Civil rights groups support de Blasio's zoning proposals

Civil rights groups support de Blasio's zoning proposals

Civil rights groups support de Blasio's zoning proposals
March 8, 2016

As New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s team works to line up votes from City Council members on his rezoning plan, City Hall rolled out support from civil rights groups.

The Metropolitan Council of the New York State Conference of the NAACP, the New York Urban League and the Rev. Al Sharpton, head of the National Action Network, backed two zoning proposals that are key to de Blasio’s affordable housing agenda.

“The NAACP fights for social and economic justice,” NAACP New York State Conference President Hazel Dukes said in a statement. “For more than a century, that struggle has been bound up in the issue of housing. We fought segregation by our governments. We fought red-lining by the banks. And today, we’re fighting displacement from a housing market that’s changing the face of our communities. From Harlem to Bed-Stuy to Jamaica, New Yorkers of color, desperately need housing they can afford … That is why the NAACP supports Mayor de Blasio’s plan to make affordable housing mandatory in new development, and to make sure we’re unlocking every opportunity to get more shovels in the ground on affordable housing for seniors and working families. This is a plan that will keep neighborhoods diverse and affordable.”

The Council is expected to vote on two zoning proposals this month: Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, which would allow larger residential developments in future rezonings but require that a portion of the new units be permanently designated affordable housing, and Zoning for Quality and Affordability, which aims to support senior care facilities and mixed-income developments by allowing taller homes in some areas and reducing the number of parking spaces required with certain projects.

The City Council has been hearing from residents who fear the targeted income levels are too high and could spur gentrification, while construction union members want various local hiring and safety provisions tied to the plan.

The administration has touted the United for Affordable NYC coalition backing its plan, which includes a number of business groups, community organizations, clergy members and unions.

Sarina Trangle