For a city as big and diverse of New York, one size doesn’t fit all. The mayor’s zoning amendments may work for Manhattan or Brooklyn, but Queens is a very different place.
First, affordable housing MUST include parking. Not all of Queens is served by adequate public transit. Especially in eastern neighborhoods like Bayside and Fresh Meadows, many residents work within the borough or in Nassau County and require cars. In these neighborhoods, parking is an all-too-common complaint. Eliminating a requirement for parking might work fine in Astoria or Long Island City, but it certainly won’t work in Northeast Queens. Not all of this city is walkable.
The Queens borough board is concerned that the current proposal could actually eliminate affordable housing, notably in the few currently affordable neighborhoods. In a community such as Jamaica, where rents are still fairly affordable, is reducing affordability to 25 or 35 percent of new developments, in an area where 50 to 100 percent of units are affordable, really a good idea? Or will it lead to displacement of residents already living there? It sounds to us like gentrification by another name.
Mayor de Blasio is clearly looking to tackle the affordable housing crisis, and its commendable that City Hall is focusing on this problem, but there is no one solution that can work for the entire city. If he is serious about tackling the affordable housing problem – and if he hopes to have any future as a progressive voice – the mayor needs to focus on it community by community, just as he has with policing.
City Hall should go back to the drawing board, and work with the local community boards and Borough Hall to seek a compromise that will work.