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NYC’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Proposal

New York City’s “Housing New York” plan to build and preserve 200,000 high quality, affordable units is under City Planning review. If passed, the plan will have significant impact on development and zoning in New York.

Housing New York has two components, Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) and Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA). MIH essentially makes the current Inclusionary Housing permanent and more widespread. ZQA seeks to amend current zoning rules to allow more building diversity in Quality Housing and contextual districts.

MIH attempts to make affordable housing mandatory in designated high-density areas outlined in Inclusionary Housing Designated Areas (Appendix F). These areas were targeted in 2005 for their proximity to public transportation and capacity to absorb high-density development. MIH includes new buildings as well as substantial rehabilitation in designated areas. The city hopes to create 80,000 new units and preserve 120,000 more. These affordable units would be permanently affordable and tenants would be protected from harassment.

The MIH program requires that all new development in designated areas include 25-30% of total floor area to be affordable. What is considered affordable is determined by Area Median Income (AMI). MIH requires 25% percent of total floor area to be appropriated for residents with 60% AMI or less, which at time of publication is $36,300 for a single person. As an alternative, MIH requires 30% of floor area to be appropriated for residents with 80% AMI, or $48,400 for a single person.

MIH requires the distribution of affordable units to be distributed evenly within building floors. 65% of floors in new or substantially renovated buildings in designated areas are to include affordable housing. MIH buildings must also have a common primary entrance for all residents, eliminating the controversial separate entrance for affordable housing tenants.

Affordable housing in MIH buildings are to have the following minimum size requirements:

  • 400 square feet for studio
  • 575 square feet for 1 bedroom
  • 775 square feet for 2 bedrooms
  • 950 square feet for 3 bedrooms

The MIH program comes with two main incentives for developers. The first is the extension of the popular 421-a tax incentive program. The second is the increased FAR for MIH developments.

FAR chart mandatory inclusionary housing

There is an additional three step review process for MIH applications. First, the application must acquire approval from the Community Board, Borough President and Borough Board. Second, the City Planning Commission will review the application. If the application passes, it must be submitted to City Council for a final review. The entire process takes about six months.

Housing New York is currently under review. It is slated to go up for final review by the City Council in early 2016.

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