William Alatriste for the NYC Council/NYC DCP

The hopefuls (clockwise from top left): Ydanis Rodriguez, Ritchie Torres, Mark Levine, Jumaane Williams, Corey Johnson, Donovan Richards, James Van Bramer and Robert Cornegy.

 

On January 3, each of the 51 city councilmembers will cast a vote to choose the colleague among them who will lead their pack. The position of City Council Speaker holds significant power to shape the Council’s legislative priorities and handle negotiations with the executive branch. Occupied by Christine Quinn for eight years under Mayor Bloomberg and by Melissa Mark-Viverito during Mayor de Blasio’s first term, the position will now go to one of eight men vying for the position (though rumors are that one of the candidates is about to drop out of the race).

It’s not clear how much average New Yorkers’ opinion matters for this internal election. Political commentators have predicted that the results of the Speaker’s election will in fact be dictated from on high, with councilmembers likely to pledge their votes according to the choice of county Democratic leaders, perhaps under a deal brokered with the mayor. That, however, hasn’t stopped labor and tenant groups from organizing in favor of particular candidates. And it shouldn’t stop a public discussion about the differences between the candidates.

City Limits used several methods to evaluate where the eight candidates stand on questions of housing and land use. It’s clear from this analysis that the candidates share similar positions on a number of fronts, but some differences also emerged.

Introducing the candidates

The first chart offers an introduction to the candidates based on two sources: their introductory speech at the televised NY1 debate on December 1, and a Q&A we sent to all the candidates and due on December 11 (only Williams and Rodriguez responded).

Councilmember District Candidate introductions
Ydanis Rodriguez Manhattan (Washington Heights, Inwood, Marble Hill) – 10 12/11/2017 e-mail to City Limits: “One of my top priorities is to reduce the number of homeless people in our City. I want to spread information informing tenants about their rights. Gentrification has been happening last 20 years; housing prices are increasing as I write these lines creating the biggest housing crisis in the entire nation. One of my top priorities is to confront landlords that take advantages of tenants by using different tactics to intimidate and make them leave their apartments, to reduce this from happening I want increase tenant protection from property owner harassment and unlawful rents.” Also mentioned on NY1 that he has been fighting for affordable housing.
Robert Cornegy Brooklyn (Bedford Stuyvesant, Northern Crown Heights) – 36 Didn’t reply to Q&A, didn’t discuss housing in NY1 intro.
Donovan Richards Queens (Arverne, Brookville, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens) – 31 On NY1, said that as zoning chair he helped shepherd in “landmark legislation” including MIH and ZQA, worked with colleagues to shape other plans and had brought through a record amount of affordable housing projects.
Corey Johnson Manhattan (Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, Greenwich Village, West SoHo, Hudson Square, Times Square, Garment District, Flatiron, Upper West Side) – 3 On NY1, noted that one of the Council’s powers is making land use policy that work for neighborhoods.
Ritchie Torres Bronx (Bedford Park, Fordham, Mount Hope, Bathgate, Belmont, East Tremont, West Farms, Van Nest, Allerton, Olinville)- 15 On NY1, said he grew up in public housing, in poor conditions, and wants to defend such public institutions.
Jumaane Williams Brooklyn (Flatbush, East Flatbush, Flatlands, Midwood, Canarsie) – 45 12/11/2017 e-mail to City Limits: ” First of all, we need to be using all the tools in the toolbox to combat this affordable housing and homelessness crisis. Too often, we look at them as separate problems when in reality, they’re part of the same problem. We need to establish a mandatory minimum amount of deeply affordable housing in each proposal.” On NY1, said he voted against MIH “which didn’t go far enough” but was still able to work with the mayor.
Mark Levine Manhattan (Manhattan Valley, Manhattanville, Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights) -7 On NY1, mentioned public housing’s physical and financial distress and that he helped to pass Right to Counsel legislation (he was leading sponsor, with co-sponsor Vanessa Gibson also playing a key role).
James Van Bramer Queens ( Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City, Astoria, Dutch Kills)- 26 On NY1, said he experienced homelessness as a kid; and we need a Speaker who can fight for families like the one he grew up in.

The mayor’s housing plan

In this chart, we first examine the candidates’ stances on the de Blasio administration’s mandatory inclusionary zoning policy, or MIH—the most significant citywide housing policy decision on which the Council has had a voice. We rely on two sources: answers to the Q&A e-mailed by City Limits, and the candidates’ remarks on March 22, 2016, when the Council voted on the proposed policy.

MIH requires that developers granted an upzoning make a percentage of the housing “affordable,” with the Council allowed to choose the affordability scheme for each rezoned area from among four possible rent-level options. Thanks to “member deference,” local councilmembers have the ability to choose the rent level option for projects in their district. While the Council made changes to the policy, including adding a new option at lower rent levels, critics say even the council’s revised version did not go far enough to address the housing crisis for the poorest New Yorkers. 42 councilmembers voted for the proposal, including all but one of the candidates: Williams was one of five councilmembers who voted against the proposal.

The chart also looks at the candidates’ stances on just how much affordable housing should be targeted to the lowest income New Yorkers—those making below 50 percent Area Median Income, which is roughly $40,000 for a family of three. Our sources are the City Limits Q&A and the November 30 debate on housing issues held by Metro-IAF, a coalition of faith-based organizations representing many New Yorkers of color. Williams, Johnson, Levine and Cornegy attended the debate; the other four were invited but did not attend.

Finally, we’ve included the answers to our Q&A question on the use of public land for housing development. (Only Williams responded.)

Councilmember Position on MIH What percent of city-subsidized affordable housing should be set aside for families making less than $40,000? (Or 50% Area Median Income) Would you lead a citywide discussion about what kind of development should take place on all public land, and if so, what do you think should be considered in that discussion? 
Ydanis Rodriguez On 3/22/2016, said he recognizes a lot of working class New Yorkers are at risk of being displaced and are asking “will this plan work?” He is confident it will: “We are making a historic vote to provide opportunities to create affordable housing for the working class and middle class.” On 12/11/2017, wrote to City Limits: “The mandatory inclusionary housing policy is an initial tool to build affordable housing, but when we have the opportunity to work in any rezoning we have to make sure that we add public funding, so that we can increase the percentage of affordable housing. At this moment we have to give time to the mandatory inclusionary housing policy see how it works, later on in the future the Council body should make an evaluation to see if it needs any modifications.” 12/11/2017 :”Even though we established a 25 percent of units built or preserved to families making below 50 percent AMI, it’s difficult to find an average percentage. In NYC each council [sic] has to deal with its own reality when it comes to increase the percentage of affordable housing by income. If I become the Speaker I will support all council members to negotiate the highest percentage using the average income of the District they represent.”
Robert Cornegy 3/22/2016: Aye (no other comment) 11/30/2017: At least 30 percent of the housing stock should be “affordable”. But we can only know what we need after conducting a full, thorough assessment of all the types of affordable housing units in the city and an assessment of what regulatory agreements are sunsetting.
Donovan Richards 3/22/2016: The proposal had a lot of “issues” at first, but “we worked hard to find a middle ground that would provide both a solution to the city’s affordable housing crisis while also serving as an incentive to reinvigorate new life into neighborhoods that have been left neglected for years like East New York & Far Rockaway.” MIH is important because the city need more units of housing, more units people can afford; and it means city is now requiring developers to pay for affordable housing. Council has also secured a number of other commitments from the administration.
Corey Johnson 3/22/2016: “While neither of these bills is extremely perfect, they represent a tremendous opportunity to create affordable homes for thousands of New Yorkers…”. On MIH, Council “negotiated important changes” like deeper affordability, eliminating the removal of sliver lot protections (that prevent narrow tall buildings on narrow streets), preventing across-the-board height increases for market-rate developments in Manhattan, securing commitments from the administration related to anti-harrassment work, and more. 11/30/2017: Agrees with Williams that there should be a matching of units to need. “If people in poverty, homeless individuals is at certain percentage, we need to be shooting to that percentage.” Not sure the number yet, likely in the 30-40% range, but “I need to do my homework on this one”
Ritchie Torres 3/22/2016: A lot of people have “palpable anxiety that this plan does not go far enough” but he disagrees because MIH is “meant to be a foundation” and the city can work for deeper affordability. “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good…don’t let the perfect stand in the way of making history.” Added: “I do have Fair Housing Concerns.” But feels the pluses outweigh the negatives.
Jumaane Williams 3/22/2016: Voting no. “I think it is a very good plan for those of us that welcome low-income units into our communities, but there is no mandate for those who have historically rejected low-income units in their district…I believe a mandatory minimum in all of the options…would have been good.” On 12/11/2017, wrote to City Limits: “I ultimately voted against MIH because I felt it didn’t go far enough– now, with the Mayor’s new initiatives for affordable housing, and now that we’ve put out new term sheets, we are making progress, but we’ve lost time. We need to review and revise MIH to mandate a certain amount of deeply affordable housing in all rezonings.” 11/30/2017: Housing plan should match what city looks like: about 45 percent of city are in the lowest income brackets. But we also have to count the people doubled or tripled up, so at least 45 percent. 12/11/2017: “Just over 40 (41.4 percent) of housing should be targeted at families below 50 percent AMI.” [According to the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, 41.4 percent of households make less than 50 percent AMI.] 12/11/2017: “I would be honored to lead this discussion as Speaker, the point of the discussion being to hear from all people.  The goal would of course be to get the biggest possible return for the public on that land. I also feel it would be valuable to strongly consider nonprofit developers.”
Mark Levine 3/22/2016: Aye (no other comment) 11/30/2017: “Dramatically increase” the number. “I don’t know yet a number.”
James Van Bramer 3/22/2016: Praises Council Land Use staff for compiling all the concerns of his community boards, and writing a response to every single concern. “I’m enormously proud of this body for having taken the time to register every single complaint, every single concern, and then to have gone back and responded in print to every single concern…which I then have already gone back and spoken to the community boards with. That’s an enormous amount of responsiveness that I don’t think you would normally see in something this important.” Voting in favor because of great need for affordable housing for seniors in his district.

Public housing and homelessness

This chart looks at the answers candidates offered to questions about NYCHA and homelessness at the Metro-IAF November 30 debate.

To several questions, their answers were similar. Asked how many extra billions they would put in NYCHA’s budget to deal with repairs, Williams and Johnson both said they would dedicate more funds to NYCHA, but couldn’t give a specific figure (Levine wasn’t directly prompted to answer the question and Cornegy was not present at the time).

Williams, Johnson and Levine also expressed support for the creation of a new construction authority, as suggested by Metro-IAF, that is focused on NYCHA repairs. (Cornegy wasn’t present.) And when asked by organizers whether they approved of the mayor’s plan to roll back homelessness by 1 percent annually or 2,500 people over four years, and what their goal would be, everyone followed Levine’s suggestion of a 50 percent rollback—though the timeframe was not clear.

Metro-IAF also sought a commitment from the candidates to their goal of building 15,000 units of affordable senior housing on NYCHA or other city-owned vacant lots. All four candidates agreed to that goal, though later on Levine did note that he wanted to work hand in hand with NYCHA residents and not have anything built without residents’ consensus.

Their answers differed more significantly when they discussed the lead paint scandal—the fact that NYCHA had falsely certified to the federal government that it had been in compliance with lead paint inspection requirements—with Williams and Cornegy appearing to be more willing to challenge the tenure of NYCHA’s chair Shola Olatoye. They also had differing answers to the question of how many units in the mayor’s housing plan should be set aside for families making below $40,000, with Williams offering the biggest number. He also called for the consolidation of the housing and homelessness plans, with the elimination of one commissioner or deputy mayor.

Johnson, at a few points, tried to offer a realist’s perspective: He was the one who reminded the room that it’s up to the state to create a construction authority, and so the next Speaker would need to lobby Albany. As for the 15,000 units, Johnson said it was not something he could do on his own: “I want to be honest, I don’t just want to pander…whoever the speaker is cannot wave a magic wand and force the mayor to do anything. So what this is going to take is inside agitators and the speaker should be working with outside agitators,” he said.

Councilmember Should NYCHA chairwoman Shola Olatyoe resign over the lead paint scandal? Do you support the mayor’s goal to reduce homelessness by 1% (annually) or 2500 people (in four years)? What would be your goal?
Robert Cornegy If she literally lied to federal government, “she can no longer serve with any confidence in that role” Reallocate shelter money to permanent housing. Agrees with Levine’s goals.
Corey Johnson Noted a “crisis in leadership” and the devaluation of NYCHA residents’ lives but did not call for Shola Olatoye’s resignations specifically. We need to improve shelter conditions. Agrees with Levine’s goals.
Jumaane Williams It depends on the answers to two questions: Did Olatoye know about this? And did she only bring this up after the media found out? If so she has to go. There should be a consolidation of the housing and homelessness plans and the elimination of one deputy mayor and/or one commissioner position. Agrees with Levine’s goals.
Mark Levine Spoke to need for accountability for NYCHA residents but did not call for Olatoye’s resignation. Shelter census must be rolled back at least 50 percent, to Bloomberg-era levels at the least.

Rezoning and member deference

Using answers to the City Limits Q&A, we looked at the candidates’ stances on neighborhood rezonings.

We also looked at the candidate’s responses at the NY1 debate to the question of whether they would continue the practice of “member deference,” in which all other councilmembers defer to the local councilmember’s decision on land-use projects in their district. Advocates say the informal policy recognizes the councilmember’s local knowledge and provides a councilmember with backing during negotiations with developers, while critics say it allows “NIMBY-ism” (Not In My Back Yard!) to triumph over citywide goals.

Most of the councilmembers said they would continue the practice of local deference, but Richards and Williams both stressed the importance of the speaker using their leadership to help the body make difficult decisions about citywide goals. Williams, in particular, has a history of being a dissenting, activist voice when he feels a project doesn’t live up to citywide goals, and recently released a vision for the next four years that includes giving the Council more land use powers.

Councilmember A number of city-sponsored neighborhood rezonings may be coming down the pipeline in the next couple years, including Jerome Avenue, Bay Street, Gowanus, Inwood, Long Island City, and Southern Boulevard. What is your biggest concern and/or biggest hope about the mayor’s rezoning plans? Will you preserve the policy of member deference?
Ydanis Rodriguez 12/11/2017: “My biggest hope is to see the entire community fully engaged in this process. I hope that future rezoning projects will create economic development and support local businesses. I’m confident that the rezoning of these areas will generate thousands of jobs for local residents and affordable housing units for the low income ones. I also hope to see an increase in the implementation of youth programming, arts and cultural organizations.” Defended member deference and said he’d provide support Councilmembers to make the best decisions. Says Department of City Planning should be alerting councilmembers of projects coming through the pipeline.
Robert Cornegy Defended member deference.
Donovan Richards Believes in member deference, but there are times when the Speaker has to show leadership, especially over the next four years when there will be controversial decisions to make over things like homeless shelter sitings, housing density and Rikers.
Corey Johnson Supports deference, but says Council needs a larger land-use planning staff so it can be more proactive at beginning of process.
Ritchie Torres Defended member deference.
Jumaane Williams  12/11/2017: “My biggest concern is making sure that we have a mandatory amount of deeply affordable housing, which could also have the benefit of helping to break down segregated areas and segregated schools.” Notes he has been less deferent than others, sometimes voting or abstaining on projects. Believes in member deference but says sometimes deference runs afoul of other goals, such as fair share in the distribution of jails and shelters and creating more deeply affordable housing. Leadership is required to push difficult conversations. Says he’s very concerned about segregation through the creation of affordable housing; thus why he voted against MIH and was in favor of less member-deference in that policy. Mentions he’s released a vision paper, which includes allowing the Council more authority to initiate land use projects so land use planning is not just in the hands of the mayor.
Mark Levine “There are extreme cases where we might not defer to the local member. That hasn’t happened in the last four years”
James Van Bramer Defended member deference.

Legislative accomplishments

This chart quantifies the number of bills and resolutions introduced to the Housing and Buildings Committee or the Public Housing Committee within the Council by each candidate during the last four years, and provides a few examples of such bills. You can see full lists of those bills, by candidate, here. Oftentimes it’s the councilmembers who belong to a committee who submit the most bills to that committee, though Cornegy and Richards were exceptions, with Cornegy submitting few bills to the Housing and Buildings Committee on which he sits, and Richards submitting none to the Public Housing Committee, of which he’s also a member. Richards, it should be noted, has had a major role in shaping land-use deals over the past few years as the chair of the council’s Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises—and those efforts don’t show up in the legislative count. The chart does not include Levine’s landmark legislation establishing a right to counsel.

Councilmember Housing related committees they’re on # of bills and resolutions primary sponsored in Housing and Buildings or Public Housing Committees last term # of bills primary sponsored enacted in that committee Examples of key bills
Ydanis Rodriguez Housing and Buildings, Task Force on Affordable Housing Preservation 13 4 Sponsored a bill, already passed by the council, that increases transparency regarding city’s assistance to developers and another bill that requires annual reports on the state of gas infrastructure. The council has not yet passed his bill requiring an annual census of the city’s vacant properties, or his resolution calling on NYCHA to prioritize applicants with severe health conditions.
Robert Cornegy Housing and Buildings 3 0 Has sponsored a bill, not yet passed, that would require landlords making buyouts to disclose the number of months of rent the buyout offer would likely cover. 
Donovan Richards Public Housing 9 3 Sponsored a bill, already enacted, that requires the city to produce a report on the affordable housing fund. Anotjher bill, not yet passed, would allow the city to form regulatory agreements with community land trusts, while another still under consideration would require the roofs of certain buidlings to be partially covered in plants or solar panels.
Corey Johnson   8 3 Sponsored a bill, already passed, which limits when hotels can be converted to condos. Another bill, not yet passed, would protect tenants with pets from eviction under certain circumstances.
Ritchie Torres Housing and Buildings, Public Housing – Chair 26 8 Legislation he sponsored and shepherded successfully through Council include bills requiring a watchlist of buildings subject to speculation, requiring reporting on NYCHA social service programs, and a resolution urging HUD to exclude New York City from the new “Small Area Fair Market Rents” rule that would have changed how section 8 subsidies were calculated. A bill that has not yet passed would create a rebuttable presumption” regarding harrassment, meaning that for certain kinds of predatory equity buildings the onus is put on landlords to defend themselves from harassment charges. And many more.
Jumaane Williams Housing and Buildings – Chair, Task Force on Affordable Housing Preservation – Co-chair 53 31 Sponsored and passed legislation requiring construction safety training, a bill increasing the penalties for harassment, and a bill requiring the city to conduct audits of buildings receiving the 421-a tax credit to determine whether they are in compliance with rent regulations. Another bill, still pending, would require the installation of “anemometers” to improve safety of crane use; yet another would require city to establish a program to provide legal services to evicted or foreclosed disabled New Yorkers. And many more…
Mark Levine Task Force on Affordable Housing Preservation – Co-chair 10 3 Sponsored legislation, already enacted, that strengthens the requirements in tenant protection plans for buildings undergoing construction (part of the Stand for Tenant Safety package).Another bill, not yet enacted, would require the city to create rules regarding succession rights for tenants living in Tenant Interim Lease buildings, while yet another still under consideration would require the city to report on regulatory agreements with Housing Development Fund companies.
James Van Bramer Public Housing 6 0 Sponsored a resolution, not yet passed, that calls on state to require licensing for those involved in the building and repairing of elevators and other people-moving devices. Also sponsored a bill that would make it easier for family members of deceased NYCHA tenants to obtain succession rights.

Donations from real estate

We looked at each of the councilmembers’ donations from the last election season and used search+find to uncover every donation labelled “real estate,” “realtor,” “realty,” “architect,” “architecture,” “construction,” “properties,” “developer,” “development,” or “property management” under name, occupation or firm. We double checked that those that fell under developer or development weren’t referring to non-real estate entities, and excluded construction unions and nonprofit affordable housing developers when we could, because while such entities are engaged in real estate development, they are not profit-driven and in some (though not all) cases have in fact been major critics of redevelopment projects like neighborhood rezonings. We also corrected completely obvious mistakes when we spotted them, such as the inclusion of donations from employees of the School Construction Authority. Finally, we added in any donations from those who listed their employer as one of the top twenty developers, as ranked by NY Curbed in 2014, or who is the head of that company or their spouse.

Granted, it’s an imperfect method—one that will sweep up architects who are really just academics, construction-firm workers who are also anti-displacement activists, and real-estate agents not seeking to influence politics. It also doesn’t distinguish between a candidate who receives hefty donations from big developers and candidates who receive many smaller donations from local construction contractors, small-time realtors, and the like.

Ranked by raw dollars, Johnson received the most donations from real estate. It’s possible this could be because he is considered the front runner in the race for speaker by some and represents one of the hottest real-estate markets in the city. It’s also true that he received a boost from real estate donors, though much less support than in this past election, when he first ran in 2013, and that he worked in real estate: for the Wall Street firm GFI Development Corporation from 2008 to 2010 and a stint for a hotel developer. Van Bramer, who represents the hot real-estate market of Long Island City, comes second.

Ranked by percent of donations out of total donations received, it’s actually Richards who leads over Johnson—not surprising, given the power he holds as chair of the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises.*

Councilmember Total donations Real Estate donations Percentage of total donations
Ydanis Rodriguez $255,422.51 $9,880.00 4 percent
Robert Cornegy $184,730.00 $11,380.00 6 percent
Donovan Richards $171,598.49 $30,120.00 18 percent
Corey Johnson $505,818.00 $62,750.00 12 percent
Ritchie Torres $264,819.00 $29,100.00 11 percent
Jumaane Williams $226,783.83 $11,220.00 5 percent
Mark Levine $439,110.35 $40,470.00 9 percent
James Van Bramer $522,898.00 $53,634.00 10 percent

Projects of significance

Using LUCATs, the city’s database of land use applications, and referencing media coverage land use and zoning issues, we highlighted a significant land use project in each district. It’s not the best method for making direct comparisons because the varying density and demographics of each district mean each councilmember faces his own unique set of pressures. But it does give a sense of the land-use issues that have preoccupied these councilmembers recently.

Councilmember Projected in their districts & their voting record
Ydanis Rodriguez In 2016, voted against an upzoning for the Sherman Plaza project, which would have granted the developer additional floors in exchange for making 20 percent of the apartments affordable to people making 40 percent Area Median Income, 10 percent for families making 60 percent AMI and 20 percent for families making 110-135 percent AMI, according to the Municipal Arts Society. After community opposition to the project, which locals said would be too high at 17-stories or was not deeply enough affordable, he rejected the project. At recent NY1 debate, justified his decision by arguing that this was a “spot rezoning” but that he is now working with the community and the de Blasio administration to craft a comprehensive neighborhood rezoning of Inwood. That larger plan, however, also faces opposition from some residents.
Robert Cornegy This summer approved 1618 Fulton Street, which will merge three city-owned lots with two private-owned lots for the construction of an 11-story building. 103 residential units for incomes ranging from 60 percent to 130 percent AMI, according to DNAinfo. Cornegy negotiated for the inclusion of four below-market leases for small businesses. It will be developed by BFC Partners and SMJ Development, a Minority Owned business partner.
Donovan Richards Spearheaded and negotiated with the administration on the rezoning of Downtown Far Rockaway, the second neighborhood rezoning under the de Blasio administration (and one of the less controversial ones). Rezoning is expected to bring over 3,000 units to the area. City aims to develop an abandoned stretch of blocks with 100 percent income-targeted (though that’s not a definite guarantee).
Corey Johnson Negotiated for and lead the council to approve the St. John’s Terminal development. The developers, Westbrook Partners and Atlas Capital Group, agreed to pay the city $100 million for Pier 40 air rights, with the money to be used for repairs to the pier. The redevelopment will be a commercial and residential complex with 1,500 apartments, including 500 at below-market rates. According to DNAinfo, the developers were exempt from following the city’s mandatory inclusionary housing law but agreed to provide 10 percent of total units to families making 60 percent AMI, 5 percent to families making 80 percent AMI, 5 percent to people making 110 percent AMI, and 10 percent to people making 130 percent AMI.  Johnson also secured a number of community benefits including the designation of a historic preservation district nearby as part of the deal with the administration.
Ritchie Torres Worked out deal with Phipps and de Blasio administration for the $600 million revamp of Lambert Houses, a section 8 building. According to Phipps, each part of Lambert will be demolished and rebuilt, the existing residents will be relocated within the buildings so no one is displaced, and there will be more than 900 new units built.* In all, there will be 1,665 units, of which over 700 are expected to be covered by federal section 8 vouchers and serve a range of incomes, with set asides specifically for homeless families and families making 40 percent and 50 percent AMI. Another quarter will serve families making between 80 percent and 100 percent AMI, and more than a quarter will serve families around 60 percent AMI, though those targets could change based on changes to city programs. The de Blasio administration also committed to other investments, including two new schools, according to Bronx Times.
Jumaane Williams According to LUCATs there were no significant land-use projects requiring Council approval in Williams’ district over these past four years.
Mark Levine In May, he led the Council to approve the Morningside Heights Historic District, a 115-building area believed to have architectural and historical significance. At the Landmarks Preservation Commissions’ hearing on the proposal, most people supported it with the exception of two religious institutions and Columbia University, which did not want to foreclose opportunities for renovations or redevelopment, according to DNAinfo.
James Van Bramer Refused to lend support to a Phipps affordable housing project; said at NY1 debate that it was because the non-profit developer wouldn’t work with the labor union 32BJ. At the time he also said residents were opposed to the height of the building (10 stories at highest point) and the rent levels of the units (targetting families making between 50 to 130 percent AMI), according to NY Curbed. Van Bramer will have several key land-use decisions ahead of him in the next few years, including a potential rezoning of Long Island City and the redevelopment of a publicly owned plot of land north of Hunters Point South.

*Corrections: Previously misstated that Donovan Richards chairs the Land Use Committee. He chairs the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises. In the section about land use projects, accidentally stated that the existing residents of Lambert Houses would not be relocated within the buildings during the renovation. In fact, the buildings will be sequentially demolished and rebuilt, but tenants will be relocated in the buildings and will not be displaced.

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