Opinion: Save Our City: Stop Making it So Damn Hard to Build
New York Post Columnist Steve Cuozzo outlines what needs to change to encourage the construction of more housing in New York City.
ULURP subjects every project that requires a zoning change to a seven-month slog through community boards, the Beep’s office, the City Planning Commission, City Council and finally the mayor. Once a useful, if contentious, system for scrutinizing proposals, it has become an invitation to NIMBY madness. It deters developers and often results in nothing getting built.
This is disastrous. Except for a glut of unsold condo units in “Billionaire’s Row” towers, the volume of all new housing in the city is woefully inadequate. Matthew Murphy, executive director of the NYU Furman Center, told Curbed.com that because housing construction has lagged the city’s population growth, today’s vacancy rate for the cheapest apartments, those renting for under $800 a month, is an infinitesimal 0.9 percent.
De Blasio in 2016 pledged to “create” 80,000 newly built units to alleviate the shortage. His Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Program required developers to include affordable units in any residential project that required a zoning change.
But they must all pass through ULURP, which gives decisive clout to “progressive” stakeholders who are, in fact, reactionary. They include community boards and spineless Beeps who march in lockstep with the boards’ “advisory” recommendations.
Worse, the system effectively gives the final say on any rezoning to the council member who represents the district and whose position the full council is certain to uphold when it comes to a final vote.
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