The (14 hour) City Planning Commission hearing on the proposed text changes for Mandatory Inclusionary and Zoning for Quality and Affordability

Long lines formed yesterday at Bowling Green for a public hearing by the City Planning Commission on two proposed zoning text amendments: Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH). The two proposals are key elements of Mayor de Blasio’s Housing Plan.

After waiting back in our offices for nearly 10 hours (!), we were very happy to testify in support of the ZQA text change which has many incredibly important changes for housing. As we found in our our zoning study The Buliding Envelope Conundrum the rules that dictate the three-dimensions of a new building in contextual districts often make it impossible to use all of the permitted floor area for a site – acting like a downzoning on the residential capacity.

This text change updates the permitted dimensions of a new building – allowing some additional height and some flexibility on other aspects of the building envelope such as lot coverage, setbacks, base heights and more. ZQA would also offer a floor area incentive, and some other advantages, for the development of affordable housing for seniors. It would reduce parking requirements in senior and affordable housing to reduce construction costs and make site planning easier. It helps out Supportive Housing by making it easier to mix residential uses and allowing them to claim the floor area deductions granted to regular residential projects.

And it would facilitate some of the innovation in housing unit design that we have long called for as part of our Making Room initiative. The removal of a minimum size for apartments in zoning is included in this text change, as well as some reform to the density calculations to make it easier to provide a wider range of housing unit sizes in our highest density buildings. You can read CHPC’s testimony on ZQA here:

Watch CHPC’s testimony here.