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City Planning Approves De Blasio's Contentious Zoning Proposals

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The City Planning Commission has approved Mayor de Blasio's controversial rezoning plans with a few minor tweaks, and it's now in the hands of the City Council to suggest any final changes, DNAinfo reports. A majority of the members of the Commission voted in favor of Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) and Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA). Both are part of De Blasio's larger housing vision that seeks to create and preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing.

The City Council will hear public testimony on both proposals on February 9 and 10. Following that it will propose changes, and then vote on the plans in March. While MIH focuses on new developments, ZQA focus on senior housing and preserving affordable units.

For MIH, the Planning Commission proposed tighter restrictions on the "hardship" clause, which allows developers to get out of building affordable housing. They will have to make an appeal in front of the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development. In the case of ZQA, the Commission asked for special permits to be issued for long-term care facilities like nursing homes, as well as for decreasing heights for certain wide and narrow street neighborhoods in Manhattan.

The zoning plans have been denounced by an overwhelming number of community boards and affordable housing advocates. Critics argue that the two proposals could completely alter existing neighborhoods due to the scale of development. Plus, the lowest income band in the plan right now is 60 percent of Area Median Income, which is far higher than what many New Yorkers can afford.
· De Blasio's Controversial Rezoning Plan Approved by Planning Commission [DNAinfo]
· Critics of Mayor de Blasio's Citywide Zoning Proposals Multiply [Curbed]
· All Housing New York coverage [Curbed]