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Inside Edge: Rent Stabilization and the J-51 Tax Beneﬁt
After Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village (STPCV) were sold, a group of tenants brought legal action to challenge the new owners’ ability to take apartments out of Rent Stabilization through the “luxury decontrol” rules which came into effect in 1994. Under that provision of the law, when rents exceed $2,000 on vacancy or when an existing tenant’s income exceeds $175,000 and the rent for their apartment exceeds $2,000 the owner could apply to DHCR to remove that apartment from Rent Stabilization. Since the law went into effect more than 64,599 apartments have been removed from Rent Stabilization under those …Read more
Urban Prospect: Starrett City, Paradise Lost?
Now, more than 30 years later, 5,881 units of affordable housing, which succeeded against great odds, are about to be sold in Brooklyn for a reported price of $1.3 billion. Existing tenants are concerned that their apartments will lose rent subsidies and the resulting increases will lead to displacement. Politicians and government officials are promising to keep Starrett City affordable. …Read more
Urban Prospect: 421-a: A Taxing Issue
From attracting jobs to preserving historic structures, tax forgiveness has been a critical tool for policymakers seeking to attract and influence the investment of private capital. Nowhere has this tool been more effectively used than in New York City’s efforts to preserve and expand its housing stock. Since its inception, the 421-a partial tax exemption has helped to create over 124,000 units of housing, more than 5,500 of which have been made available to low-income households through the Negotiable Certificate Program.
The housing industry has been dependent upon some form of tax relief in large part to ameliorate flawed real …Read more
Urban Prospect: The Kelo Paradox
On June 23, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered what was arguably its most controversial land use decision in recent memory. By upholding a Connecticut Supreme Court ruling that the City of New London and its Development Corporation had not violated the Public Use Clause of the Fifth Amendment after initiating takings proceedings against Susette Kelo and eight other property owners, the Court unwittingly politicized one of the most important instruments of local land use planning. The decision, while a seeming victory for local authorities involved in community development efforts, produced an immediate and vehement public backlash, which would ultimately …Read more
Urban Prospect: Parking Puzzles
When news surfaced in Riverdale last February that 100 surface parking spots were on the verge of being eliminated to make way for a new high-rise residential building, neighborhood drivers were infuriated. Local politicians and community leaders, sensing both opportunity and danger, responded by organizing a parking forum with representatives from city agencies on hand to answer questions and placate concerns. Throughout the heated discussion, many of the residents in attendance expressed frustration that more households than ever were choosing to own vehicles, but that new residential developments were not doing enough to accommodate them.
Click here (pdf) to read …Read more
Urban Prospect: Inclusionary Boroughs
When the City Council voted to enact a modified rezoning proposal for Williamsburg-Greenpoint on May 11, it effectively authorized a dramatic remaking of that section of Brooklyn. It also brought to a close an exhausting planning and political process that established new parameters for housing policy and land use practices in the city.
Click here to read CHPC’s analysis of the rezoning of 184 Brooklyn blocks.…Read more
Urban Prospect: The Big Picture
Although the five boroughs contain only 37 percent of the New York metropolitan area’s population, housing and land use policies usually are discussed in isolation from the broader regional trends that affect them. While a regional perspective has long been institutionalized in transportation planning, it remains almost totally absent from policy decisions on housing and land use. Many familiar problems, however, take on new aspects when viewed from a regional perspective.
In order to sharpen the focus of city policies, and perhaps to forge new ties among housing and planning professionals throughout the region, CHPC has recently joined forces with …Read more
Urban Prospect: What kind of growth do we want?
After many years in which the everyday concerns of life — crime, graffiti, squeegee men, crowded schools, and the like — dominated the attention of city government, New York is again looking toward its distant future. From the World Trade Center site to the Far West Side to the Brooklyn waterfront, government agencies are offering redevelopment plans that envision new centers of business and cultural activity. Ambitious infrastructure projects, like the extension of the #7 line, the Second Avenue subway, and East Side and Downtown commuter rail access are being actively pursued. Even new parks and open spaces, winding over …Read more
Urban Prospect: Tracking Movers
More than most places, New York is a city of housing haves and have-nots. For many of its residents, long-term tenure in rent-regulated apartments provides a secure and affordable lifestyle, while for those who purchased their homes in a less expensive era, subsequent price appreciation has been a major generator of personal wealth. For young people, newcomers to the city, and others entering the housing market, however, the situation is much different. They face a marketplace that has changed radically over the past decade, and are confronted with housing choices that are far less favorable.
Data on current market conditions …Read more
Urban Prospect: New York’s Underground Housing
New York City’s aggressive efforts to create affordable housing have rightfully won praise from housing experts nationwide. But less widely recognized is the extent to which informal dwellings, illegal and unregulated, have proliferated in response to the city’s surging housing demand. During the past fifteen years informal housing may have accounted for as much as half of the city’s net housing creation, approaching a scale comparable to the celebrated Mitchell-Lama program.
In many communities, illegal housing units have reached a critical mass, eroding neighborhood aesthetics, straining services, and turning parking into a frustrating ordeal. Many feel the situation is hopeless, …Read more
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