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Archive: Zoning for affordable housing – ZQA and MIH (2016)

How will ZQA and MIH affect our community?

In approving ZQA, the City Council made it possible to build long-term care facilities in New York City’s lowest-density residential districts, R1 and R2.

Recognizing the intrusion these developments will likely make into low-density neighborhoods, the City Council required developers to apply for a special permit and to demonstrate that the facilities will: Above Photo: 2015 RNP Meeting

  • be compatible with the character of the surrounding area,

  • be sited and landscaped in a way to adequately buffer themselves from nearby residences, and

  • make provisions to handle traffic on access streets.

The Hebrew Home for the Aged in Riverdale is a test case for ZQA. In 2017, the Preservancy will remain firmly committed to seeing the proposed Hebrew Home development meet its obligations under our 197-a Plan, the new ZQA zoning and SNAD zoning to preserve Riverdale’s neighborhood character and natural features. Go to our page on the Hebrew Home proposal to read more.

But it is imperative to recognize the historic nature of this application.

Hebrew Home has applied to New York State to be licensed as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). CCRCs are included in the city’s zoning definition of long-term care facility, and ZQA has now allowed them in R1 and R2 districts via special permit.

Final approval of this application will not only impact the character of Riverdale. It will create an incentive for development in low-density neighborhoods throughout New York City.

The NYC Council approved on March 22, 2016 two city-wide zoning text amendments:

• Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) aims for better design, better opportunities for senior citizens to remain in their communities, and reduced parking for affordable housing near transit. • Mandatory Inclusionary Housing ( MIH) makes it mandatory for new developments to include a percentage of “affordable” housing units. Generally the requirement is for 20% of units to be affordable and 80% to be market rate.

Proposals in 2015 galvanized response throughout the city

The Preservancy supports the Mayor’s goals: preserving and developing affordable housing in all boroughs, and improving the quality of housing for all. However, the original proposals were decried throughout the city as one-size-fits-all in a city of individual neighborhoods.

Community groups and advocates throughout the city were galvanized by the proposed regulations.

The Preservancy was a founding member of the Bronx Community District 8 Neighborhood Coalition, whose members engaged with our elected officials, gave hours of time to offer thoughtful testimony at public hearings and reached out to the community with emails and phone calls to insist that MIH and ZQA not reverse years of community preservation efforts especially as expressed in the community board’s 197-a plan and the subsequent rezonings approved by the City Planning Commission to implement the plan.

In response, City Planning made many modifications to its proposals.

For more information:

Download Preservancy Chairman’s (abridged) remarks to the Community Board 8 Land Use Committee meeting on November 9, 2015 below.

RNP Remarks to CB8 2015 ZQA
Download PDF • 562KB

Download the Mayor’s Press release of March 22, 2016 below.

Download PDF • 153KB

View City Planning’s webpages on ZQA and MIH

Download City Planning’s original proposal as it applied to Bronx Community District 8.

ZQA BX08 2015
Download PDF • 1.58MB

Timeline of community involvement in Bronx Community District 8

  • March 22, 2016. Full NYC Council vote to approve ZQA and MIH with modifications

  • March 17, 2016. NYC Council Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises and Land Use Committee vote to approve ZQA and MIH.

  • February 10, 2016. NYC Council Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises and Land Use Committee Public Hearing on ZQA. Preservancy Chairman Sherida Paulsen delivered the Preservancy’s statement of opposition to the zoning proposals. The Riverdale community was well represented at the hearings by the Community Board Chair and Vice Chair, as well as by leaders of several neighborhood groups. Over 300 members of the public came to City Hall over two days to speak out on these proposals.

  • February 9, 2016. NYC Council Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises and Land Use Committee Public Hearing on MIH

  • February 3, 2016. City Planning Commission vote to approve ZQA and MIH.

  • December 16, 2015. NY City Planning Commission public hearing. The packed hearing began at 9:00 am and lasted well into the evening. Preservancy Chairman Sherida Paulsen delivered the Preservancy’s remarks.

  • November 19, 2015. The Bronx Borough Board voted unanimously 0-19-1 to oppose the proposed text amendments. City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito sits on the Borough Board and voted to abstain. Borough President Diaz released a press release with his remarks on the zoning.

  • November 12, 2015. The Borough Board heard public comments on ZQA and MIH. Preservancy Co-President Peter Kohlmann presented the Preservancy’s views to the Borough Board.

  • November 10, 2015. The full Community Board voted unanimously, with two abstentions, for the Committee’s resolutions opposing ZQA and MIH. Preservancy Chairman Sherida Paulsen presented the Preservancy’s views during the Board’s gallery session.

  • November 9, 2015. Community Board 8 Land Use Committee held a hearing at which it heard testimony from the public. Preservancy Chairman Sherida Paulsen presented the Preservancy’s statement. She reminded the board that the proposed zoning changes would undermine the Community Board’s 197-a plan and the zoning that was approved by the NYC Planning Commission to implement the Plan. The Committee unanimously passed two resolutions opposing ZQA and MIH.

  • September 29, 2015. The Preservancy’s Annual Meeting was an information session about ZQA and MIH. It featured a presentation by Preservancy Chairman Sherida Paulsen on the technical aspects of the zoning proposal and a comprehensive discussion with City Council Member Andrew Cohen and NYS Senator Jeffrey Dinowitz. We urged community members to speak at upcoming public hearings.

  • September 19, 2015. Director of the Bronx office of NYC Department of City Planning, Carol Samol, NYS Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, and Housing Policy Analyst for the Community Service Society, Tom Waters, hosted a community discussion entitled Solving the Puzzle: How Do We Build Enough Affordable Housing? The Preservancy was represented by several members of the board.

  • September 8, 2015. The newly-formed Community District 8 Neighborhood Coalition read a statement of concerns about the proposed MIH and ZQA text amendments at the Bronx Community Board 8 first full board meeting after the summer break.

  • September 2, 2015. Community organizations of the NW Bronx met to organize opposition to the MIH and ZQA zoning text amendments as proposed. The Riverdale Nature Preservancy was a founding member of the new coalition.

  • June 24, 2015. The NYC Department of City Planning presented its proposed zoning text amendments, referred to as MIH and ZQA, at a meeting of the Bronx Community Board 8 Land Use Committee. The Chair of the Preservancy was in attendance. Formal review by the Community Boards was to begin in the fall, after the summer break.

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