A closer look at the Universal Affordability Preference aspect of NYC Mayor Adams' City of Yes plan

Mayor Eric Adams talked up his City of Yes plan in his recent State of the City address.  It’s a broad package meant to support small businesses, promote sustainability and create affordable housing. One part of that is the Universal Affordability Preference.

Ashley Mastronardi

Feb 1, 2024, 11:32 PM

Updated 135 days ago

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Mayor Eric Adams talked up his City of Yes plan in his recent State of the City address.  It’s a broad package meant to support small businesses, promote sustainability and create affordable housing. One part of that is the Universal Affordability Preference.
“It would tell developers if you’re going to build in a dense residential area, we’re going to let you build some more, 20% as long as every square inch of that additional density is used for affordable housing and only affordable housing,” Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine recently said.
Levine and other politicians gathered today to illuminate this part of the plan.
“Between 2010-2020, we had a net population gain of over 630,000. That’s the population of Detroit come into New York over 10 years. We only added just over 200,000 units of housing,” Council Member Erik Bottcher told the crowd.
Levine added that average rents in New York are currently over $5,000 a month.
“It would put a little bit of additional affordable housing in every neighborhood, but what it would add up to tens of thousands of units of affordable housing that we would not otherwise have,” he said.
Officials say people who grew up in New York City have been leaving in droves. Assembly Member Alex Bores says the high rents prevent people from moving here altogether.
“Instead they see their kids, they see their friends move to New Jersey, develop awful taste in bagels and awful taste in hockey teams. We don’t want that, we want more New Yorkers,” he joked.
The City of Yes plan is currently undergoing environmental review. That process takes about six months. In about a year, it will reach the City Council. Because it’s a zoning change, Levine expects heavy debate. 


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