean for Future Residential Development?

MIH requirements will apply to City-sponsored rezonings and private rezoning applications and will require 25% or 30% of residential units in MIH areas meet affordability requirements (with certain limited exceptions).

What Happens Next?

Review and approval by the New York City Council is required before MIH and ZQA take effect, and City Council hearings on MIH and ZQA are scheduled for Tuesday, February 9 and Wednesday, February 10. Upon adoption of the MIH and ZQA proposals, a series of rezonings are expected to make their way through CPC and City Council review, starting with the East New York rezoning proposal (already under review by CPC) and including areas throughout NYC.

Things to Consider

It remains to be seen whether MIH and ZQA proposals will be further modified at the City Council level, prior to adoption, to account for comments from the NYC Bar Association and others, or whether MIH and/or ZQA, upon adoption, will be challenged through litigation. Practically speaking, the expiration of the 421-a property tax exemption unfavorably impacts the economics of developing new mixed-income projects even if required by MIH, so developers and others are also waiting to hear whether and when the Legislature may either extend the 421-a program or propose a replacement, and what such a property tax program would entail.

We will continue to monitor the MIH and ZQA proposals, and rezonings, as they move through review and toward adoption.