NYCHA Infill Development Updates

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In April, Rosie—along with Council Members Margaret Chin and Melissa Mark-Viverito—wrote to NYCHA Chair John Rhea to officially transmit the 22 specific Infill-related requests made in Resolution 1719—passed on April 9th—and to ensure that they will be treated as official comments from the Council and the NYCHA residents that the three Council Members collectively represent.

The dual goals of the resolution 1719 are to (1) fully engage residents so they can be fundamentally informed, supported and empowered to make a decision as to whether or not to support or oppose any proposed Infill Development at their homes and (2) ensure that any Infill plans that move forward have clear and compelling benefits for residents.

Furthermore, the letter specifically requested that: NYCHA formally delay the release of Infill RFP’s until such time that: (1) All feedback from residents has been formally considered, responded to and incorporated into the Infill plan and (2) Residents have had the opportunity to access TPF funds for the technical assistance necessary to respond to the initial presentations made by NYCHA from March-April and (3) Residents have had a minimum of one month to review all plans in detail with their technical advisory team.

In response to the letter, NYCHA officials met with Rosie and the other two councilmembers and relayed the following information:

NYCHA is 95% complete with drafting answers to all the questions and comments they have received on Infill so far, they will be positing these questions and answers on their website sometime in the very near future.

NYCHA will not voluntarily opt-in to ULURP; the conditions met by the Infill proposal are exempt and the Section 18 process and their “voluntary” consultation with Community Boards is sufficient in their eyes. However, NYCHA remains amenable to amending their consultation process if insufficiencies are raised.

NYCHA will make the draft RFP available at the end for May on their website for all to see and comment upon, including Resident Organizations. The new timeline for releasing the Infill RFP is the end of June so this would mean about a month would exist for people to view and comment upon the draft RFP before it is released.

NYCHA will not change their position that 80% of the units under this proposal should be market rate, as NYCHA’s singular goal is to raise money through Infill. However, NYCHA is looking at requiring deeper affordability within the 20% of “affordable” units. They are looking at income bands in the 30%-60% of AMI range. NYCHA will work through existing programs or though service providers we suggest to help residents with financial empowerment to make sure they are in a position to rent these units, if desired. They are willing to write language into the RFP that asks developers to present alternative models that would provide more that 20% affordable units, while still maximizing the lease payments to NYCHA. More points will be awarded to a developer who presents such a proposal.

NYCHA cannot commit to an “alienation” standard with respect to replacing amenities that are lost as part of the Infill project. However, they are committed to improvements and redesigns of existing land at developments to replace, as best as possible, the amenities that are removed as part of this project. With respect to the community center, they are committed to finding an alternative location with the same square footage.

NYCHA’s goal with respect to the money raised by Infill is to provide sufficient capital to each of the 8 developments so they can maintain themselves at a state of good repair per the dictates of the Physical Needs Assessment (PNA). Any excess revenue generated would be re-invested throughout the entire NYCHA portfolio.

NYCHA will not agree to defer release of the RFP until all 8 developments have Tenant Participation Activities (TPA) funding and have had the opportunity to hire “technical advisory teams”—because this could delay the release of the RFP indefinitely. NYCHA realizes that applying for TPA is cumbersome but stand ready to approve any application that is submitted. They encourage any/all of the 8 developments who want TPA funding to apply without delay, irrespective of whether or not they plan on taking advantage of the third party NYCHA will hire through the RFP that is currently circulating.

NYCHA is aware that most, if not all developments and the Resident Associations therein are opposed to Infill at present. They will continue to work to address any/all substantive concerns as the process moves forward.

Lastly, on May 8th Rosie introduced two new Resolutions in the Council that urge:

  1. NYCHA to withdraw from the Memorandum of Understanding with the New York City Police Department through which it funds law enforcement services for NYCHA residents and to invest the resulting savings ($73 Million/annually) into the capital needs of its developments.
  2. NYCHA to delay the release of any Requests for Proposals to lease land until residents have utilized Tenant Participation Activities (TPA) funds to consult with legal and technical advisory staff to understand and respond to lease plans and resident feedback has been incorporated into these plans.
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