City of Yes

May 19, 2024

Spotlight

Note: VID offers this information to educate everyone and, without taking a position at this time, provides an impartial overview of the policy proposal. We look forward to having experts present a more in-depth analysis at an upcoming VID General Membership meeting.

The City Of Yes Overview:

The City Of Yes is Mayor Adams' expansive plan to change outdated zoning rules and ignite housing and economic growth. The initiative comprises three sub-plans: the City of Yes Carbon NeutralityHousing Opportunity, and Economic Opportunity. The following is a brief summary of the Housing Opportunity plan. Please note that we offer this information to educate everyone and, without taking a position at this time, provide an impartial overview of the policy proposal. VID looks forward to hosting experts to present more in-depth analyses at upcoming VID General Membership meetings. 

The City of Yes Housing Opportunity, created to alleviate New York City's housing crisis, began formal public review on April 29, 2024. Apartment vacancy rates are at 1.4%, the lowest level in decades, with a particular scarcity of affordable homes. The proposal seeks to generate up to 108,900 new units over 15 years and combat the crisis through zoning reforms:

  • Universal Affordability Preference (UAP) paving the way for developers to build more housing for lower-income earners. facilitating residential conversions
  • Reintroducing mixed-use zoning
  • Removing parking mandates
  • Legalizing accessory dwelling units
  • Promoting transit-oriented development
  • Easing rules for campus development.

While the plan aims to address housing shortages and affordability issues, critics raise concerns about a one-size-fits-all approach and its effectiveness in meeting diverse community needs. The harshest criticism has come from development-averse community boards, many from the more suburban areas. These groups dispute the premise that NYC needs to increase the size and density of residential construction to address rising housing prices. 

Village Preservation is currently challenging the notion that increasing size and density in NYC is, in fact, the solution to rising housing prices, citing data showing housing growth has outpaced population growth. In a recent article, Is a Housing “Shortage” Really the Cause of Unaffordability? Village Preservation asserts that as housing prices continue to soar, the problem does not seem to be simply a lack of supply. They are concerned that only focusing on increasing the housing supply in certain areas may not effectively reduce prices and could worsen inequality. 

Presentations to local boards: It's not too late to become more involved and voice your opinions. Local Community Boards, Borough Presidents, and City Council Members will all have the opportunity to review the plans. Find your representatives here and attend public meetings to participate in this process.

  • 05/21/2024 Manhattan Community Board 3 Committee (Chinatown, East Village, Lower East Side, NoHo, Two Bridges). Location TBD. More info here
  • Community Board 2 City of Yes Housing Opportunity information here.

More Reading on The City of Yes Housing Opportunity (all articles can be found in VID Reading Library on our website and will be updated accordingly):

 

Note: VID offers this information to educate everyone and, without taking a position at this time, provides an impartial overview of the policy proposal. We look forward to having experts present a more in-depth analysis at an upcoming VID General Membership meeting.

Source for summary above: New York State City of Yes Housing OpportunityNY Daily News, T. Kvetenadze , 4/29


The City Of Yes Economic Opportunity:

The New York City Council is reviewing  Mayor Adams' "City of Yes for Economic Opportunity" proposal. This initiative is part of a much larger effort, including City of Yes Carbon Neutrality, Housing Opportunity, and Economic Opportunity. The following is a brief summary of Economic Opportunities, which seeks to modernize zoning regulations to generate economic recovery and the expansion of local businesses.  

The Economic Opportunity plan consists of 18 proposals to fill vacant storefronts, enable businesses to establish and grow in new areas, and change the zoning for usage. Many of the city's zoning laws governing business and manufacturing have not been updated since 1961, making innovation difficult. The proposal seeks to streamline business processes, promote growing industries, enhance streetscapes to be more conducive to business activity, and introduce new opportunities for business operations. 

Highlight of key changes proposed by the new plan are as follows:  

  • Doubling space for clean manufacturing, allowing small producers to expand.
  • Creating zoning tools for 17,000 businesses in industrial areas to grow.
  • Expanding the number of businesses in ground- and upper-floor spaces.
  • Removing restrictions on dancing, comedy, and open mic nights in commercial areas.
  • Allowing new corner stores in residential areas for 265,000 New Yorkers.
  • Updating rules to permit amusements closer to residential areas.
  • Modernizing zoning for life sciences research near universities and hospitals.
  • Removing restrictions on indoor urban agriculture.
  • Filling empty storefronts by updating rules for long-term vacant facilities.
  • Allowing more home-based businesses, like barbers and interior designers.
  • Helping small businesses expand local delivery capacity.
  • Modernizing loading dock rules to facilitate adaptive reuse of commercial buildings.

The proposal has backing from a significant number of wide-ranging pro-business organizations (Association for a Better New York, Alliance for Downtown NY, Real Estate Board of New York, the Freelancers Union), and except Sfor taten Island ,all borough presidents have recommended approving the proposal ,with conditions. 

However, community support has been much less forthcoming. Thirty of the fifty-one Community Boards have rejected the proposal, citing concerns about conflicts with affordable housing initiatives, adverse environmental impacts, and how alterations and rezoning will impact neighborhood character. 

In response to community concerns voiced during over 175 city community board meetings, the City Planning Commission (CPC) has made modifications, such as ensuring existing apartments aren’t converted to commercial use and setting limits on home businesses. The initiative received positive feedback from 21 community boards and borough presidents and will proceed to the City Council for a public hearing and vote.

The City Council is currently deliberating the initiative, and a vote is expected very soon. 

Note: VID offers this information to educate everyone and, without taking a position at this time, provides an impartial overview of the policy proposal. We look forward to having experts present a more in-depth analysis at an upcoming VID General Membership meeting.

 

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