Wednesday, November 15, 2006

FOIL follies IV: how much would the affordable housing cost?

This is the fourth of four articles about Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests. The first concerned the Department of City Planning and the second concerned Assemblyman Jim Brennan's request to the Empire State Development Corporation, both regarding Atlantic Yards. The third concerned the mysterious tower planned at City Tech.

How much would the affordable housing at Atlantic Yards require in subsidies? How would the cost per unit compare with the cost at other projects, such as Queens West? Where are the subsidies coming from? Does this diminish the availability of subsidies to other projects?

These are all questions that should be part of the public discussion.

On July 26, I filed a FOIL request with the New York City Department of Housing, Preservation & Development, seeking documents regarding the Atlantic Yards project, particularly those regarding the funding and provision of affordable housing.

The agency responded within three weeks, saying that I should receive a determination regarding my request within 30 business days. I didn't hear from them--perhaps it was because, as city officials told the City Planning Commission in September, it was still being developed.

Last week I spoke to HPD Records Access Officer Donald Appel. His letter following up our conversation indicated that HPD "expects to issue a final response" to my request on or before November 22.

A response does not actually mean they'll deliver any documents, so we'll see.

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