The revived 421-a program dropped a longstanding provision giving local residents first crack at affordable apartments in their neighborhoods, Crain's has learned. Should the de Blasio administration allow the change to stand, it would be a surprising break from past city housing policy, which has long championed the so-called community-preference rule for subsidized units.Atlantic Yards impact
In the case of 421-1, a community preference meant that half of the affordable apartments in a project were marketed first to local residents who can apply to the lottery before the rest of the city. Smaller set-asides exist for veterans, New Yorkers with disabilities and government employees. Last fall the city added a new wrinkle that required developers to market half of the community-preference units to families living in nearby homeless shelters. [That's certain low-income units.] But the new 421-a program, which was renamed Affordable New York when it was approved this spring, will not trigger any of those requirements.
That could have a significant impact on Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, since the project was long said to offer community preference--to residents of Community Districts 2, 6, and 8, and then later CD 3 as well--for half the below-market units.
In fact, it was important enough for some housing advocates to ask unsuccessfully if the preference could be retroactive, thus helping people recently displaced.
And the developer is now analyzing the various subsidy programs available.
However, Crain's noted that city subsidy programs do contain community preference. As Gothamist reported:
Mayoral spokesperson Melissa Grace didn't comment directly on the missing community preference language but did tell Gothamist that the mayor's office "will continue to use the community preference as a critical anti-displacement measure in the affordable housing development that the City is financing at record pace."
The strategy behind the change; arguments pro and con