East Houston Street Rezoning Update
The City Planning Commission (CPC) voted on July 13th to approve a rezoning application for three blocks of the southern portion of East Houston Street from Norfolk Street to mid-block between Clinton and Attorney Streets. CPC made no changes to the application and approved it as submitted. The application by SMBRO Rivington, LLC is to rezone the area from a C1-5 commercial overlay to a C2-5 commercial overlay in an existing R8A contextual district.
This area was rezoned as part of the Lower East Side/East Village rezoning, was approved by the City Council in 2008. The Community Board and Borough President have both recommended disapproving the application. Council Woman Mendez does not support zoning changes at this time and would like to encourage the Community Board and constituents to testify at the City Council’s hearing on the application. As of now, the hearing is scheduled for August 9, 2016 at 9:30am in the Committee Room at City Hall. Everyone is welcomed to come and testify.
If you have any questions or comments regarding the application please feel free to call our District Office at 212-677-1077.
Rosie Demands Deed Removals Go Through ULURP
On Wednesday, July 20, 2016 Rosie joined a group of her colleagues that included Public Advocate Letisha James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Council Members Margaret Chin and Ben Kallos to ask the City Planning Commission (CPC) to add deed restriction removals to the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Process, also known as ULURP. Community board members and local leaders have joined in support of this demand, the CPC is the only entity with the charter-mandated power to alter the process and issue a recommendation to the City Council to make changes through adoption of a local law.
Since July 2015, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services removed two deed restrictions from Rivington House that required it to remain a non-profit health care facility. This allowed the operators to sell the building for a $72 million profit, with most of the transaction happening without any public input or knowledge. Mayor de Blasio has since stated the mishandling was a mistake and a gross oversight on behalf of his administration. The Department of Investigation (DOI) had released a report that found the Mayor’s team should have realized that the loss of the facility would lead to luxury housing.
The DOI reported no corruption but found the documents submitted during the investigation were heavily redacted adding to the ambiguity throughout the process. With Rivington House, a loss by many standards, community groups are disappointed by a lack of transparency or consequence to the administration. By adding deed restriction removals to ULURP, a set time table and steps clearly outlined would be out in the open and allow response and recommendations by residents, city agencies and elected officials.
HPD’s Proposal to Preserve Affordable Coop Apartments
The Department of Housing, Preservation and Development (“HPD”) made a presentation at the Manhattan Borough Board on July 21, 2016 and proposed recommended changes to maintain and preserve the long-term affordability of limited equity cooperatives known as Housing Development Fund Corporations (“HDFCs”). HDFCs were created under the Article XI of the Public Housing Finance Law (“PHFL”). There are 1,048 HDFC Coops in HPD’s portfolio with 681 buildings located in Manhattan. Only 207 buildings have Regulatory Agreements which give HPD oversight and the majority of those buildings were in the Tenant Interim Lease (“TIL”) program. HDFC Coop Buildings that do not have Regulatory Agreement were in the Homesteading/Sweat Equity program and approximately 1/3 are in financial distress due to expired Division of Alternate Management (“DAMP”) or J-51 tax abatements and/or fiscal mismanagement. In some cases, HDFC coop owners have sold their apartments at market rate.
As a result, HPD proposes to eliminate all DAMP tax abatements which are due to expire in 2029 and replace the DAMP tax with another tax abatement program that will be coupled with a regulatory agreement. The regulatory agreements will mandate:
- Resale restrictions,
- Flip taxes,
- 18 month sublet restrictions,
- Annual maintenance increases,
- HPD approved third party monitors,
- HPD third party managers, and
Prohibits HDFC coop owners from having a 2nd home within 100 miles of NYC.
HPD may allow HDFC coops to apply for a waiver of the Third party manager if, and only if, the building can demonstrate that it has responsibly managed the building and has a healthy reserve. HPD will hold community forums on its proposed changes in the near future. Prior to that, my office will organize a forum as well to obtain HDFC cooperator input.
Rosie Resolves: Gompers Houses Trailor
Gompers Houses will have noticed the removal of a trailer that has been occupying the corner of Pitt and Stanton Streets for many years. Thanks to advocacy by Rosie the trailer, used by various City Agencies over the years as a “field office” for the Houston Street Reconstruction Project, has been removed and will not be returning. The City’s Department of Transportation will not renew permits for the trailer which has become a blight to the community, providing cover for the use of drugs, public urination and worse.