The public comment period was originally scheduled to end on April 6 but has been extended to April 30 for the proposal, Zoning for Quality and Affordability, which is a significant part of Blasio’s plan to create or preserve 200,000 affordable housing units citywide in 10 years.
The citywide proposal targets changing zoning regulations to encourage the construction of more affordable and senior housing as well as improve the look and quality of buildings.
Part of the proposal would, for example, reduce parking requirements for buildings in neighborhoods with public transit options or that have low car ownership, which will help lower construction costs; the report claims this would reduce costs for housing.
The plan also seeks to ease rules that shape buildings and allow more design flexibility for developers in high-density areas by increasing height maximums in many areas up to 15 feet and reducing setback requirements. This could help developers to create bigger buildings with higher floor-to-floor heights and better layouts.
However, critics at the public hearing on March 25 have said that there hasn’t been enough publicizing of the plan. Residents fear that larger buildings will be built in some historic neighborhoods that have fought for strict contextual zoning regulations to protect the character of the areas, such as Jackson Heights.
Some also criticized that since many buildings will have only 20 percent affordable housing to meet city subsidy programs, mostly market-rate or luxury units will be built through the housing initiative.
Following the public comment period, the city planning will produce amendments to the proposal and another round of public review will begin.