There seems to be a continued disconnect on what this City needs in terms of affordable housing, and with each new development that is planned, that disconnect seems to grow. While many City officials seem to be patting themselves on the back over the approval of the Astoria Cove project, with 20 percent of its units planned to be marked as “affordable,” they seem to either not understand or not care that this decision does little to alleviate the lack of housing that residents of this City can ostensibly afford.
The Astoria Cove project proposes to create about 1,700 residential units, with about 340 of those set to be below market rate. Community Board 1 recommended to oppose the project earlier this summer due to a lack of affordable units. Borough President Melinda Katz followed suit. Unfortunately, those recommendations are not binding, and the City Planning Commission voted earlier this week to give the proposal the go-ahead.
While Mayor Bill de Blasio’s staff called the City Planning Commission vote a “game-changer” when it comes to development, it seems more like business as usual and a ghost from a previous administration that appeared to care little about the working class of this City.
When de Blasio took office, along with a new class of City Council members, the new administration was touted as having a more progressive vision for the City than it had experienced over the previous 12 years. This is the time to prove it. The Astoria Cove proposal now moves to the City Council, the final stop for any changes that need to be made.
We hope that the City Council lives up to its promise of a more progressive New York City by pushing for changes to the proposal that will increase affordable housing units at Astoria Cove. Doing that will send a message to developers in the City that this is a priority.