More than 100,000 New York City seniors desperately waiting for access to affordable housing will have to wait longer still — hey, what’s another five or 10 years for a septuagenarian? — because a judge has drawn out the terribly expensive, decade-long attempt by a nonprofit developer to build 123 units of deeply affordable housing for seniors where a community garden now sits on the Lower East Side.
Elizabeth Street Garden is a pleasant place, but it can’t possibly compare to the value of many new inexpensive places to live for older New Yorkers, many of them formerly homeless. Especially since the plans for LGBTQ-friendly Haven Green, set to replace it, include brand new truly public open space and a new community garden. The new project’s 123 new homes would in one fell swoop equal the number of affordable housing units produced in this stingy community district over the last eight years.
The ruling comes a week after a progressive councilwoman — Shahana Hanif, who represents the Park Slope district that previously elected Brad Lander and Bill de Blasio — forced the downsizing of a housing project in Gowanus. What was going to be 85 units of housing, 22 permanently affordable, will now be as few as 25 total units. And the new buildings will be so small, zoning rules may well wind up requiring no affordable units in them whatsoever.
And it comes two weeks before Innovation QNS is set to get voted on by a City Council committee. Local Astoria Councilwoman Julie Won nonsensically claims that replacing parking lots and assorted underutilized buildings with 2,800 new housing units — 40% permanently affordable, and half of those for people at very low-income levels — amounts to a “luxury development” with the “potential to displace hundreds of local working-class immigrant families.”
So anemic is New York City’s affordable output, fewer and fewer low-income families can make it here. Mayor Adams’ Building and Land Use Approval Streamlining Task Force is doing God’s work. Bulldoze the bureaucratic obstacles and build, build, build.
Daily News Editorial Board